Neurodiversity: Developing a Mindset of Awareness

Exploring the intersection of neurodiversity and trauma.

Dr. Aieshea Banks

Friday, November 17th 2023
1:00-3:00pm Eastern Time USA
Virtual Live via Zoom


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What is it?

It is estimated that 15-20% of the world’s population is neurodivergent (*Doyle, 2020). Neurodivergence is used to describe people who have variability in their mental processing profiles contributing to distinct differences in their abilities to perform daily life activities. Although some people have challenges that are easily observed, many neurodivergent people have difficulty with the internal processing of information resulting in an “invisible disability” that is often interpreted as inappropriate or unacceptable behaviors that people are choosing to do.

Throughout history, the daily challenges that neurodivergent people experienced in educational, employment, community, and home settings were often met with a lack of sensitivity and humanity that marginalized their value in society. This lack of support resulted in an added layer of trauma as they struggled through the difficulty of completing life’s daily tasks while being rejected and viewed as inferior due to their difficulties. 

In the late 1990s, Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist coined the term “neurodiversity”. Neurodiversity acknowledges the natural variation in human neurological development, promotes acceptance and seeing strength in the differences that such diversity provides, and endorses the need to provide support to such differences with dignity and respect. Neurodiversity is a complete shift in how we perceive people and support their needs.  Neurodiversity facilitates spaces of acceptance and appreciation leading to a decrease in traumatic engagements and experiences.

Understanding and adopting a neurodiversity-affirming mindset and practice will help to create a bi-directional culture of empathy and respect that aligns with the compassionate principles of a trauma-informed practice.

Who Should Join

  • Individuals interested in understanding neurodiversity.
  • Healthcare professionals (All varieties – traditional to homeopathic professionals)
  • Educators (All levels)
  • Corporate administrators and staff
  • Small business owners and staff
  • Community Workers

Key Takeaways

  • You will learn at least four common neurodiverse conditions and how their challenges may impact daily life experiences.  
  • You will be able to explain three models of disability and their impact on neurodivergent individuals.
  • You will come to understand the principles of neurodiversity and its relevance to trauma-informed care.

*Doyle, N. (2020). Neurodiversity at work: A biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults. British Medical Bulletin, 135, 108-125.

Meet Your Host

Dr. Aieshea Banks is a licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologist (SLP). She began her career as a clinical SLP in 2003. Over the span of her career, she has worked with individuals with suspected or identified communication challenges from pediatric through adulthood in a variety of settings. Although her clinical experience includes a wide range of communication profiles, she has worked predominantly with individuals who neurodevelopmental conditions and developmental disabilities. 

Dr. Banks teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that include, but are not limited to, Neurodiversity, Autism, and Counseling in Communication Disorders, and she is a clinical instructor for the Loma Linda University’s Communication Clinic for Autistic Individuals. Additionally, she presents educational workshops to parents of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Dr. Banks’ research on the self-perceived social communication experiences of Autistic young adults was the motivation for her support of the principles of neurodiversity. It provided a greater understanding of the stress and trauma that Autistic people experience related to their social interactions. 

Dr. Banks firmly believes that diversity is valuable to the human experience, and everyone should feel empowered by their authenticity as well as supported in their differences and/or challenges. In 2022, Dr. Banks founded Inclusively Empowered Communication, LLC which provides educational training and consultation services to educational and employment/vocational settings on supporting neurodivergent individuals. Her primary goal is to educate community members of all backgrounds about the need to shift how we view neurodivergent individuals and provide meaningful support to enhance the dynamics of community interaction at all levels.

Dr. Banks has completed training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and has professional certification as a Trauma-Informed Care Practitioner and Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist. She seeks to increase knowledge and support to the intersection of stress, trauma, and communication challenges.

 Learn more about Dr. Banks: