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Neurodiversity-Affirming Research and Practice SIG Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Neurodiversity-Affirming Research and Practice SIG. This page will be updated as further questions arise.

How was the Neurodiversity-Affirming Research and Practice SIG formed?

In August 2023, members of ACBS became aware of independent, parallel efforts to form a SIG related to neurodiversity-affirming research and practice. Recognizing the need to (i) engage as many stakeholders as possible in the SIG formation process, (ii) consolidate ongoing formation efforts, and (iii) leverage existing SIG resources within ACBS to broaden pathways to participation, a sprint group was formed.

Open calls for participation in the sprint group were posted across ACBS listservs. In addition, sprint group coordinators (Jennifer Kemp and Dr. Alison Stapleton) emailed ACBS members in leadership positions of related SIGs and Committees and requested that they share the call for participation with their members. All members of ACBS were welcome to join the sprint group.

The final sprint group was comprised of 32 ACBS members from around the world who communicated in English and/or Spanish.

The sprint group consisted of four phases:

  Phase 1: Group Formation. Outcome: Group Agreements (establishing emotional safety and identifying accommodations)

  Phase 2: Values Formation. Deliverable: List of Proposed Values for the new SIG

  Phase 3: Identifying Activities. Deliverable: List of Proposed Activities for the new SIG

  Phase 4: SIG Formation. Deliverable: Nominees and SIG election processes

There were three opportunities for sprint group members to provide input on each phase’s deliverable. Members could choose to engage via one or all of these avenues. Specifically:

  An initial survey captured individual thoughts on the topic.

  Live meetings were held to review survey results for Phase 1, 2, and 3, expand on the ideas in the survey, and formulate a completed draft of the deliverable.

  The draft deliverable and meeting minutes were emailed to sprint group members for a final round of feedback.

Throughout the process, written materials were translated from English to Spanish by Lic. Valeria Pschepiurka. Given the range in members’ time zones, two live meetings were held at differing times for each topic. At live meetings, either consecutive translation (by Gaby Sanz) or Zoom-translated captions were used. 

At the request of members, to accommodate executive functioning needs, reminder emails were scheduled for all deliverables, and clear deadlines were provided. At the same time, flexibility was offered around deadlines such that any input received from a sprint group member was incorporated into the final deliverables.

In January 2024, eight members of the sprint group agreed to join a Steering Committee to lead the Neurodiversity-Affirming Research and Practice SIG, with Dr. Alison Stapleton acting as a temporary coordinator.

Why is a separate neurodiversity-themed SIG needed?

There are over 15 existing ACBS SIGs that are likely to have leaders and members who are interested in neurodiversity-affirming approaches. Without a “home” for neurodiversity-themed content, it may become split across multiple groups, making it less accessible to members. 

Given its enormous scope, the work entailed in running a neurodiversity-themed SIG is likely to overwhelm the capacity of existing SIGs that must also meet other member needs and/or focus on one particular form of neurodivergence.

The SIG will collaborate with existing SIGs to co-sponsor events and other activities. This will both (i) streamline content for members of these SIGs and (ii) reduce the administrative burden on existing SIGs.

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