Autism and Aspergers
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Hi, my name is joannarashelle!

joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
edited January 2017 in Autism and Aspergers
Hello there my name is Joanna  

I just wanted to say hello I struggle with mental health problems and a recently diagnosed Aspergers condition.. 

I adore anything to do with animals wildlife nature (I work as a Dog Psychologist and Behaviourist) and enjoy playing the piano and making people laugh and feel good 

I'm looking forward to a new voluntary position enabling school age children how to read, as a trained helper.

I have always felt different to others but didn't know why, I have been bullied on and off throughout my life though academically bright I struggle with social interaction and everyday things we take for granted, going into a shop is a major problem for me for example and though I want to be with others (I live on my own and have no family support.. in fact certain members of family have been the bullies!) I fear the social setting, though enjoy walking with friends and our dogs in beautiful areas. 

Although my 'disability' isn't visible to the eye I've always felt comfortable with people who have a 'disability' be it physical or mental.

Hello to you all and I'd love to make friends with you xxx


  • Chris_AlumniChris_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 695 Pioneering
    Hi @joannarashelle, welcome to the community, and thank you for sharing your experiences.
  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Oh my goodness! Hi there! I play piano too and help kids read at my daughter's school.  We don't have dogs as my husband and are are allergic but my daughter is desperate to work with dogs and horses when she grows up. 

    What do you like playing on piano? 

    How did you get into your work with dogs? 

    Nice to meet you! 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Hello there mossycow I love your profile name  :)
    Pleased to meet you and thank you for taking the time to message me
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Mossycow I sent you quite a long ramble not sure if it went through as can't see it!

    Did you get my ramble about how I started working with dogs? 

    If if not I apologise.. I'm new to this...!
  • Francesca1994Francesca1994 Member Posts: 11 Connected
    Welcome to the community! My name's Francesca and I have Cerebral Palsy and I will be answering questions and welcoming new members so if you need anything please don't hesitate to ask!
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Hello Francesca and thankyou!

  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Oh sorry,  no I can't see a ramble. Could you be bothered to post again? 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Oops sorry!

    Was just saying I've always felt comfortable around animals not people as much, have an almost spiritual connection with nature especially animals and dogs in particular..

    Dogs have been my co-pilots throughout my life, shielding me from pain and enabling me to get out when all I want to do is shut myself away.. I struggle with social interactions..

    A long story but people strangers and friends would comment on the connection I had with my dogs and how did I do it why could I get them to listen to me etc.. it came naturally to me and because I needed to work to feed myself (or should I say my dogs!) and can't work in a 'normal' environment.. I at last realised my calling in life was to enable dog owners to read and understand their dogs better, thus giving their dogs a more fulfilling life and I get paid for doing something I've always done since I was a little girl!
    A longer story than that really.. it took years for me to realise I had a gift, I thought it was just me being me, but for some reason clients think I'm amazing at what I do (just acting the way I always have done with dogs!) and I get to spend my whole life literally eating with sleeping with being with and working with dogs.

    Like your daughter I also love horses.

    I love Debussy and Bach piano pieces but also love to play honky tonk Jazz!

    Phew that was a long message!

    Hello Mossycow!!
  • Francesca1994Francesca1994 Member Posts: 11 Connected
    Hello Francesca and thankyou!


    No Problem!!
  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Wow,  that's fantastic.  I love that dogs are your copilot.  Cracking way to describe that! 

    So pleased you've found a career in what you love,  that's worth so much! 

    Also love Debussy,  love Chopin Rachmaninof  (though my hands are too small!)  and playing alsorts really.  My daughter is learning violin and its a bit of a dream come true when we play together. 

    I'm totally fascinated by what you said about reading dogs.  That is indeed a gift! 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • CaderMacCaderMac Member Posts: 105 Pioneering
    Hello @joannarashelle! I love animal, wildlife and nature too but unfortunately I am currently unable to have a dog, so I'm currently researching getting a little pygmy hedgehog for a pet! What type of dogs do you have? I would love to have a King Charles Spaniel one day. 
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Hello @CaderMac and thankyou for your post!

    Pygmy hedgehog oh my goodness how cute would that be!

    I'm sure one day you'll have your King Charles Spaniel, they're gentle souls aren't they?

    For the last 8 weeks I've been without my own fur baby (dog) having just lost my beloved Golden Retriever 'Honey', what a softy she was, I was brought up with Border Collies but genuinely love all dogs and indeed all animals! 

    Please tell me about Pygmy hedgehogs!

    Joanna xx
  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    Oh no! So sorry about Honey. 

    Yes! Tell us about pygmy hedgehogs!  Are they tiny?  Can you put pictures on here? 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • mossycowmossycow Member Posts: 495 Pioneering
    this is to test.... 

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Teehee I got that one!! 
  • CaderMacCaderMac Member Posts: 105 Pioneering
    Sorry to hear about Honey, I know how horrible it can be to lose a pet. They become your family! 

    Pygmy hedgehogs are small and adorable! I want to make sure I can take very good care of one before I rush in and get one, but so far they seem like they can make very cute little friends. They like to live alone which makes it easy, and they eat cat food and have meal worms as a treat!  Apparently, they are very active little creatures so need plenty of space to whizz around. I would like to be able to handle my hedgehog a lot so that it is friendly and sociable. 

    I have found this website really handy and you might find it interesting to find out some more too! 
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Member Posts: 133 Courageous
    Hi from Fm. I love hedgehogs, I once rescued one that had got itself stuck in a plastic fence. But I absolutely can't STAND dogs, They absolutely wreck my life and have done for over fifty years! I now can't have any visitors at home because of a wretched dog next door which howls it's guts out whenever it's careless owner goes out and leaves it on it's own and I now also can't go out in my own back yard because of the appallingly anti-social dogs in the yard three doors down. Why should I be forced to live like this? What about human rights, people come before dogs! I've also had to give up going walking away from the main roads because of maniacal psychopathic anti-social dogs on the loose which keep furiously aggressively menacing me and only me which I furiously resent! And far too often I've been outrageously forced off buses because of hypermaniacal dogs relentlessly ranting and howling their wretched guts out and absolutely ripping my skull apart with their appalling noise. If someone can't keep their dog quiet on the bus they should be required to get off as I would be if my phone went faulty and started playing music on it's own and I couldn't stop it and I've had that happen before. And my phone doesn't make anywhere near as much noise as a dog does! Fm.
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Hello there what a shame it seems you're surrounded by thoughtless people who can't train or care for their dogs adequately, so they develop problems out of frustration as we do. 

    But at least we as humans can articulate and vent our frustrations and disapproval can't we!
    All a dog can do to show it's frustration is bark which is the dogs way of communicating. 
    Dogs and indeed so many animals in general can be hugely beneficial to us who struggle with life's overwhelming situations. 
    I can't bear to see a dog that's frustrated or hear one barking excessively, but I don't blame the dog, I blame the person who is meant to be responsible for that dog. 

    Without animals giving me unconditional love and in particular dogs, I probably wouldn't be here sending you this message. They have comforted me and loved me and supported me where people have failed to do so. 

    I hope you find a way to learn to focus on something else when you're near a dog that is over stimulated (and you'll know what I mean by this) 
    Its horrid for us when we're in places or situations we feel threatened by, dogs react in much the same way but they vent their frustrations generally by barking or more extremely by nipping.
    But with an owner that sets boundaries teaches manners gives love exercise and attention, a dog will be happy and feel it has a good leader so will behave accordingly. 

    Dogs want to please us, they just need direction by someone who can give it. 

    I can forgive a dog for pretty much anything, I cannot say the same for people! 

    Best wishes to you and I hope you find your calm place 


  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Ps forgot to say.. a dog can and will pick up on anti social behaviour in people, and can become aggressive if not corrected and taught to be tolerant. 

    I suggest the next time you're confronted with 'an anti social dog' I suggest  being calm and controlled and pleasant. 

    Youll see a difference in the dogs reaction towards you 

    Best wishes xx
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Member Posts: 133 Courageous
    Hi from Fm. I'll try and keep this as civilised as possible. If dogs are so "loving" then how come they and only they treat me so brutally hostile? And no other animal treats me in such a way and never has done but dogs have treated me like absolute dirt all my life since I was little. Other animals are much more friendly to me especially cats and birds, I've even had wild birds perch on me! And sometimes when I go to a riverbank where I've never been before the local wild geese and ducks come and gather round me all nice and friendly and quite often when I'm really wound up cats come to me and comfort me and just recently even a horse did the same and I've never had anything to do with horses. Whereas dogs just needlessly and wilfully become part of the problem as do far too many people. No matter what anyone says as far as I'm concerned dogs are quite responsible for their attitude and actions the same as people are so they've no excuse and I've no sympathy for any dog with such a serious attitude problem. Why pick on a total stranger totally out of the blue? Quite often I've been quietly minding my own business and some grossly anti-social dog has deliberately started on me for absolutely no reason and no other animal in this country treats me in such an outrageous manner, just who do they think they are? They do not own me and neither do any people as so many like to think they do. I can't say on here what I think of dogs. Fm.
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Hello there I won't be drawn into conflict it's not my bag but will suggest you think about the signs you're unwittingly sending out to dogs.. if you don't like dogs and have issues with them they will pick up on this and treat you accordingly, either giving you a wide berth or entering into a challenge with you; dogs are one of the most intuitive sensitive and intelligent animals on the planet, they can sense conflict a mile off even if we can't sense it in ourselves. 

    It's apparent you like nature, if you want to resolve your conflict with dogs why don't you watch how they help empower and support people with trauma, both physical and mental and certainly emotional. 

    A dog will only attack if it feels it is threatened. 

    I cant say anymore on the subject to help you I'm no human Psychologist I'm a Dog Psychologist! 

    I help troubled dogs!

    As they have helped me my whole life.

    Best wishes and I hope you find your inner calm

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Fundamentalist I can see that you aren't a dog fan! I suppose it is just personal preferences isnt it.  For example, you say that you have felt comforted by ducks and geese, but I am terrified of geese (I was bitten as a child) and now I sometimes feel they are after me if I go out walking on the canals!

    But even though I am not a fan, I can respect that you are happy to see them and feel they are friendly.

    Can you see that other people feel the same way about dogs? 

    You mention horses too, I have been reading about how horse riding can be beneficial to disabled people and find it fascinating.  Yet I am scared of horses and can't imagine ever getting on one again! 

    Without dropping too big a pun, it is horses for courses isnt it?!
    Senior online community officer
  • FundamentalistFundamentalist Member Posts: 133 Courageous
    Hi, from Fm. When I was a kid back in the 70's my parents had some geese and I loved them and they let me hold them and pick them up so I got to know geese really well so they don't scare me but they do like to "tweak with their beak" sometimes.  And I used to go rowing in my inflatable on the canals for miles at a time and I found that the geese there were very timid, I generally find it's all beak and scare tactics with geese, but it's swans that are much more aggressive, especially if they've got a nest. But I've even had wild swans come to me all friendly sometimes. When I was on the canals I used to take an aerosol klaxon to scare away aggressive swans. I would love to hold a goose again but wild ones won't let me as they live in a world of predators so they're naturally taught not to trust anyone. I find geese adorable but they do come out with some dreadful language sometimes and they have dreadful falling out do's. I also love chickens and they're usually really friendly with me too probably because my parents had some of those too and we used to breed them and we had lots of bonny little chicks and we had to get another shed as the breeding got a bit out of control! And we had one hen that used to let me stroke her when she was sitting on her eggs to have some chicks and no hen will ever let you do that, never! but she let me and only me, she wouldn't let anyone else near. I've only tried riding a horse once and it bolted and I had to hang on! And I had a cat when I was little that used to sleep on the end of my bed at night and I've been really friendly with cats ever since and sometimes when I'm really fiercely wound up they come to me and give me comfort, I met one a short while back that even jumped onto my shoulder. But what I really can't stand is those thug dogs like pit bulls that are just not fit to be kept as pets and are just mad bent on killing for sport as so many dogs are even though they're well fed from the supermarket and have no need to hunt as wild dogs have to. The only canines I have any real respect for is foxes even though they kill chickens but only because they have to to survive but pet dogs have no excuse. Fm.
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Hello Fundamentalist how are you today 

    I love chickens too!

    We used to have Bantam chickens when I was a little girl, mine was called Charlie and my sister Rebekah's was called Samantha!

    This clip may be of interest to you 

    Best wishes

  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    I have 6 chickens all named after drag queens!
    Senior online community officer
  • joannarashellejoannarashelle Member Posts: 135 Pioneering
    Teehee that made me giggle! 
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