Susan’s interest in the area of Autism was inspired by her own son, Tomás, being diagnosed with autism in 1998. She completed her PhD in the field of Fundamental Movement Skills and Autism in 2007. During this time Susan went on to setup the first autism unit attached to a mainstream school using an eclectic teaching approach in Co. Clare, Ireland. This unit is now referenced as an example of good educational practice. Susan has been actively involved in fundraising and developing awareness of and for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. She has completed marathons, half marathons and 10Km runs all over the world including one in the Antarctic. Susan’s son is also a keen runner and has joined her to complete several 10km runs and half marathons nationally and internationally.
Susan was the recipient of The President’s Award for innovative forms of Teaching (2014). She became a Fulbright Techimpact Scholar (2015) for developing mobile digital technology programmes addressing movement delay, for children and adults with autism in collaboration with Prof Kevin Oh, Prof Bill Bosl and collaborative teams at The University of San Francisco and with Karen Kaplan at the Wings Learning Center, Redwood City CA. These programmes are now the basis of the Get Autism Active Online Programme. Susan has been awarded as a Digital Champion (2016) and Social Entrepreneur Ireland Mentee (2017) for her further development of this work. She has presented at conferences both nationally and internationally and has published journals and books particularly in the area of Autism.
Before coming to University College Cork, Ireland in 2008, Susan was working as a registered general nurse, registered midwife, holistic and sports massage therapist and an occupational first aid instructor/Examiner. She completed a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science form 1996-2001 and returned to do her PhD in the area of autism and fundamental movement skill development with the support of an IRCSET scholarship from 2004-2007. On taking up the position Susan has completed the post graduate certificate in teaching and learning in Higher Education and a Diploma and Masters in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education.