About Susan Dunne

Susan Dunne has Aspergers and works with young autistic adults. She is the author of “A Pony in the Bedroom” (Jessica Kingsley 2015), an insider account of an autistic person’s relationship with horses. She lives in Yorkshire and has 4 horses and runs a pony therapy service.

Book Review: “NeuroTribes” – I loved this but…

Steve Silberman’s “NeuroTribes: the legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently” is a book that needs no introduction.  This monumental much anticipated history of autism has hit the best seller lists running and small wonder – it’s got it all – or nearly. I’ll come back to that later. […]

Autism inside Out – the prison and freedom of routine

I’m staring at a stray jigsaw piece on the carpet. Maybe I should pick it up and put it in the box with the others, but once again I don’t. The truth is I’ve looked at that jigsaw piece a few times now and each time I’ve left it there. It won’t be joining the […]

Book Review: Different Drummer. One Man’s music and its impact on ADD, Autism and Anxiety by Jeff Strong

“Different Drummer” by Jeff Strong charts a two decade exploration of the potential of drumming to influence brain activity. Through memoir and case examples, Jeff takes us into the world of his lifelong passion for drumming. Under the influence of his mysterious mentor Lloyd, a street drummer who provides an antidote to his more conventional […]

Autism Inside Out – Why Hell is in Hallo

“Good Morning” They’re the two words I dread most, uttered as they are innocently enough as a casual greeting at work, a polite acknowledgement in a shop or a friendly gesture from a stranger passing in the street. It can be hard to explain to a neurotypical world why something so apparently well meant and […]

Autism Inside Out (a new series by Susan Dunne looking at autism from within)

It’s something in the way you move – autism and interpreting body language Reading in ADN of a recent Australian study which suggests that children with autism don’t have problems interpreting body language, I wasn’t unduly surprised. I’ve always suspected that the problem lies more in processing that information and choosing an appropriate response rather […]

Autism in the workplace: ‘Always thought you were a bit weird’

I was sitting in a doctor’s office, describing yet again how a day at work could be hell. I told him why sharing the same space, listening to my colleagues’ music/small talk/breathing drove me mad and why someone saying “good morning” could feel like a personal invasion. The doctor was new, young; he gave a […]

Animals and autism – Ethics and Safety Part 7

In this final post of the series I’ll be looking at some of the ethical issues that arise when using animals in therapy and in particular the use of exotic animals. Whilst for the majority of people Animal Assisted Interventions will involve the use of smaller domestic animals, when it comes to animals assisting with […]

Animals and autism – which animal? Part 6

When it comes to choosing which animal might be appropriate for people with autism a number of factors could play a part. Whilst potentially any animal from a goldfish to an elephant (more on the use of exotic animals in my next post) can be of assistance, time, money, facilities and personal preferences all need […]

Animals and Autism – What’s behind it Part 5

We’ve looked at ways animals can directly benefit people with autism in terms of increased socialisation and communication. In this post we’ll consider how animals may be able to bring benefits to the wider family. A 2009 study (Mancil et al) of stress in parents of children with disabilities, found that parents of children with […]

Opinion: Self-harm Video shows Heroism of a Dog

Watching Danielle Jacob’s recent posting on You Tube of a meltdown in which she self-harms and her dog Samson comforts her was a bitter sweet viewing. Bitter because it shows what so many of us on the spectrum go through behind closed doors – the despair and pain of our locked in worlds where it […]