Alisha Stubbs, MSW, RSW, PhD(c)

Event Speaker

Alisha Stubbs, MSW, RSW, PhD(c)


Alisha (she/her) is a settler on colonized land. She has been a practicing social worker for over ten years working in various capacities such as developmental services, front line mental health, crisis, supervision, school board, hospital, employee assistance, private practice, post-secondary education, and research.

Over the last seven years her personal and professional worlds merged to spark a passion in autism and social work. Alisha’s Ph.D. research will be engaging in the role school social workers can play in addressing the non-academic needs of autistic girls in school. Alisha is interested in presenting on mental health and autism, specifically anxiety and risk assessment in youth with autism.

Alisha has created webinars for Autism Ontario, been a guest lecturer for autism and mental health, as well as being an instructor/lecturer at Fanshawe College and the University of Waterloo (Renison College). Alisha uses the personal experience of having a daughter with autism, exploring her own neurodiversity, and merging it with her clinical expertise of social work, therapeutic intervention, and crisis management.


Effective Therapeutic Support for Autistic and Neurodiverse Youth and Adults

Speaker: Alisha Stubbs, MSW, RSW, PhD(c)

This session will include an overview of mental health and the intersection of autism. Included in this will be the complexities such as other intersections (such as gender and race) and a component of therapist-reflexivity to center positionality. Further, the complexities of the autism and neurodiversity movements and discourses will be overviewed to provide context of various themes in the autistic community.

Next, recent research on mental health and autism will be presented to showcase the current need for responsive services in the mental health sector. This will include incidences of anxiety, depression and suicidality among autistic individuals. Often times autism gets compartmentalized by Ministry funding and as a result, the increasing number of folks on the spectrum requiring both crisis and ongoing mental health supports are in a position of working with professionals with limited experience with autism. Likewise, therapists are put in a position of supporting autistic clients with limited training and experience.

Finally, the session will provide practical tools for mental health professionals to implement into their practice. This will include areas on adapting cognitive behaviour therapy, providing sensory-accommodating spaces, and other indicators for increased support for autistic clients engaging in mental health services.

Key Takeaways

1. Have practical tools to implement modalities such as mindfulness and cognitive-behaviour therapy for working with autistic clients

2. Have additional information on the mental health needs of youth and adults with autism

3. Feel equipped to support autistic youth and adults with mental health support while considering the unique nuances of autism

4. Feel informed to share information with their organization to create responsive services for autistic and neurodiverse youth and/or adults.