The SLP Neurodiversity Collective has rightly come under criticism recently and we’d like to acknowledge and own much of what has been said.
Despite a Facebook page having existed for around two years with the name, as an entity SLPNDC is a brand new organisation of only a few months, made up of volunteers, with a newly formed board and organisational structure. We are still working towards 501(c) status.
A position statement in the form of a blog on diversity was published by SLPNDC:
It was fundamentally wrong, dismissive and came strongly from a position of white privilege and had not been vetted by our Executive Board.
We wish to be clear that this was not reflective of the ethos of the organisation as an entity, nor of the views of any member of the Executive Board. It should not have existed, let alone been published. This will not happen again.
Unprofessional responses and actions on the SLPNDC Facebook page:
In recent weeks there have been unprofessional responses to criticism from Autistic people who were sincerely trying to help us improve our organisation, but were subsequently banned both unnecessarily and wrongly. We accept that removing people from the page without justification and the deletion of people’s emotional labour is poor practice and we are now writing a clearly defined Social Media policy for the Facebook page administrators. In future anyone removed from the page will be removed because they have violated a set of standards that will be published on the SLPNDC Facebook page.
Appropriation of work and labour:
Within the last three weeks, there have been pieces of work belonging to other people appearing on the SLPNDC page, uncredited and with the SLPNDC logo on them.
Call outs for this were justified, and the initial responses by some of our volunteers were not.
This appropriation of the work of others will cease. It was wrong.
As has been the actual practice for the past two years since the Facebook page’s inception, content created by others will be shared from the source if possible, or fully acknowledged/credited if not; and only new content will be created by SLPNDC.
There is a lack of racial diversity amongst our leadership, specifically our Executive Board and our Therapy Chairs:
We are fully conscious of this, and working hard to expand both our small executive board as well as our therapy chairs. We are currently actively looking for candidates for both. The executive board was intended to be a small group to oversee the process of becoming a 501(c) organization. We recognize that as the organization grows, it is urgent that we ensure that our leadership includes diverse representation across a number of different axis, including race and disability.
So far, we have had a very limited pool of people who have come forward offering to volunteer, who fit the criteria and the ethos of SLPNDC therapy chairs. We know that there are systemic issues underlying this, including the number of SLPs whose careers are threatened by opposing ABA and therefore cannot, or will not publicly take a stance by refusing any use of ABA in their practices. We are seeking to address this problem broadly, with specific attention to the need to include and represent therapists of color. While we continue to actively search for more therapy chairs, we’d also like to generate discussion around the structural causes underlying this issue, from institutionalized racism to specific barriers faced in attaining SLP certification, with a view to finding solutions and specifically providing a platform for People of Color in our organization.
SLPNDC wish to learn what accommodations and reasonable adjustments can be made to help as many people as possible to access the page and website. We invite people to tell us what they find helpful, so that we can incorporate them into our practice.
We also have been hoping to widen discussions on Social Media and the website beyond Autism, by being fully inclusive of other areas of Neurodivergence and providing a platform for discussion of those experiences, as it applies to areas of therapy.
We are actively seeking to expand the therapy chairs and executive board to be fully representative and skilled, to continue with complete opposition to ABA and the practice of identifying positive therapy practices and models that promote the celebration of Neurodivergence.
We aim to be more transparent in our process and decision making and call on the SLPNDC community to continue to constructively question us in order to continue to grow and strengthen in the right way.
Please have patience with us as we learn. We will continue to make mistakes and hope to continue learning from them, with your support.
Please have patience with our teams. Many of us are Neurodivergent and all are volunteers.
We endeavour to move forward constructively and thank the SLPNDC community for your continued support and friendship.