Your assessments need to zoom out to be more neurodiversity affirming

by Adina Levy

See…. Pie? 👀 🥧 or… CPIE! ⁠Stick with me to find out what on earth I’m on about here…

‘CPIE’ is how I remember the essential ingredients that need to go into a Neurodiversity Affirming Assessment. Most therapists do NOT zoom out enough when doing assessments for Autistic children, and capture only the narrow, presenting skills and challenges that the child exhibits.

My hot take, friends, is this: your assessments need to zoom out to be more Neurodiversity Affirming.

(I am speaking specifically about Assessments that Speech Therapists do for Autistic children.⁠.. however I’m sure you’re wise enough to notice that my CPIE model for affirming assessments can apply to any kind of assessment, any age human, and not necessarily Autistic children.⁠ But here’s the thing – I’m obsessed with supporting therapists to improve practices and increase holistic support for Autistic kids – which is why I talk about this particular group of fabulous humans a lot!)⁠

A Neurodiversity Affirming approach to supporting Autistic kids means zooming out, and taking into account the contexts, relationships and supports that impact a child’s skills and abilities in any moment.

Here’s how I suggest you structure your assessments and reports to encompass the child’s contexts and relationships: Here’s where we come back to CPIE (a.k.a. See…. Pie? 👀 🥧) – This is my framework for a holistic, Neurodiversity Affirming assessments, and guides you to include assessment and analysis of each of these factors:⁠

C – Child⁠
P – Partner (communication partner)⁠
I – Interaction (between child and their communication partner)⁠
E – Environment⁠

And here’s how I visualise CPIE, hope this helps some of you visually-inclined people!

🤔💭 Reflection moment!⁠

Which aspect do you most regularly assess and report on?⁠ Which aspect do you want to remind yourself to consider more, in your assessments?⁠

My latest podcast episode is just 8 minutes long and I talk through these ideas in more depth. Have a listen now on your favourite podcast platform!

Anddddd if you’re so inclined and you’re a Speech Therapist ready to go DEEPER and gain more CONFIDENCE in your skills as a Neurodiversity Affirming Therapist – check out my course ‘Affirming Communication for Autistic Children

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