Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Roger "Mitch" Nasser

Third Advisor

Carrie Page


As autism diagnosis increased (Maenner et al., 2023; Wright, 2017), autistic individuals increasingly advocated for services aligned with a neurodiversity perspective (Jordan, 2010; Leadbitter et al., 2021). Using a human centric, design-based approach, the researcher identified a lack of alignment between the emerging preferences of the autistic community and the services speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in a large, suburban special education school district felt competent in providing. Some SLPs in the district reported a lack of knowledge and training about the neurodiversity movement and felt further training on the topic was needed. Once the knowledge gap was identified, the researcher worked with a stakeholder team consisting of district administrators and SLPs to generate many possible solutions for the problem, create protypes of possible solutions, and test the selected possible solution to determine if a change in knowledge and/or practices occurred following the intervention. A total of 17 SLPs from across the school district completed a one-hour, asynchronous online training and rated familiarity with neurodiversity concepts, importance of neurodiversity, and sense of confidence with performing various neurodiversity-affirming tasks on an online survey completed before and after the training. Additionally, seven participants completed a follow-up interview at least one month after the training focused on the participant perceptions of the intervention and evidence of any changes in therapy practices. Statistically significant increases in scores were noted on all three portions of the pre-/post- assessment questionnaire. Qualitative interview data indicated SLPs adopted changes in practice and mindset following completion of the training. However, participants had some lingering concerns about the application of ideas presented and expressed the need for further training on the topic. The scholar practitioner reported future interventions backed by theories of organizational change and professional learning.