AET is committed to racial and social equity and justice. As such, we are looking inward and outward at the systemic inequities that exist in our profession and in the lives of our students.
As an initial step in the exploration of diversity and systemic inequity within our organization and the profession, the Social Justice Committee of AET conducted a demographic survey of our membership in 2021 with an updated survey planned in late 2023/early 2024. The purpose of the survey was to deepen our understanding of the demography within our profession and the students and families that we serve. AET is using this information to inform our work as we continue with our social justice initiative projects. Currently, AET is working on the following projects:
- Continued processing of the data collected from the survey and reported here, in service of finding ways to increase diversity within the educational therapy profession
- Community service/Volunteer educational therapy program (low cost/no cost)
- Social Justice Training for educational therapists
- Participation in school-to-prison pipeline programs
- Study group involvement with social justice issues
Although it represents a fraction of our membership, the survey data revealed both expected and unexpected results. For example, while we are, as expected, a primarily white, female profession, we have a more diverse clientele than anticipated. In addition, slightly more than half of educational therapists who responded to the survey provide low cost/no cost options within their practices, and many of us speak a variety of different languages. Please look at the data as it is rich with information about who we are as a group and is illustrative of the great opportunity we have to make changes that will enrich and broaden diversity and equity within our profession and increase our ability to better serve a wider range of students and families.
Policy on Generating Public Statements
Rationale: The Association of Educational Therapists publishes position statements on educational issues relevant to the practice of educational therapy and the lives of clients and their families. Guidelines are necessary to ensure that statements reflect AET's Vision, Mission, and Core Values and remain within legal parameters for nonprofit organizations.
- The Association of Educational Therapists publishes position statements on educational issues relevant to the practice of educational therapy and the lives of clients and their families.
- Statements must reflect AET's Vision, Mission, and Core Values.
- Published statements must include a rationale that provides context and research-based evidence.
- In keeping with nonprofit organizations' requirements, statements may not endorse or oppose a specific political party or candidate for political office.
1. Statement of Commitment
“AET is committed to racial and social equity and justice. As such, we are looking inward and outward at systemic inequities that exist in our profession and in the lives of our students.”
2. Statement on School Shootings
We, as members of the Association of Educational Therapists (AET), are heartbroken by school shootings and the devastating consequences of these acts on the lives of our students, educators, families, and communities. We should not live in fear because fear impacts every aspect of our well-being. Students must feel secure to focus on learning and reaching their full potential. Educators should not have the added burden of protecting the lives of their students against violence at school. AET advocates for policies that provide students and educators with an environment that supports their social, emotional, and academic needs.
If you share our concerns, we encourage you to inform your representatives in Congress as they consider legislation that impacts this critical issue. Contact information for U.S. Representatives and Senators can be found at
3. Censorship Statement
Statement on the Importance of Access to Diverse Books
As Educational Therapists, we believe the selection of books for libraries, classes, or individuals is a complex process that includes consideration of developmental level, reading level, and ability to comprehend the book's content in a manner that ensures books enrich the individual's life. The Association of Educational Therapists stands against the exclusion of books from libraries and schools without due consideration of the diverse needs of a socially just world.
According to Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Director of American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, a book challenge or ban is an attempt to remove a book from a library’s collection so that no one can access it through the library. Between January 1 and August 31, 2022, American Library Association (ALA) documented 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources, and 1,651 unique titles were targeted. In 2021, ALA reported 729 attempts to censor library resources, targeting 1,597 books, which represented the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling these lists more than 20 years ago. The vast majority of these titles were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color. (American Library Association,2022). Censorship has been an ongoing issue at least since the 19th century (Ringel 2016). Since 1982, the Banned Book Week Coalition has sponsored an annual Banned Book Week to celebrate the freedom to read. The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. (The Coalition | Banned Books Week, 2023).
Research supports the conclusion that when individuals see authentic representations of characters or situations that mirror their life experiences in terms of such things as race, culture, religion, gender, sexual identity, and neurodiversity, it positively impacts their sense of self-efficacy, identity, and academic achievement (Adomat, 2014, Heineke, 2022, Tetreault,2020). The ability to make connections with fiction and nonfiction reading content and characters is essential to reading success and engagement and creates an environment where students increase their reading skills and deepen their understanding of texts (Adam, 2020, Heineke, 2022, Rodreguez, 2018). While we did not find research that indicates the act of limiting local library resources through book challenges directly affects student success, based on the existing research, we, as Educational Therapists, are concerned that the book challenges and the current censorship environment may impact our students’ identity development and academic achievement.
Adam, H., Barratt-Pugh, C. (2020) The challenge of monoculturalism: what books are educators sharing with children and what messages do they send?. Australian Educational Researcher. 47, 815–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-019-00375-7
Adomat, D. S. (2014). Exploring Issues of Disability in Children’s Literature Discussions. In Disability Studies Quarterly (Vol. 34, Issue 3). https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v34i3.3865
Heineke, A.J., Papola-Ellis, A. and Elliott, J. (2022), Using Texts as Mirrors: The Power of Readers Seeing Themselves. Teaching and Learning in Action, 76: 277-284. https://doi.org/10.1002/trtr.2139
Ringel, P., How Banning Books Marginalizes Children. In The Atlantic, October 2016
Rodreguez, J (2018), Why It's Important for Kids to See Themselves in Books. Why It's Important for Kids to See Themselves in Books (scholastic.com)
Tetreault, N. (2020). Insight Into a Bright Mind. Gifted Unlimited, LLC.