Interview with Neurodiversity-Affirming SLP: Stephanie Boron
- Interviews with Therapists
- By Stephanie Boron
- Published on October 10
Meet Stephanie Boron, M.S. CCC-SLP
I’m a neurodiversity-affirming SLP. I’m an assistant clinical professor at Northwestern. I’m a mom to two kids, one of whom has neurodivergent traits. And I identify as an Autistic adult.
What did you go to school for?
I went to undergrad at UW Madison for communication sciences and disorders. I went to Northwestern for my masters in speech and language pathology.
What is your current job title and how has that changed since you first started working?
I’m an assistant clinical professor, but even more important to my professional journey is my other title - neurodiversity-affirming SLP. I started my career the way most new SLPs do. I taught Autistic kids things like eye contact and other neurotypical social skills. Over the course of my career, I’ve listened to and learned from Autistic adults and I’ve spent time working alongside some amazing OTs and mental health professionals in order to shift my practices to be identity-affirming for my Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent clients. I believe that distinguishing myself as a neurodiversity-affirming SLP sends a message of understanding and safety to my neurodivergent clients and their families.
What made you decide to become a therapist?
I think on some level, I struggled with social interactions and I gravitated toward the field of speech and language pathology because it allowed me to learn the skills I thought I was lacking. The funny twist I never anticipated when I was in grad school is that I would later learn that I’m multiply neurodivergent and not a broken neurotypical person. There’s so much peace in learning to understand and embrace your own brain. Now I try to help my clients to form a positive neurodivergent identity. All brains are beautiful.
What are some different roles you’ve held since becoming a therapist?
Feel free to include any side hustles/part time work! In addition to being an SLP and working in academia, I’m a full-time mom to two delightfully wild kids. I also have an advocacy Instagram account - @BeMeSpeech
What would you share with someone who wanted to find a position like yours or build a company/brand such as yours?
Choose connection and curiosity rather than compliance. You might be surprised what path you’ll take based on what you learn.
What would you share with someone who is starting their journey to be a therapist?
A mental health therapist once told me, “You never know what someone is protecting.” You’re going to have a lot of colleagues and supervisors that do things a certain way because of their own lived experience, insecurities, and ingrained beliefs. Whether it’s the coworker who makes a big show of coming in early and leaving late or a supervisor who sees the community you serve differently than you do. It’s really easy to get annoyed or to feel like maybe you’re wrong or you’re not doing enough. Try your best to remember that no matter how long we’ve been in the field (or on this earth for that matter,) we’re all just imperfect lumps of meat living in an imperfect world. Lead with curiosity about why people show up the way they do, but know that it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong or that you need to change what you’re doing if it doesn’t align with your values.
What are you most passionate about with your role as a therapist?
Speaking of values, my shift toward neurodiversity-affirming practices has allowed me to align my practice with my value system. I’m super passionate about empowering my clients to be able to show up as their most authentic selves with me. I believe that access to affirming therapy is a human right. Autonomous communication is a human right. When your work aligns with your values, it’s easy to feel passionately about it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You’re good enough and worthy of love and belonging just the way you are. You’re not broken - you’re Autistic and that’s really cool. Your brain is fascinating!
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself and your journey to where you are right now?
My friend Corinne @crescendo.communication said something one time that really stuck with me - She said something to the effect of, “I can’t wait to be slapped in the face in 10 years by what I don’t know now.” It can be really hard for clinicians (or humans for that matter) to grapple with learning new information that may conflict with how you’ve moved through the world before. If you can shift your thinking to humility and gratitude for the chance to be able to grow and change and learn as a professional, you’re going to be a better professional. This has been such a huge part of my journey.
Check out what Stephanie is up to here:
Thank you for sharing your incredible perspective with us on Jobs For Therapists, Stephanie!