Neurodiversity  and the Family System

Deirdre O’Reilly, LCSW and Kristen Sellix, LCSW, CCSW

Many clinicians will encounter clients with a relative who is diagnosed with an intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD), launching that family into the neurodiversity culture. Neurodiverse families encounter a variety of triumphs and challenges that impact the entire family system, from parents navigating special education, and support services to siblings understanding their brother or sisters needs and strengths throughout the lifespan. As clinicians, our role is to help individuals and families communicate about disability in the family, navigate services, and better understand how to effectively thrive as a unit from diagnosis to daily life. This 2-hour workshop will explore neurodiverse family culture and address how to provide ethical clinical interventions, increase communication amongst family members, and utilize a strengths based approach to enhancing the lives of each individual in the family system.

Learning Objectives

  • Define neurodiversity
  • Describe how cultures in the U.S. view I/DD and treatment
  • Describe the culture of neurodiversity and its impact on the family system
  • Identify treatment implications and strategies for neurodiverse family systems
  • Apply ethical considerations to the treatment of the individual with I/DD and the
    family system

What is Neurodiversity?
Common Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities & The Rights of the I/DD Individual

Ethical Considerations for Treatment
Cultural Reponses to I/DD
Neurodiverse Families, Roles, and Relationships

CEs: 1 Ethics, 1 Cultural Competence
Level: Intermediate

About the Presenters
Deirdre O’Reilly, LCSW received her Masters of Social Work from Rutgers University with a specialty in I/DD and Mental Illness. She has over 10 years’ experience working with the I/DD population; delivering in-home and outpatient therapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups, providing clinical case management, and positive behavioral supports. Deirdre is the Clinical Director for The Arc of Bergen & Passaic Counties and provides individual and family therapy and parent coaching with Verus Therapy, LLC, a private practice in Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

Kristen Sellix, LCSW received her Masters of Social Work from New York University, with a specialized interest in the intersection of the I/DD population and co-occurring mental health needs. Kristen has worked with the I/DD population and community mental health in outpatient, residential, in-home and school based settings. In 2014, Kristen co-founded “SIBS NJ,” a non-profit organization focused on sibling relationships within neurodiverse families. Kristen is the School Social Worker on the Cresskill Public School’s Child Study Team, and provides individual therapy, family therapy, and parent coaching with Verus Therapy, LLC, a private practice in Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

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