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Digital Seminar

Neurodiversity for Understanding Autism: A Paradigm for Social Change & Supporting Clients

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Judy Singer, DPhil |  Varleisha Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS
54 Minutes
Feb 23, 2022
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Digital Seminar


Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist who coined the term “neurodiversity”, shares her personal connection to autism as well as her work, which was based on her lived experience in the middle of three generations of women “somewhere on the autistic spectrum”,  in this interview-style session. She’ll explain:

  • The concept of neurodiversity, the development of a neurodiversity movement, and its achievements in the social justice arena
  • How she fits into the neurodiverse tapestry
  • Ways you can look through the neurodiversity lens in support of your clients on the spectrum

Judy is joined by Dr. Gibbs, a steadfast occupational therapist, author and presenter.


No CE Available

Continuing education credit is not available on this product.


Judy Singer, DPhil's Profile

Judy Singer, DPhil Related seminars and products

Judy Singer, DPhil, is an Australian sociologist who coined the term “Neurodiversity” in a 1998 Honours Thesis at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Her work was based on her lived experience in the middle of three generations of women “somewhere on the autistic spectrum” and built on the achievements of the Disability Rights Movement and its academic arm, Disability Studies.

Judy intended the term Neurodiversity as a potential name for an umbrella movement of people with a variety of neurological conditions, e.g., Autism, ADHD, the “Dys”-abilities and others. The Neurodiversity Movement has made great gains in arguing for a strength-based re-evaluation of formerly negative medical diagnoses, and in working towards greater community awareness and inclusion for all.

Judy has been active in community organizing since the 1990s, both in the local Sydney region and internationally via social media, with a focus on public housing advocacy and disability rights. Judy was the secretary of Sydney’s major parent’s group, the Inner West Autism and Asperger’s Support Group.. When her daughter outgrew this group, Judy moved on to co-found ASteen, Sydney’s only independent social club for teenagers on the spectrum.

Varleisha Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS's Profile

Varleisha Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS Related seminars and products

Varleisha D. Gibbs, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, ASDCS, is an occupational therapist and author with over 18 years of experience working with children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing disorders, and Neurological disorders. She is the vice president of practice engagement and capacity building at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Dr. Gibbs is the former scientific programs officer at the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. She also served as the inaugural chair and director of the master's programs in occupational therapy at Wesley College in Dover, DE, where she was a tenured associate professor. Prior to joining Wesley, Dr. Gibbs worked at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA, where she served as the director of the doctoral programs in occupational therapy.

Dr. Gibbs is steadfast and an expert in the field of neurology, cognition, and pediatric therapeutic intervention. She lectures and provides training on sensory processing strategies and self-regulation to practitioners, parents, and teachers throughout the country and internationally. Dr. Gibbs is the developer of the self-regulation and mindfulness program and author of the best-selling Self-Regulation and Mindfulness: Exercise and Worksheets for Sensory Processing Disorder, 85 Activities to Move Clients Toward Healing, Growth and Improved Functioning (PESI Publishing & Media, May 2021). As co-author of Raising Kids with Sensory Processing Disorders, she has provided families with strategies to understand and care for their children. Dr. Gibbs is certified as an Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS).


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Varleisha Gibbs has employment relationships with American Occupational Therapy Association, Wesley College, and VDTG, Inc. She receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Varleisha Gibbs is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the National Black Occupational Therapy Caucus. She is a member of the Freelee Foundation Executive Board of Directors.

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Target Audience

  • Addiction Counselors
  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Psychologists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers/School-Based Personnel
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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