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Social Work Today
E-Newsletter    February 2024
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Editor's E-Note


Neurological differences, including autism, dyslexia, and ADHD, aren’t adequately addressed in social work education. Here, Savannah B. Higgins, LMSW, the academic director of an organization that provides neurodiversity-affirming academic support, explores the need for preparing social workers to be neurodiversity-inclusive.

We welcome your comments at SWTeditor@gvpub.com. Visit our website at www.SocialWorkToday.com, like our Facebook page, and follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter.

— Kate Jackson, editor
In This E-Newsletter
E-News Exclusive
Diverse Minds, Inclusive Practices — Are We Preparing Social Workers to Be Neurodiversity Inclusive?

By Savannah B. Higgins, LMSW

If you have completed or are enrolled in a social work education program, you likely have been introduced to the concepts of diversity, intersectionality, oppression, and privilege. When discussing these topics, how often is the content inclusive of disability and, even more specifically, neurodiversity? Competency three of the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards requires students to engage in antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in practice. Within this competency, disability is listed as an intersectional dimension of diversity.1

The purpose of social work education is to equip students to engage with individuals, families, and communities, a significant portion of whom may live with one or more disabilities. Neurodivergence encompasses inherent variations in neurological functioning and is frequently perceived as a disability by and within a societal framework that perpetuates ableism as the prevailing norm. Although social workers are likely to engage with individuals with disabilities as part of their regular professional responsibilities, many social work programs provide minimal content specifically focused on disabilities and neurodiversity. Consequently, this begs the question, are social workers prepared to engage with a diverse range of neurotypes?

Other Social Work News
Advocating for Long Term Care for Mental Health
In an opinion piece for The Cap Times, a Wisconsin newspaper, Adam Brabender, a social work major at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, argues for the need for long term care for mental illness.

Can Hip-Hop Save Lives?
J.C. Hall, a social worker at Mott Haven Community High School in Bronx, New York, believes music saves lives—specifically when it’s part of hip-hop therapy. He tells GMA the story of his own struggles with mental health and his discovery of this form of expressive therapy.

Integrating Mental Health and Maternal Care
New York-Presbyterian’s Postpartum Doula program aims to provide holistic health care to pregnant people in their third trimester and the early postpartum weeks and help reduce racial disparities.

The Mental Health Needs of Home-Schooled Youth
While parents may be able to meet their homeschooled children’s education needs, many are less prepared to address their mental health challenges. The Nation reports on a mental health crisis in homeschooled children.
Products & Services
Politicizing Practice Through a Decolonial Lens
Decolonizing Therapy: Oppression, Historical Trauma, and Politicizing Your Practice, by Jennifer Mullan, invites clinicians to delve into the ways colonial, historical, and intergenerational legacies have influenced the treatment of mental health. Learn more »

Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul
Social justice work isn’t always done in the trenches. There’s much that’s done by introverts and others who are more comfortable out of the limelight, as Dorcas Cheng-Tozun reveals in Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul: How to Change the World in Quiet Ways, published by Broadleaf Books. Learn more »
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