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Episode #136: Autistic Burnout and Creating Neuro-Affirming Environments with Larissa Minner


Having an autistic adult on the podcast is always an opportunity to learn how we, as practitioners, can do our best for our clients. Joining me today is Larissa Minner, a passionate and experienced disability rights advocate, speaker, and consultant. 

Burnout is commonly talked about, and I’ve even done an episode where we talked about professional burnout in the field. Larissa talks about Autistic Burnout and Neurodivergent Burnout and what that looks like for many individuals. Signs and symptoms of Autistic (or Nuerodivergent) Burnout can include feeling drain in all aspects of life, an increase in executive functional challenges, a lowered coping skill level, regression and loss of skills, brain fog, physical fatigue, mimicking and causing depression/anxiety, and even being a factor involved in suicidal ideation. This causes a lot of problems for autistic individuals, like finding a job or making their way through university. 

So what can we do? As professionals, we can provide Neuro Affirming Environments. A Neuro Affirming Environment applies to social, emotional, and physical aspects, and Larissa explains some ways to do that without putting the burden on the autistic person. Firstly, use the person’s preferred language, whether they prefer Autistic Person or Person with Autism. Also developing language that is not based on a person’s deficit; for example, Larissa uses the term Strategic Explorer to verbalize her preference for routine. Additionally, consider sensory friendly rooms with adjustable lighting and noise accommodations, validations in different listening and communicating skills, and always giving ample warning when it comes to events and changes. 

Larissa is active in making changes across the field for both autistic children and autistic adults when it comes to healthcare, education, and career opportunities. This is a great conversation that shares some less talked about advocacy for autistic people and encourages professionals to check themselves when it comes to providing compassionate care.

#autism #speechtherapy

Today’s Guest:

Larissa Minner is a passionate and experienced disability rights advocate, speaker, and consultant. With a deep commitment to promoting understanding, Larissa has become a sought-after voice in the field. Her expertise in neurodivergence, coupled with her exceptional research and writing skills, make her a trusted thought leader. As an autistic person with multiple disabilities, Larissa blends her speaking engagements with research and lived experience.

Larissa is an avid speaker, trainer, and consultant, collaborating with organizations like the Autism Society of Texas, Autism Society of America, Milestones, PayPal, the University of Texas, and SAFE Alliance. Her ability to effectively communicate complex concepts in a persuasive and accessible manner has made her a valuable resource. Larissa has developed impactful programming and educational materials, effectively spreading crucial information about neurodivergence and inclusion. 

Larissa’s involvement as an ACT LEND Trainee at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) allowed her to immerse herself in the study of autism and other disabilities. During her LEND practicum at Disability Rights Texas, Larissa created impactful videos on self-advocacy, where she served as the sole speaker. Currently, Larissa serves as the principal investigator of the SHAPE in Healthcare Study at UT, focusing on developing accessible and person-centered healthcare environments for autistic and non-autistic adults. Her groundbreaking research has earned her recognition, including the prestigious #1 People’s Choice award at UT’s Interprofessional Health Showcase, and she has been selected as a finalist in the Best in Research category. Larissa is also presenting her research at the national AIR-P Research Day, further solidifying her reputation as a respected researcher and expert in her field. 

Beyond these contributions, Larissa actively participates in advisory and leadership positions in various local and national disability committees and coalitions. She is dedicated to shaping policies and advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, actively promoting accessibility and positive change. Additionally, Larissa fosters supportive communities as the primary facilitator of a virtual neurodivergent support group. As an enthusiastic content creator, Larissa shares her expertise and experiences on platforms like YouTube, leveraging her influence to promote belonging for neurodivergent individuals.

With her unwavering dedication, extensive expertise, and influential work, Larissa Minner continues to drive positive change in the field of disability rights. Her passion and accomplishments encourage others to join her in creating a more inclusive and accessible world.

What’s Inside:

  • What is Autistic Burnout?
  • What are signs and symptoms of Autistic Burnout?
  • What is a Neuro Affirming Environment?
  • How can providers be Neuro Affirming?
  • Advocacy goals for education, healthcare, and career finding.
  • The importance of preferred language surrounding autism and disabilities.

Mentioned In This Episode

You can participate in her ongoing research study at Shape in Healthcare Survey (Healthcare Equality)
You can find out more about Larissa and her work at:

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