Inspiring Women with Autism – Liane Holliday Wiley

HollidayWilleyLiane-2011Liane Holliday Wiley is an author and autism advocate who has written several popular books on autism, including Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome (1999), Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal (2001), Adolescents and Asperger Syndrome in the Adolescent Years: Living with the Ups and Downs and Things in Between (2003), and Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life (2011).

She also works as a consultant with Behavioral Resources and Institute for Neuropsychological Services, and is the senior editor of Autism Spectrum Quarterly magazine. She has a Doctorate of Education with a specialty in psycholinguistics and learning style differences.

Liane always knew she was different, though she was not officially diagnosed until 1999. She says,

“Asperger Syndrome was not a diagnosis when I was a child, yet my early medical records indicate I have always had the hallmarks of AS. My first visit with a psychiatrist at the age of 4 pointed out I had too much anxiety, too few social skills, obsessive-compulsive disorder, literal thinking comprehension problems, math dyslexia, confusing sensory integration, and hyperlexia. Rather than seeking invitations to birthday parties or slumber parties, I preferred to spend time with anything having to do with the Wild West, my animals, riding my bicycle everyday for 10 minutes on the dot, and swimming in circles.”

She credits her parents, doctors, teachers, and a few close childhood friends with giving her the support she needed to help her achieve all that she has. When speaking about her diagnosis, she says,

“In 1999, Dr. Tony Attwood formally diagnosed me with AS and my life has not been the same since then. It has been better! Finding there was a reason behind my differences was like finding a map to happy land.”

Liane keeps busy as a popular speaker, a regular contributor to Psychology Today and Autism Spectrum Quarterly, and taking care of her horses, who she uses to provide equine therapy to individuals with learning differences. She also created the Holiday Wiley Psychology Scholarship to students who study pervasive developmental disorders at Grand Valley State University, and maintains her blog at www.aspie.com.

She is also a strong advocate for helping women with autism spectrum disorders learn how to avoid dangerous and abusive situations. People with autism have difficulty reading other’s nonverbal communication, and have a hard time understanding concepts like sarcasm or innuendo. This can lead to misunderstandings, which can be dangerous for females, who may be unaware that they are sending signals that a potential mate may read as an invitation for physical intimacy. She makes regular appearances on Autism Women’s Network and Autism Empowerment Radio, along with her other speaking engagements.

She also advocates for neurodiversity, and celebrating the differences that give individuals with autism their unique strengths and abilities. She lives in Rockford, Michigan with her husband, three children, and horses.

Visit her blog at www.aspie.com.