A short self-help guide to tackling rumination for autistic people (may also be useful for others)

Many autistic people get very stuck in loops of rumination and uncertainty, and the feeling of going round and round, the anxiety and worry, can be really unbearable. I call this ‘loops of concern’. This could be a result of our more monotropic minds, or it could be because we are more greatly impacted by uncertainties (or have more uncertainties to deal with) — or both. Often, these loops are centred around something we are not sure about: was that friend angry? Did I…

Some things I’ve learnt about emotions — mine and other people’s

This piece was originally delivered as a talk at Autscape 2021 (July 24th). A recording of the talk will be available eventually (and linked here when it is). This piece differs slightly from the recording as it has been edited for clarity and better readability.

A couple of years ago, Autscape 2019, I did a talk titled Intense Connections, mostly about the ways that we as autistic people can sometimes connect extremely intensely with one-another, and also about Damian Milton’s Double Empathy Problem and research around that — that is, very briefly, the idea that people who are more similar…

drawing of a tick box being selected with ‘Other’ next to it

I just had to fill in a sort of demographics-type questionnaire (ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc) and then reflect on how I felt doing it as preparation for the next class in my counselling course, topic: ‘working with difference’. I would like to share my reflections:

I’m thinking about all the demographics/equal opportunity questionnaires I’ve had to fill in, and how many times I’ve ticked ‘other’ because there is almost never a box for any of my identities. It’s funny in a way that increasingly now there is a box a can tick that better describes my gender identity (non-binary)…

So I think it’s worth addressing some of the ideas around autism: autism as a continuum (a linear spectrum) or not, some common things people say, and common issues and misunderstandings.

“Isn’t everyone a bit autistic?”
Is every dog a bit cat?

Sometimes when people say something that sounds like autism not being a continuum, they are responding to the phrase, “well we’re all on the spectrum somewhere” or “isn’t everyone a bit autistic?” The trouble with these statements is that it’s nonsensical, as even with definitions of things that are fuzzy around the edges (most things if you think about it!), the edges have to be *somewhere* for the sake…

There’s been a lot of talk about gender and being non-binary lately, and what that means, and I wanted to share a quick post about my experiences. Also, today Oolong got out some of their clothes for me to wear, and we did a mini photo shoot, and I want to show off some pictures:


Partly what I see in these pictures is a person feeling so much more comfortable in their body than they ever used to feel growing up. I was one of those people who thought that I could never look ok in photos. …

How an art class introduced me to the value of neurodiversity, how our preconceptions and taught assumptions can stop us from figuring out how we really see, and what drawing means to me.

When I was at grad school in Maine, I assisted in art classes for Ernie, the art and ceramics professor, who was also my main advisor. …

[This post was originally delivered as a talk at Autscape, in August 2019]

I want to start by asking you all to imagine an experiment.

So, imagine you are the researcher: you set up a game of Telephone: you recruit a bunch of non-autistic people and put them in a long line. Then, you tell the first person in the chain a short story. They have to pass on the story, in as much detail as possible, to the next person in the chain, and them to the next person, and so on, all the way to the end. …

[Talk given at the Scottish Government’s Autism Cross Party Group, May 28th 2019. Video link to practice read out: https://youtu.be/6X2AaQNj_lQ]

I’m sure it’s not news to anyone in this room that autistic people in Scotland are facing a crisis in mental health. Much has been said already by government, NHS and other agencies about the need to prioritise mental health provision for us. Why we (as autistic people) are facing such mental health challenges, however, what the main barriers are that we face in accessing support, and what can help, I think isn’t as widely understood or recognised. …

Sonny Hallett

I’m a trainee counsellor, trainer, artist, and naturalist based in Edinburgh, UK. My work is largely focused on autism & mental health.

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