Hello! My name is Emily Lees (she/her)
I'm an autistic Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) based in Manchester, UK. I work in a specialist setting supporting autistic children and teenagers.
I advocate and campaign for Autism Acceptance through public speaking, training, and education in order to transform the way professionals assess and support autistic children and young people. My core values which I whole-heartedly aim to bring to my work are courage, compassion, and authenticity.
Autistic children do not have social impairments. I do not provide interventions based on behaviourism, flawed theories and outdated research which perpetuate the stigmatising narrative that autistic people are broken and need fixing. I do not support Social Skills Training which is designed to teach autistic children to mask, rehearse scripts and perform a set of socially expected behaviours which are entirely built upon neuronormative social norms.
As a pro-neurodiversity SLT I focus on helping the person advocate for themselves through their chosen method(s) of communication. I support them to communicate their choices, views, boundaries, emotions, and decisions. I give the person full autonomy to select their own goals e.g. if they want to learn how to make friends with people who share similar interests (who accept them for who they are), how to repair communication breakdowns. I help them to identify their unique communication strengths & needs using neurodiversity-affirming language. I use trauma-informed approaches which take into context the historic marginalisation and exclusion of autistic people. which considers the accumulation of sensory, interpersonal, and emotional trauma. I prioritise emotional safety and collaboration over anything else.
Back to due popular demand:
An Introduction to a Neurodiversity Paradigm
28th Feb: 2pm-5pm
2:00 - When did I find out I was autistic?
4:25 - Why did I become a SLT?
11:00 - Parent questions / SLT advice
31:45 - How I use the child's strengths to achieve their goals
38:15 - Why autistic children need neurodiversity-affirming professionals
40:50 - Dangers / harms of behaviourism
45:28 - How to identify a pro-neurodiversity professional
52:35 Parent questions / SLT advice
To empower autistic children / adults through:
Lived experience of being neurodivergent
Expertise of Speech, Language and Communication
Advocating for reasonable adjustments / accommodations
A pro-neurodiversity model / paradigm
Respecting autistic styles of communication
Accessible information that's easy to understand
Visually soothing resources (a sensory, stimmy website)
What is neurodiversity?
What is a neurodiversity-affirming approach?
The pathologising of neurodivergent people
Recognising sensory and social trauma
Speech and Language Therapy approaches:
Common approaches used with autistic children
How our beliefs influence our approach
3:30 - What is autism?
5:44 - Understanding the spectrum
8:24 - Medical Vs Neurodiversity model
15:38 - Sensory processing
20:57 - Masking
23:37 - Autistic communication
31:42 - Stimming
33:31 - Echolalia
34:54 - Sensory overload
36:23 - Autism myths