Animals Рit seems like a strange item to have in a glossary about neurodivergence, perhaps. But for many autistic people, particularly women, animals, whether they be pets or wildlife, are a great source of joy and comfort.

As a child, my life’s ambition was to run a dog sanctuary (alongside my stationery shop). I compromised, and by the age of nine I had numerous huge aquariums filled with breeding snails in my bedroom, as well as rabbits, guinea pigs and two dogs… When I left home and bought my first flat, I filled it with guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, gerbils and a budgie. By the time I had three children, I was keeping twelve female guinea pigs in a huge run in my bedroom (not a period of my life where I had a great deal of sleep). They were fascinating to lie and watch. I loved their funny little ways.

Animals give us unconditional love (maybe not snails!). They soothe us, their needs and routines are simple and predictable and they never question why you are as you are; they simply accept you and remain loyal (again, not snails!). You’re never lonely when you have an animal in your life. Hence, animals have rightfully earned their place in this glossary!