The purpose of this article is to address some common concerns associated with the neurodiversity paradigm and to offer related implications for service provision to school-age autistic students. In particular, we highlight the need to (a) view first-person autistic perspectives as an integral component of evidence-based practice, (b) use the individualized education plan as a means to actively address environmental contributions to communicative competence, and (c) center intervention around respect for autistic sociality and self-expression. We support these points with cross-disciplinary scholarship and writings from autistic individuals.


We recognize that school-based speech-language pathologists are bound by institutional constraints, such as eligibility determination and Individualized Education Program processes that are not inherently consistent with the neurodiversity paradigm. Consequently, we offer examples for implementing the neurodiversity paradigm while working within these existing structures. In sum, this article addresses key points of tension related to the neurodiversity paradigm in a way that we hope will directly translate into improved service provision for autistic students.

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