Dr Susy Ridout

PhD, MEd, BA(Hons)

Associate Lecturer

School of Architecture

Susy Ridout


Oct 2019- Present

Associate Lecturer in Neurodiversity and Inclusion, Oxford Brookes University

In this position, I lecture on neurodiversity, education, work, and inclusion. I am also instrumental in training staff in relevant legislative mandates regarding inclusive practice and accommodations for students. An additional aspect of this role is the proactive support I offer to staff and students to provide a solution when students are struggling to engage with their course. This requires identifying the barriers to learning and devising meaningful strategies.

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

  • Management, Practice and Law (UG and PG)
  • Research Led Design
  • Dissertation
  • Management, Practice and Law (UG) 
  • Design Studio
  • Research Methods and Design.
  • Tutorials with students
  • Lectures to Management Practice and Law
  • Working with dissertation students.


My research interests focus on the intersections between neurodivergence, sexual violence and refugees.

Research group membership

  • Design, theory, practice group.

Research grants and awards

Ridout, S. for Sandwell Health Authority (1998).
Researched and raised 25K for an evidence-based anti-racism project for primary, secondary schools and youth clubs, which was recommended by the former Commission for Racial Equality to all schools and youth clubs in England and Wales.

Research projects

  • 14th International Social Sciences Conference, Mexico City, 2019. Presentation: “Neurodivergence and the Gaslighting of Rape: a call for an improved societal response.”
  • Autism Voice BAME Symposium, at LSBU, 2019. Presentation: Autism and Epilepsy.
  • Uni of Worcester 2019. Presentation: Neurodivergence and Sexual Violence: an insider perspective.
  • Intimate Lives, Autism, Gender and Sex/uality, Birmingham, 2018. Presentation: ‘Neurodivergence and the Gaslighting of Rape’.

Research impact

  • Ridout, S. (2020) Neurodivergence, Autism and Recovery from Sexual Violence: A practical resource for all those working to support victim-survivors. Shoreham by Sea: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd. (In press).
    This resource is based on personalised resources drawn together to promote my recovery journey following sexual violence and which is valuable to other survivors and practitioners working to support neurodivergent survivors.
  • Ridout, S. (2020) Autism and Mental Wellbeing in Higher Education: a practical resource for students, mentors and study skills support workers(2nd Edn). Hove: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd.
    Following over a decade in mentoring autistic and disabled students in Higher Education, this resource was pulled together to help new students and practitioners working to support them.
  • Ridout, S. (2019) Empowering and Inclusive Support from a Specialist Service. Birmingham Rape and Sexual Violence Project and Serious Media.
    This training film emphasizes the value of creative approaches to maximise knowledge when communicating with traumatised victim-survivors. It demonstrates my ability to inspire others to voice key issues around health disparities and to inform and improve Criminal Justice practice.
  • Ridout, S. for Sandwell Health Authority (1998).
    I researched and raised 25K for an evidence-based anti-racism project for primary, secondary schools and youth clubs, which was recommended by the former Commission for Racial Equality to all schools and youth clubs.

Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • European Mentoring and Coaching Council


  • 14th International Social Sciences Conference, Mexico City, 2019. Presentation: “Neurodivergence and the Gaslighting of Rape: a call for an improved societal response.”
  • Autism Voice BAME Symposium, at LSBU, 2019. Presentation: Autism and Epilepsy.
  • Uni of Worcester 2019. Presentation: Neurodivergence and Sexual Violence: an insider perspective.
  • Autism Show, 2018. Presentation: ‘Autism and Mentoring in Post Compulsory Education’
  • Learning Disability Today Training Workshop, Cardiff, 2018
  • Intimate Lives, Autism, Gender and Sex/uality, Birmingham, 2018. Presentation: ‘Neurodivergence and the Gaslighting of Rape’
  • Participatory Autism Research Conference (PARC), London, 2016. Presentation: ‘Silence’ as a means to contextualise autistic narratives
  • 2nd LCSS PhD Methodology Conference, London, 2014. Presentation: Mixed Methods in Social Sciences (PhD research methods presentation)
  • Autscape, East Anglia, 2014. Presentation: Autistic identity personal and collective.
  • Autscape, West Yorkshire, 2013. Presentation: The colour of in between.
  • ‘Communicating Mental Health, C.1700-2013’, Conference at University of Birmingham, 2013. Presentation: Representations of young autistic adults: use of combined methods to narrate experience and avoid the ‘imposed identities’ that can impact negatively on wellbeing.

Further details

2017- Present

Independent Researcher (Collaborations)

Independent research and training with the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC) where I worked collaboratively on aspects that impact on the lives of autistic individuals. I have played an active part in organising regular meetings and talks on themes such as sexuality, mentoring, terminology, school experiences, exploring what does/doesn’t work in the HE environment, and encouraging less experienced autistic researchers to engage with this Collective.

Autism and Epilepsy Global Summit (Autistica) Nov 2017

I was invited to take part in this collaboration due to personal and professional experiences. The event brought together a wide range of practitioners, researchers, family members and autistic individuals with epilepsy with the aim of tackling around 5 key areas. I played an active role in informing and progressing the development of new equipment to address SUDEP (Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy).

ESRC and CRAE (Centre into Research in Autism and Education) 2016 and 2017

As a collaborator, I was asked to run workshops to explore “Barriers and processes impacting wellbeing” using mixed expressive media. The methods tapped into different communication preferences and illustrated the importance of this when addressing wellbeing. The visual work produced gave some fantastic in-depth material to inform research in this area.

2017 – Present


In this role I have drawn together my mentoring work into a book of resources for students in Higher Education and those that support them. All aspects of the book (now in its second edition with additional chapters on BAME, Gender and Sexual Violence) were informed by activities that I did with the students I supported over the years and two were commissioned to do the illustrations and cover illustrations.

I also write about sexual violence, self-care, and in particular recovery pathways. This is written from insider expertise and I have applied my doctoral research methodology as a means to help me navigate and voice a horrific experience. I use this proficiency to help, support, and educate people from a variety of backgrounds, and I have a new book about to be published which is aimed at practitioners as there is often a lack of understanding that neurodivergent people have different support requirements for a range of reasons.

2017 – Present

Independent Mentor Supporting Autistic/Disabled Students (Nationally)

My work in this capacity has required me to support students to engage with their courses, understand tasks related to each module, and build strategies to manage high levels of anxiety and explore disclosure. Working to help students understand and voice their barriers to learning was a key part of this process. As some students are also in employment, I occasionally provide work-related support with employers providing the means for this to take place.


Mentor Supporting Autistic/Disabled Students, Birmingham City University

In this post, I provided both mentoring and academic skills support with the aim of guiding students through the numerous tasks and reading requirements for their courses whilst at the same time being able to benefit from the whole student experience. In addition to this, I have worked with many students to help them make sense of their disability and its impact on them and also understand the impact of their surroundings and other people’s attitudes on their ability to function to their best.

2009 – 2016

Independent EFL Teacher (Birmingham)

This role required me to assess individual learning needs and set appropriate learning targets. In addition, it was critical to teach and inspire international students to express themselves effectively so that they could achieve in their chosen academic course.            

2008 –2009

EFL Teacher (the University of Birmingham, English for International Students Unit)

Assessing individual learning needs and devising effective plans was central to this role, and through the use of varied materials, I developed creative learning opportunities to inspire and enable students studying at various levels.

2007 – 2008

Piaget Centro de Formación, Córdoba, Spain

Teacher trainer and English teacher (all ages and abilities)

I led classes for children in order for them to build on English skills learnt in school or better understand the language if difficulties presented. Classes were run using fun activities based on a book and supplemented with music, art, and craft activities. In addition to this, I led a programme of Teacher Training to train primary school teachers to teach children in English, build lesson plans effectively and build a tool kit of materials for classroom practice.

2003 – 2007

Self-employed English Teacher, Córdoba, Spain

I ran individual and group classes for children, young people, and adults. With children and young people, the classes were to supplement school-based learning and to identify barriers to learning, and break down difficulties into more manageable parts to build their confidence. With adults, classes were aimed at supporting working professionals and doing copywriting for businesses.


Córdoba Language Centre, Córdoba, Spain

English Language Teacher and Director of Studies. In this role I was responsible for appointing 15 teachers, co-ordinating their work, and allocating resources. In addition, I designed a Summer Camp attended by 25 children and young people from 5-16 and where their English was extended through a selection of art and nature activities. As a teacher, I covered absent teachers and also had my own classes.


Meyer School of English, Córdoba, Spain

English Language Teacher (Head of Young Learners’ Department)

I led the English programmes for 2-5-year-olds and introduced Parents’ Evenings where the children could showcase their work. I also designed a Summer School for 5-15-year-olds which also introduced English through a variety of extra-curricular activities such as art, games, and sports.

Jan - Sept 2003 

Birmingham Youth Service                  

Disability Support Worker.

Working in a predominantly Pakistani Mirpuri community, my primary role was to engage young disabled people with youth club activities and ensure their accessibility. Cultural beliefs and practices impacted heavily on these children and their families, so building a good rapport through some 1:1 work and small-scale projects was essential as a starting point.

March - Sept 2003

Birmingham Adult Education

ESOL tutor (pre-literacy and Entry 1)

Working with Pakistani Mirpuri women, several of whom were illiterate in their native language, I designed active classes where students worked on aspects that were critical for their everyday life. For example, I would introduce and work with First Aid Kits prior to exploring language around visiting a GP or hospital, or I would set up a market stall so that students could either buy or sell products and learn the language in a less threatening way.

2001 -1999

Supporting my family, Birmingham

I took some time out of work to support my family.


Focus Housing Group, Birmingham

In this capacity, I co-ordinated a Single Regeneration Budget project to support young homeless people, as such, I had to liaise with several stakeholders to meet distinct targets.

Activities established ranged from a parent and toddler group, adult learning in technology, English and maths, gardening projects, mosaic building, and many more.


Sandwell Health Authority, West Midlands

Senior Health Promotion Officer (Adoption cover) and Training and Support Officer (Maternity Cover)

Each of these posts lasted for a duration of six months and were in fairly deprived areas with poor demographic health.

As a Senior Health Promotion Officer, I jointly ran sex education sessions for detached youth workers with the Asian male project worker. With a colleague, I co-designed a university accredited course for Asian women who wanted to study Health Education and Health Promotion. In addition, I participated in advisory groups around the building of new services for the area such as an arts and entertainment venue and contributing to a White Paper. As a Training and Support Officer, I established a women’s health group, a group for young mothers, and a health day in which local health organisations, groups, charities, and individuals were invited to attend and exchange ideas and information. I also identified and acquired funding, appointed artists, and co-ordinated an anti-racism project recommended to all schools in England Wales and commended as a resource by the [former] Commission for Racial Equality.