Leone Centre Glossary

Self-Advocacy in Neurodiversity-affirmative Therapy


Self-advocacy is a key concept within neurodiversity-affirmative therapy. It enables individuals to understand their own needs, communicate them confidently, and actively participate in their therapeutic journey. By fostering self-advocacy, therapy helps clients embrace their neurodivergent identities and advocate for accommodations and support that enhance their quality of life.

Common challenges

  1. Lack of awareness about self-advocacy
  2. Difficulty in expressing needs and preferences
  3. Limited understanding of neurodiversity-affirmative approaches

Understanding self-advocacy

Self-advocacy, especially in neurodiversity-affirmative therapy, involves individuals understanding, articulating, and asserting their needs, rights, and preferences. It focuses on recognising the unique strengths and challenges of neurodivergent individuals, ensuring their voices are heard and respected within therapeutic contexts.

Key features and benefits in therapy

  1. Empowerment: Encourages individuals to take charge of their therapy.
  2. Personalisation: Therapy becomes more specialised to individual needs.
  3. Confidence building: Enhances self-esteem through active participation.

How it helps

Self-advocacy empowers individuals to be active participants in their therapy, encouraging a sense of control and agency. It leads to more impactful and personalised therapeutic outcomes, enhancing overall well-being.

How it works

Therapists work with clients to develop self-advocacy skills by:

  1. Encouraging open dialogue about needs and preferences.
  2. Teaching communication practices adapted to the individual’s neurodivergent profile.
  3. Creating a supportive environment that validates and respects the client’s experiences.

Convenience and flexibility

  1. Accessibility: Encourages open communication channels between therapist and client.
  2. Adaptability: Therapy sessions can be adjusted based on the client’s self-advocacy.


What is neurodiversity-affirmative therapy?
Neurodiversity-affirmative therapy recognises and values the diversity of human brains and minds, focusing on individual strengths and unique ways of thinking and processing information.
Why is self-advocacy important in therapy?
Self-advocacy allows individuals to express their needs and preferences, ensuring that therapy is adapted to their unique experiences and leading to more impactful outcomes.
How can I develop self-advocacy skills?
Developing self-advocacy skills involves understanding your own needs, learning to communicate them confidently, and working with an experienced therapist who supports and encourages your active participation in therapy.


  1. National Autistic Society – Self-Advocacy
  2. Neurodiversity Network
  3. Mental Health Foundation
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision