Other People's Words

Transcript: AWN interview with Liane Holliday-Willey about the vulnerabilities of autistic females

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on February 3, 2010

This is a transcript of an interview with Liane Holliday-Willey at the Autism Women’s Network radio show about the vulnerabilities of autistic women.

Sharon daVanport: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AWN Radio. My name is Sharon daVanport; I am your host, and today is Friday, January 29. We have coming up in just a few moments our guest, Liane Holliday-Willey. I’m joined today by my co-host, Tricia Kenney. Hi, Tricia.

Tricia Kenney: Hi, everyone. Good to be here again.

Sharon daVanport: How are you doing today, Tricia?

Tricia Kenney: I’m doing pretty well, actually.

Sharon daVanport: It’s the end of the week. The weekend’s getting ready to begin.

Tricia Kenney: They all pretty much are the same day to me. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Are they all Groundhog Day to you?

Tricia Kenney: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter] They all run together—same day after day after day, huh?

Tricia Kenney: Pretty much.

Sharon daVanport: Is that a good thing or a bad thing, Tricia?

Tricia Kenney: It depends on what occurs that day, but really, they don’t need to be numbered or labelled or anything.

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: They’re all quite similar. Well, at least there’s no surprises for you, Tricia.

[Laughter]

Well, to start off today, we are going to bring Curtis on. Curtis is with b-Calm Sound. He actually is going to tell us about the product, because they are our sponsor for the radio show. I just think that their product is awesome and wonderful, and he’s gonna tell us why. Are you with us still, Curtis?

Curtis: Yep. Good morning.

Sharon daVanport: Good morning. How are you?

Curtis: I’m doing very well here in the frozen tundra of Iowa, but we’re looking forward to spring, nonetheless.

Sharon daVanport: Right. [Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: Are you guys getting that storm today that everybody else is getting?

Curtis: No. I think we missed that one. We had our fair share a couple weeks ago, so I guess the good Lord decided to give us a break for this week, which we’re happy to have. But we feel the pain of the folks that are in that right now.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, yeah. Sounds like it’s gonna be a good one.

Sharon daVanport: Well, Curtis, I wanted you to be able to tell our listeners who may not know about b-Calm Sound—or even those who do—exactly what the product is, the Audio Sedation.

Curtis: Yeah. I appreciate the chance. I think the forum you guys have here is really unique and special, so kudos to you guys for putting something together like what you’ve got with AWN.

Actually, b-Calm started with a dentist who was looking to help patients who had dental phobias or dental anxieties because of the noise from the dental drill. From that, we developed some noise control, some masking sounds that cover up the sound of the dental drill and replace it with something very positive and soothing.

[We] saw some good applications, but it actually happened along where a 9-year-old boy on the spectrum came in, had a really negative sensory overload experience from being in the dental environment. We put this headset on him with these sounds, and he just calmed right down and relaxed and they were able to do a full dental exam.

So we kind of stepped back and said: “Hm. Maybe there’s something here.” We developed b-Calm and Audio-Sedation. As our system sits right now, the full packkage is an audio player with some headphones that we’ve put together that work well with adults but very well with students, too. On the player is our special Audio-Sedation tracks.

They are noise control tracks that are specifically designed for folks on the spectrum or ADHD. On the surface, they sound like very calm, soothing things: wind in the trees, waves on a beach, that kind of deal. What is unapparent but built into those is the noise control that blocks out a lot of environmental sounds that would cause fear or distraction or frustration for people with sensory sensitivities on the spectrum.

We’re really excited; we’ve actually just completed one of our first evidence-based studies. It was done by a major university here in Iowa, and they just came back with some good results. It was a totally scientific, well-written by some of the Ph.Ds that are in the field [and] world-renowned for their studies. They said: “Yeah. We’ve studied students long-term. Your results look good; you’ve really got something here.” Now we’re working with that university to continue the work and do some development.

So it’s an exciting thing. It’s just as simple as listening to an iPod, but it’s got some good effects and it’s a really easy intervention for parents or teachers or adults on the spectrum.

Sharon daVanport: That’s really neat about the study.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah.

Sharon daVanport: I know. It’s so nice to be able to have something like that to back it up, isn’t it? Even though you know the product’s working, it’s always nice to be able to say that. People will wanna know.

Tricia Kenney: Right. It’s nice to be able to offer that.

Curtis: What we respect is that there are people with a good, healthy skepticism. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of guys pushing snake oil that have taken advantage of very desperate people. We did not wanna do anything that wasn’t bona fide. We’ve been working with teachers and parents and doing a lot of good things, but we need professionals here alongside of us. We’re developing that now. It’s coming along really good, and actually they’ve submitted that study for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. We hope to see that come out in a year or so.

We’re moving. It’s exciting. I get to work with parents and teachers; I love my job, and I get to see kids. I got to go visit a little girl who was playing basketball and just getting out with her friends and doing things. Her parents looked at me and said: “Before we could take care of the noise, she would’ve been closed off and stimming and all these terrible things.”

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Curtis: It’s not for everybody, but it sure does work for a lot of people and so we’re just happy to sponsor guys like you and hopefully contribute in a meaningful way to the cause.

Sharon daVanport: Tricia drew two names—people that have been in our chat room and joined us live over the past six weeks. Do you wanna tell who the winners are, and then Curtis can let them know what the prize is?

Tricia Kenney: I will be glad to. The first one goes to codeman38, and he happens to be in the chat room right now, so he gets to find out right away.

Sharon daVanport: Yay!

Tricia Kenney: And the second prize goes to NeuroAster. He’s from Twitter; a very, very nice guy. He’s always sending friendly messages around. So nice little prizes for them.

Sharon daVanport: What are they going to get, Curtis?

Curtis: They’re gonna get a four pack of MP3 files. These are the Audio-Sedation tracks that we developed. They’ll be compatible…you can put them on your smartphone or your iPod or play them on your computer, wherever you like. They can start having some of the nice noise control and anxiety relief benefits right away. I will say, for all your listeners, if they have questions or wanna know more about what we’re doing—we’ve got some non-profit stuff going on, too. I encourage emails and phone calls. You can reach me at curtis AT b-calmsound DOT com. Shoot me an e-mail or follow me on Twitter and we’ll look forward to working together, Sharon.

Sharon daVanport: All right. Thank you so much, Curtis.

Tricia Kenney: Thank you, Curtis. We really appreciate it.

Curtis: Any time, guys. You have a good show. Thank you.

Sharon daVanport: Bye.

Tricia Kenney: It’s like one of those times when you don’t say the appropriate response to somebody—he said: “You guys have a good show.” And I said: “You too!”

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: I didn’t hear you say that, Tricia. I’m over here busy typing.

Tricia Kenney: Codeman wants to know: How does he claim his prize?

Sharon daVanport: Codeman, you can e-mail either Tricia or myself, and then we’ll let you know how to get a hold of Curtis. Or Curtis’s e-mail’s right there in the chat room, really, if you wanna do it that way.

Tricia Kenney: He heard the names called, so he knows who you are when you write to them and just say: “It’s me, Codeman38, I won this week.”

Sharon daVanport: But we need to verify it. So you know what I’d like to do, in case there’s other people that say that they’re you, Codeman? What we’d prefer to do probably is if you’d just go ahead and contact either me or Tricia and give us that information and where you want that mailed. Then we’ll verify it for Curtis. That’s how we’ve really done it in the past.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah; yeah.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah. I just don’t want anybody out there claiming to be him and getting it mailed to them.

[Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: All the sudden, 30 people say: “I’m Codeman!”

Sharon daVanport: Right. Oh, boy. Well, I’m just really excited about having Liane on today, Tricia.

Tricia Kenney: Me, too. I’m really, really looking forward to it.

Sharon daVanport: Of course, I have to plug her; she’s on the Autism Women’s Network advisory board. We’re very lucky to have her there with us. She’s over at the AWN forum and chatting away and talking to people over there. She’s writing her new book. In her new book, she’s going to be addressing a lot of the things that we’ll be talking about today: some female-specific issues and concerns that a lot of us aren’t in a position to talk about.

Liane told me she gets asked sometimes—and I’ll let her talk about this later, I’m sure she’ll bring it up—but she gets asked sometimes: “Why you? Why do you write this stuff? Why are you addressing it?” A lot of us can’t do that. Maybe there’s some issues that I’m dealing with that I can’t publically talk about. Maybe there’s things that you can’t talk about, Tricia, but Liane might be in a position where she can. It’s okay; it’s safe for her to, and she’s in a position where if she speaks out for us, we’re gonna be the better for it. I’m just really excited.

Tricia Kenney: Right. Definitely. It’s nice, because there are people out there who are relating to the topics, and, like you said, they might not be able to voice it themselves, but they know that they’re not alone—that this happens to other people. We work through it and support each other, and that’s a big message to put out there.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. Well, I think we’re just gonna go ahead and bring Liane on now. Liane, are you still with us? We didn’t disconnect you, did we?

Liane Holliday-Willey: No, you didn’t. In fact, I sent Curtis an e-mail.

[Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: Were you claiming to be Codeman? [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Nah—what did you say, Liane?

Liane Holliday-Willey: I want more information on the product. I suffer from a lot of sensory integration dysfunction and I’m a professor, so minute someone says “peer-reviewed,” I get all geeky.

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: You get all geeky and excited, huh?

Liane Holliday-Willey: He tapped into my buzzword. What an awesome product; I’m definitely gonna look into it.

Sharon daVanport: It is a good product; I’ve heard so many great things about it, Liane. I really have. I should’ve told you last night. Liane and I were Skype-ing last night—we were chatting on Skype—so we were trying to get our geek on so that we could irritate our grown children to death on Skype. We were learning all the little icons dancing around. Liane, are we five or forty-five? What’s going on here, you know? But we had a good time, didn’t we, Liane?

Liane Holliday-Willey: Yes, we did. As long as you don’t [see me?] while I’m talking, it’s great.

Sharon daVanport: There you go. Well, let’s just jump right into everything, Liane. You’re writing a new book, aren’t you?

Liane Holliday-Willey: I am, and I really appreciate you guys allowing me the chance to speak out loud and say…I do not think I’m special or great or in a position to speak for others, but like you said, I do have a very safe environment I can come home to. I kept much of what is going to be in this book and we’ll touch on a lot about today.

This isn’t about selling my book; this is about sharing real vulnerable issues adults go through. I didn’t talk about it except in some of my conferences; but I never publically disclosed it until my father passed away. He raised me and was responsible for so much of what I did. While my mother knew a lot of what was going on, we knew my father couldn’t, because it would devastate him. In his memory, I now feel safe to share. He always wanted me to help others, because he was the kind of person with Asperger’s Syndrome who was beat up every day and ridiculed and abused himself, and he didn’t want to talk about that.

My dad was an abused youngster from his peer group himself, so when I talked about this when he was alive, it made him very upset and very uncomfortable. Now that he’s gone and my children are adults, I feel safe enough to talk about the things so many of us just can’t quite talk about yet. That’s why I’m doing this.

Sharon daVanport: When I speak with you, Liane, I like this phrase that you use. You use the phrase: “invisible differences.” What do you mean by “invisible differences”? Tell our listeners.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I think we can all relate to the fact that, in some ways, we’re invisible because people don’t want to spend much time around us sometimes. We appear odd; we appear to have a different gait or walk, or kind of pitch to our talk or tone. There’s something about us that renders us invisible to others in that they don’t want to perhaps engage us, because we send a signal that’s odd to them.

But what I also really mean is that our differences are sometimes so subtle, people don’t realize that we are different. So while they may get a hint of feeling we’re different, they don’t obviously see it. We don’t have a blind cane; we don’t have a wheelchair. We’re not in a brace. Because our differences tend to be neurophysiological, we have to go around with our freak flag—and I use that with affection: “I don’t think like you. I can’t figure out your joke. I’m sorry I don’t get your simile. Gee, I don’t know what you mean when you say ‘Let’s get together soon.’ I need to have a more specific date. I’m not trying to stalk you; I just don’t understand your terminology.”

The nonverbal learning part of this, I think is a huge challenge. When we put our hands over our ears in the face of a terrible noise, people think: “What are you doing? It’s just an airplane going overhead.” They have no idea what that’s doing to our physiological system. They see our acting a little odd, but they have no idea what’s going on internally. By default, it is invisible.

Sharon daVanport: You can embarrass your children to death, especially when they’re in junior high. Not long ago, I just embarrassed my daughter to death. I just felt so bad for her afterwards. But that exact thing happened, Liane. We were outside and this jet just came over—we were pretty close to the airport—and I just stopped dead in my tracks, and I put my hands over my ears and I was just shaking. She was just like: “Oh, my gosh, Mom!” and she was so embarrassed. She just ran to the car, and I felt so terrible. I didn’t even realize I reacted that way until I was right in the middle of it. But it was just painful. Painful.

Liane Holliday-Willey: It is painful, yeah. Then we can get Curtis’s [product] and just wear that around, like a little iPod.

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter] Then we’ll look cool, right?

Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s kinda what it’a about. Exactly. Following those trends, we don’t get. We have to memorize.

Tricia Kenney: Can I ask a question? How old were you when you got diagnosed?

Liane Holliday-Willey: I was 35 when Dr. Attwood officially diagnosed me. At four, my mother took me to the same psychiatrist my father was mandated to go to. His employer insisted my father get a regular psych eval, because my father worked for the aeronautic industry, and he had security issues. He had to have top security to do what he was doing. Because he was so odd, they had to make sure he was mentally stable. My mother took me to the same psychiatrist, and he said, early on: “I don’t know what your daughter has, but it’s the same thing your husband has. They’re smart enough, but they’re really not in step with the world.”

So my mom just thought I was eccentric like the engineeer father and accepted me as I was. But at 35, when my daughter was diagnosed, like many adults, the counselors around us started saying: “Hey, you, over there in the corner. Come on in. You need to be looked at, too.” It happened that way for me. And then, subsequently, my father.

Sharon daVanport: When we were talking about the invisible differences last night, I liked a couple of things you were bringing up about how it’s important that we discuss openly not just the obvious, but sometimes, the not-so-obvious invisible differences that we have amongst ourselves, like even with our platonic relationships. Our friendships, and things we do unintentionally. Can you tell us some of the things that you’ve experienced in that way?

Liane Holliday-Willey: Yeah. There are a lot of books and people talking about personal relationships and intimate relationships. But we forget sometimes that our friendships may be all we have, and strangers, our postmen, our grocery store people—the people we interact with every day—are going to pick up messages from us, too, and in the community we live in, messages about who we are spread. Rumors spread, gossip gets talked about, and pretty soon, in my case, at least, I was labelled “the professor’s kind of crazy wife.”

It became so bad in the town we used to live in, that we actually left and moved to Michigan from our old town, to get me away from that stigma. I didn’t realize until then what messages I was sending to people that were so odd. I was telling Sharon, quite recently I had to end a business relationship.

I own an equestrian facility, and I had to end the partnership because the customers couldn’t understand my humor or my lack of humor or my lack of affect or my too much giddiness under certain…they didn’t understand the Aspie response to life. Soon enough, they began to worry that perhaps I wasn’t treating their horses correctly, or I was embarrassing the name of the hunter team that we had.

I began to feel like the biggest freak show, because I had started this thinking: “Oh, awesome! Horse people! They’ll get me. They like horses; I like horses.” And then it dawned on me that no matter what we do, with disclosure and without disclosure, we’re still gonna be caught in the middle. So, to me, if we can have a friend or close associate explain with us: “Hey, when Liane says something to you about maybe your horse smelling, she’s not trying to be rude. She means: ‘Perhaps there’s a health issue here.’ How about you try to figure out what she’s saying instead of always assuming she’s being negative or unfeeling? There’s a reason behind her words. Ask her: ‘What did you mean by that?'”

I was so misinterpreted by being honest and staightforward, people thought I was just a bratty, bad person. It has crushed me to lose these 12 people who I thought were my friends. I’m 50 years old, and it never ends. I pray that people will send me ideas.

In fact, on your forums, Karen wrote the best answer to my question about: “Why do neurotypicals react this way when someone on the spectrum expresses too much honesty or too much excitement?” Please go on our site and look up her response. It was beautiful. I’m gonna ask if I can put it in my book. No one’s explained it that well, so I’m gonna try.

Sharon daVanport: Karen’s really good over there on that part of the forum. She ca really answer those questions well, can’t she?

Liane Holliday-Willey: Beautifully.

Sharon daVanport: It doesn’t get easy, does it, Liane? It never gets easier. Trish and I talk about this constantly. It’s so difficult to know that you don’t have bad intentions or ill will towards anyone or anything, but just the slightest tone in our voice might make someone misunderstand us.

Tricia Kenney: Or when you’ve been with somebody for a while—like in a relationship—and you feel like you’ve been very open and loving and affectionate, and yet, that person calls you “cold.” And you’re like: “What are you talking about? I’ve been extremely caring. Where are you getting ‘cold’ in that?” And it’s like: “Doesn’t anything affect you?” and it’s like “Well, of course things affect me.” It’s weird, because you just don’t realize.

Liane Holliday-Willey: No, you don’t. And what strikes me as ironic is that sometimes, even after disclosure, one of my friends kept saying to me: “Well, if you would just act this way, people wouldn’t misunderstand you.” I had to explain for two solid years how my brain worked. They’d been to a conference, they’d read my book, and I kept saying: “Do you not realize I have become as neurotypical as is possible for me? You keep asking me to change. How about I ask you all to change?” And then I get frustrated.

Sharon daVanport: How about they meet us in the middle?

Tricia Kenney: It shouldn’t have to be that. It really shouldn’t have to be like: “Hey, you bend to meet us this way and we’ll all be happy.” It’s more about: “You know what? This is just me, and that’s all I can tell you. That’s all I can offer you.”

Liane Holliday-Willey: It’s diversity, it’s acceptance, it’s differences. I always say we’re akin to the gay movement, because we’re afraid to come out of the closet, and when we do, we’re either met with open arms or shunned. I feel like there’s so many of us, with whatever our differences: race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever it is. I don’t understand anymore why this still happens. I thought 15 years ago, when Tony Attwood’s stuff came out: “Oh, shoot. This is all gonna end.” Nope. Nope, not even close.

Sharon daVanport: No, it’s not, is it? And I think it’s good and important, Liane, that you’re coming out and you’re discussing these things and talking about these issues that are hard to talk about. Sometimes people might think that you or Temple Grandin or anyone that’s out there in the public, maybe you guys don’t have these kinds of struggles and issues. But that’s just not the situation at all.

You’re talking about the things that you’ve been vulnerable to, and that’s some of the stuff we wanted to get around to today, is how females are so vulnerable to certain situations. I wanted to have you talk a little bit on your history of finding yourself in vulnerable situations. Was it moreso before you found out you were on the spectrum, or has it been both before and after?

Liane Holliday-Willey: I really wish I could say that finding out made the vulnerabilities go away. In some ways they did, because I was not surprised. Once I knew that I had this vulnerability, I wasn’t as surprised when I did become a victim. I hate to use that word; it makes me sound [unknown].

Sharon daVanport: Or victimized.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Right. But from the get-go, young girl…I can write about it; talking about it’s more difficult, so I can just go through the list. I’ve had two date rapes; I had a professor grope me. All the yucky stuff that you can think of for a young female has happened to me. After I was diagnosed, I began to analyze it and say: “Look what you just did, Liane. You walked right into the face of a shark. Now back up. How can we avoid this next time?”

So I’ve been able to put it in a safe, logical box today. But for 35 years, I felt like I was just shark bait, and that in some way, the same thing other victims will say: “What did I do to cause this? Why did I have to be part of this?” So finding out lets you demystify it, but I’m still just as vulnerable today. I think almost just as vulnerable.

That’s why I’m working so hard on this book, because I wanna try to really put down some concrete stuf for us to maybe carry in our pocket and take out and read before we walk into a situation that’s new.

Tricia Kenney: Right. It’s so important to bring these situations up to your children and prepare your children to be out in the world, and let them know what can happen and how to avoid these types of situations, if at all possible.

Liane Holliday-Willey: You know, I did that, and without going into detail, one of my daughters who had this information suffered a great abuse early on in her freshman year of college. It was very similar to something that had happened to me. It was heartwrenching. The week before, my daughter had seen my father, who she was extremely close to, fall to his death.

My daughter was prepared for all of these things, I thought, and guess what? She can’t sleep; she is a basketcase; she won’t speak to anybody about it. As much as I know, and I think we as adults—women, period, know—I cannot help her through this stage. The only person that could help her was my father, and he’s gone. Even though we know all this, there comes a point where, no matter how hard we try, we just have to be there for each other, and hold each other dear to our heart and say: “I’m here; you can crash on me. I’m here.”

Tricia Kenney: Right. That’s so sad. I’m sorry.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Thank you. And the sad thing is, I feel so depressing today, but I think we have to be prepared for the rock that’s gonna smash our toe. What are we gonna do after it smashes our toe? We’re gonna get up and we’re gonna keep on going. We’re gonna try harder next time.

Sharon daVanport: You know, Liane, I appreciate the way you say that. The vulnerableness that you know that you had before you knew about being on the spectrum is just as much there. The difference is now you can look at that situation and say: “Okay, even though I’m just as vulnerable, what can I do now because of that vulnerability?” Just being aware is very helpful. Do you have maybe one or two specific, concrete things that you can lay out today that you’ve realized you’ve done yourself that has worked?”

Liane Holliday-Willey: Yes. I’m a female, so we’re talking about female perspective. I travel alone, and I have realized that when men speak to you in a bar or in a close-quartered airplane…What I thought was joking, like: “What’s your phone number?” This sounds so silly. Don’t give your phone number. “What is your room number?” Don’t give your room number. I thought, because they were lonely and bored and just wanted to have quick conversation at dinner. Guess what, ladies—that’s not what they want.

I hate to say this. I don’t trust anyone I don’t know, to the point that others have weighed in. My best friend was one of my abusers. I had no idea this boy would do what he did. So now, it’s not enough that I know them. I have to say to my husband or my daughter or my mother: “What do you think about this person?” So I no longer trust my judgement. If I think there’s any way this person is bigger than me, stronger than me, or craftier than me, I won’t go there. Someone else has to let me know that this person is okay.

It’s almost like doing a background check. Which, if you think about it, before you can work in the schools, they run a background check. So is there anything wrong with us rinning a background check? We are as vulnerable in many ways as a young elementary school child. So I run background checks on people, or I just politely say: “Oh, I don’t give out that information,” and put on my earplugs and go to sleep. And I’m not even a hottie. I don’t know what they do to the hotties.

[Laughter]

So that’s one thing: a background check. Another thing I try to do is to simply act very confident and know where I’m going. I don’t take out my map or my GPS in public to share the notion that: “This lady’s lost! Come to her aid.” I never act like I need help. I will find another female, like a stewardess or a lady working at the information counter, or someone in the mall that works there. Someone that I think has already had a background check done on them, and I’ll ask them for help. No longer do I ask just anyone for assitance. That’s just two little things.

Tricia Kenney: Do you find that just as women in general were really overaccommodating to people?

Liane Holliday-Willey: Absolutely. For people to think that folks on the spectrum aren’t emotional, we are, but perhaps in a different way. I remember once, there was a little child crying hysterically in the mall. And I picked the child up and I said: “Let me help you find your parents.” My husband said: “You look like you’re kidnapping that child.” I didn’t even get that. “Put the child down; stand by the child. I’ll go get security. Don’t let anyone take the child, but don’t sit here and act like you’re the one kidnapping the kid.” And I was just trying to console the child. That’s what a woman’s gonna do.

Tricia Kenney: Right. We’re taught at such a young age to have such good manners and to do what other people ask of you. That’s the friendly thing to do. So when somebody asks you for your number…I used to get very guilty feeling. The thought would cross my mind: “Okay, give him a fake number.”

Sharon daVanport: I’ve done that before.

Tricia Kenney: And then I think about what an awful liar I am.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Exactly. We carry guilt. We’re not supposed to lie, but here we are lying. It’s a conundrum, and I don’t know that men go through it quite like we do. They have their own set of issues. No offense, guys, but the girls have been under-represented for a while.

Sharon daVanport: We have enough while we’re talking about these things, because even though everything that we’re discussing today, and all the things that you’ve just…There’s two specific things you laid out, Liane. Even the things that would benefit all females if they did, I think it’s really important to stress that because of the vulnerability and because of our näveté and willingness, those of us females whho are on the spectrum, maybe we will be willing to answer a question before we think it through. You know, that thoery of mind. We do tend to find ourselves in situations where the scales are tipped a little bit towards us possibly putting ourselves in harm’s way a little bit more so, I think. That’s the difference here, and why we need to really stress these important points.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I also wonder if sometimes…I want a friend so bad, I will do anything. I will give them money; I buy them things. I’m not doing a good job of connecting with them emotionally or on their plane, so I think: “Well, hey! If I take them out to donner…” Something embarrassing like that. So in my quest to find just a friend, I make myself look like the biggest freak that could be taken advantage of and that does get taken advantage of.

Sharon daVanport: Right. And they say we teach people how to treat us.

Liane Holliday-Willey: There you go.

Sharon daVanport: I believe that. I totally believe that that is true. There was a time in my life where I didn’t get that. I really didn’t, and I told Tricia this not long ago. I really didn’t understand. To me, that probably makes more sense now than I’ve ever believed it to.

Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s a good point, and we need to learn more how to advocate for ourselves’ safety, self-esteem, self-confidence. Even if it means we never are the cheerleader next door or whatever it is we aspire to be—the computer queen, whatever—that we are good in our own bodies and our own souls, wherever we are. I sound like Oprah now, but no one can take that power from us. We are good as we are. I’m trying so hard to work on that, and at 50, if I haven’t gotten it, I don’t have a lot of time left. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Now, come on. You don’t have one foot in the grave yet, Liane! [Laughter] Do you think that the kinds of things that we’re talking about—whether it’s violence or vulnerabilities in certain situations—do you think that it’s underreported in the AS population?

Liane Holliday-Willey: I was thinking about that, and I really do think it goes underreported. I was asking myself why. I try to be very analytical, which, as you know is one of our strengths. So I wonder if it’s underreported because a) If I had told people, for example, what my best friend had done, that would have alienated our entire circle of friends and left me with no friends. So I didn’t wanna tell on a friend and then have no friends. I didn’t understand the friendship dynamic.

I wonder if we don’t tell because we don’t know that what has happened to us was even out of the norm. How do we know, if we don’t have friends that compare and neurotypically tell us this is what’s acceptable and what’s not? Even if we’ve been told, you know how we are. We tend to be specific, so if we’re told: “If a boy does A, that’s bad,” maybe we don’t understand that if a boy or a girl does B, that’s bad, too. We haven’t heard that particular situation, so we may not understand it’s bad.

And then I think sometimes there’s just confusion: “I don’t wanna be blamed. I get blamed for everything. I’m always the bad guy. No, I must’ve done something.” I think our whole frame of mind is to not even know how to protect ourselves, so we get caught in this circle of: “I don’t know what to do, so I’ll just go into my selective mute mode and I’ll just spin, and all the problems will go away.” And they do—for a while.

Sharon daVanport: I believe that. Just spending time over at the AWN forum this past month since we went online, I’m beginning to see that so much more. I already felt like you did, Liane: I already felt that that existed, just from knowing and speaking to other females on the spectrum. But now having this forum whee you can go in and you see these things—people writing these things out and posting them and talking about different things—you see this is really happening. These are the kinds of things that maybe we don’t talk enough about, and [we’re all?] gonna look forward to your book.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I hope it’s something, because I don’t know how to end the cycle. I don’t know that we ever will. I don’t mean to be a naysayer, but at least if we can…With knowledge comes power. I guess that’s all I can say about that.

Tricia Kenney: That’s really true, and again, with any community that you feel really connected with, if you can start sharing those experiences and really just letting people know that: “Hey, this happens.” We can be there for each other, and really give advice, find places that you found help. Like you said, where your daughter is really having a hard time with the situation that she’s been through, what do you do? How do you reach people to let them know that it’s not gonna be worked out; you’re never gonna get past this if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t deal with it, if we don’t support each other in this? You’re gonna be dealing with this for the rest of your life, and it’s gonan mess things up for you.

Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s why I think the community is so important, and my book would be a tiny part of everything if we all share, and we all write, and we all talk, and we all get together. What I say may not strike something that changes you, but you may say something that my daughter goes: “Oh! I get it!” If we all keep tossing out lines, one of those lines is gonna catch us. We just need one. The more we share what we know, the more opportunities we have to have it make sense to someone. We’re all so literal, how I speak may not make sense to someone, but Tricia, what you just said may make my daughter go: “Oh, well, if it’s coming from this lady that I don’t know who cares about me. My mom who cares—I’m gonna listen to Tricia.”

Tricia Kenney: Yeah, that happens, right? [Laughter]

Liane Holliday-Willey: Right.

Sharon daVanport: It’s true, though, and I believe that when we set out specifics, that’s going to help us even more. I like the way you’re willing to be specific, Liane, and I think I need to get better at that, too. I tend to generalize, but I have to practice even before I’ll post something general. I like to toe the line; I’m not someone that’ll really put myself out there a lot. But I’m beginning to realize that’s probably why I don’t get back a lot, too, when it comes to needing specifics. I need those specifics, but I’m not telling anyone that I need those specifics.

Just in speaking to you, Liane, and Tricia’s constantly saying: “We do. We have to put ourselves out there more.” It’s just a reminder that we have to be willing to understand where our Achilles heel is and identify that, because it’s gonna be different for each one of us. But if we can identify that and then find that one thing that maybe makes sense to us, that we can apply to our situation, I think it’s going to do volumes.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Just that one voice that we can catch onto. I think you’re right. I think once you own what has happened to you, once you can look in the mirror and say: “This happened and I’m not gonna let it get me anymore,” then you can start healing.

It’s not just us. It happens to everyone. I’m in Michigan; no one has a job. There’s always something. I want to say that to our community, too: Everybody has something. It’s just how we choose to deal with it. I think our community’s getting stronger up to the point now where we’re gonna say: “We’re done. We’re going to enjoy life and you can try to do this and that all you want, and it may continue to happen. But you know what? I’ve got a friend online that I’m gonna be talking to in 20 minutes, and I’m gonna sit and have a Coke with ice, and that’s a happy day for me.” And that’s really what I’ve come to. I’m taking pleasure in the small things, and be glad I can do it.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Liane, I know you’ve got an outline of the different specific issues you want to make sure you address in your book. What are some of those going to be?

Liane Holliday-Willey: My dissertation was on self-esteem, so that’s a big one for me. That leads me to the entire emotional side of this: the good days, the bad days, the in-between days. Also, the physical side. We talk about the physiological: the leaky gut, and the ulcers, and the migraines, and the rashes and the hives. We tend to forget that this will happen to us. We will get a headache or throw up or be dizzy or something, because of our sensory system and our vestibular and all of that.

So I wanna talk about the vulnerabilities of the emotional side, the physical side, the real side in terms of jobs, neighbors, friends, intimate relationships. Probably won’t do a lot on that, because I’ve been married a long time and my information is kind of one-sided. When I do talk about that, my husband said it sounds like I’m interested in sadomasochistic things. I like to be touched really hard, and he’s like: “Don’t tell people that! That sounds creepy!”

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Because they really don’t know what you mean by that, right? [Laughter]

Liane Holliday-Willey: A little too much information sometimes.

Sharon daVanport: Really creepy, Liane. [Laughter] Oh, you’re funny. That’s pretty good.

Liane Holliday-Willey: But I really don’t know whent to shut up. I either talk too much or not enough. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Right. But I like that you say that you wanted to address the things, let’s say about the migraines. You and I have talked about this, Liane. Tricia knows. I have migraine issues. I spent probably 15 years of my life…This past 10 years have been awesome. I hardly ever get migraines anymore, but when I do, they’re really bad.

I did not realize until I became active in the autism community that so many females on the spectrum suffer with the exact kind of migraines that I have. I thought I was alone in this world. People used to look at me like: What is wrong with you?” Now it seems to be common in the community I’m in. I’m thinking: “Wow! I don’t feel so alone anymore! Just even the physical sensory issues that we deal with.”

Liane Holliday-Willey: Tony Attwood is my saint. I’m in love with that man.

Sharon daVanport: [joking] We won’t tell your husband.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, he knows. In fact, Tony once said: “Liane, I need you to get off the medication. Try to do this without medication.” And [my husband] Tom said: “Well, Tony, when you move in with us, she can get off the medication.

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: “Will you switch places with me, Tony?” [Laughter]

Liane Holliday-Willey: Who doesn’t adore him, right? But I said to him: “Tony, I like presenting and I’m a ham and that reminds me of teaching, but I get so sick afterwards. What is the deal?” And he said—maybe you all know this—but he said the adrenaline people like us use to come up to the point where we can work hard to figure out what people are saying and the appropriate response; we’re having to cognate how to fit in and converse and not offend. Because it doesn’t come naturally, we are expressing so much adrenaline in our physiological system that when it goes high and then drops, guess what the body does? It migraines or it throws up or…you will get payback.

Sharon daVanport: Mm-hm. I do that after talks. When I give talks, I just…Even though I feel comfortable to an extent doing it, because I appreciate being able to share with people things, at the same time, I pay a heavy price afterwards for that.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Absolutely.

Sharon daVanport: It’s just overwhelming afterwards. I crash.

Liane Holliday-Willey: And I think some of us get that just going to work, just having the in-laws over. If you’re on the spectrum, it happens to you just going to get your mail, maybe.

Tricia Kenney: Right. And so we came up with this brilliant idea to do a radio show.

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: But, you know, it’s better than TV. It was funny when BlogTalk sent us this note: “Oh, you guys can do it with your little camcorder or your webcam or whatever!” and I’m like: “I don’t think so.”

Tricia Kenney: I can’t take that kind of pressure, yeah. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Like Liane, I have to tell what you did last night; it was hilarious. We’re Skype-ing each other back and forth, and she tried calling me and I messed up. I couldn’t answer it right. Then I called her, and she answered. She’s like: “What did I do? I’m on video!” She’s freaking out, she’s covering it up and she’s like: I didn’t wanna be on the webcam!” She’s like: “We gotta do this over again!” We like that behind-the-scenes. We’ll put our voice out there, but it’s a little bit hard in person.

[Laughter]

Liane Holliday-Willey: Don’t you wish you could be the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz? I love him. “Don’t look at me. Let me do all the talking, and we’ll all be fine.”

Tricia Kenney: I think that plays a big part in the silence, too, about things that happen with us. The self-esteem plays a huge issue, simply because I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to prove that we’re capable. Especially if you’re in a family where you weren’t given a lot of those reinforcers, and you were always trying to prove yourself. When something like that happens—if there’s a rape or an assault or you get taken advantage of in some way—you don’t want to let other people know that you were flawed in that area, somehow. You know what I mean?

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I do, and in my case, I had total devotion from my father. There was no physical devotion or “I love you.” It was more of an intellectual, co-dependant relationship. I didn’t get the hugs or the kisses, but I didn’t need that, so that was fine for me. But in my case, I knew my father was always in my corner, even when he was disappointed. So I was lucky to have that, but I couldn’t bear to have him think that he had done something or not done something that allowed me to be flawed. I didn’t want him to be disappointed in himself.Whatever our background, you either love someone too much or whatever it came from, nobody wants to be caught with their britches down. It’s very had to admit to this stuff.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Liane Holliday-Willey: But I’ll tell you: The first time I started talking about the date rape, I had a blackout. I was there but I had to be taken off the stage. I don’t even know what happened. And I thought I was all cool, and I could talk about this. Every time I talk about it more, it gets a little easier. And that I hope people get—that it will get easier. Like I said, even though this happened to me again in a different way with my business, it crushed me, crushed me, crushed me. But you know what? Like the phoenix, I am coming out of the ashes, and enough is enough. I get stronger every time.

Tricia Kenney: Exactly.

Sharon daVanport: You know, I think that’s what it is. I get stronger, yeah. Even though it still crushes you, you take that crush a little bit better the next time. Does that make sense?

Tricia Kenney: Hopefully you’re not a multiple victim of assault, but as part of dealing with different life situations.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Getting fired, or getting an F on your paper. You didn’t get the letter from the friend you met at camp who you thought was your friend, and you go to the mailbox every day waiting for it, and it never coems. Those are bone-crushing moments, too. The minute you feel like a fool or a victim, it doesn’t have to be monumental. It still hurts the psyche. I just think that our generation and the kids behind us are the ones that have to stand up and say: “Unh-unh. No more. Done. Not gonna go there. Hurts like heck, but you know what? Watch us continue to go on.” Then we own it, and I am all about us taking back our power.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Hey—that’s another idea for your book! It’s funny; she’s tossing around all these different title names for her book, and she hasn’t quite decided. You’ve gotta write that one down.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Taking Back the Power, yeah. If you have any titles [unknown,] ’cause I’m running out of [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Gosh, I like the invisible differences, too; something about that. That makes so much sense to me. Probably when I advocate for my child who’s on the spectrum, so much of what I say and do with teachers has to do with that. “If he maybe presented this way or he looked a certain way, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.” When I bring that point up, it’s pretty obvious, and it’s true.

Liane Holliday-Willey: And it’s very hard for the kids and whatnot, because if they’re making Cs or above, they don’t usually qualify for special services. So to say: “Yeah, a C is a fine grade, but my child needs other kinds of services, and if they got other kinds of services, they might even make As. Not that that’s the main goal in life, but they could do better with self-esteem, etc., if they had different supports.” That’s gonna remain an issue for us for a long time, and it’s going to remain our issue as we choose a career and a spouse. So really, this self-advocacy is, in my mind, what the next decade is going to be about for us.

Sharon daVanport: I’m all about that. What about you, Tricia? Sounds good to me.

Tricia Kenney: You know that’s what I’m swimming in, lately.

Sharon daVanport: Everybody’s contacting Tricia about these advocacy issues.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I’m not real good at it, Tricia, but I’ll tell you: My father, who, if anyone knows me, they know that I adored that man more than anything in the world, and in quite a lot of counselling sessions over his passing. But he did say to me, from the time I can remember: “You really only have yourself. At the end of the day, you only have you. You have to be happy with you.” In those words, is such wisdom: “At the end of the day, if the world fails you, you have got to be prepared to be there for yourself.”

Sharon daVanport: Isn’t that true, though? It means so much more, too, the older I get. I really get that. I don’t mean to tell people who are listening who might be younger that I automatically assume that they’re not going to get that. But I know, personally, I didn’t so much as I do now, and I think the more experiences I go through, it just means so much more to know that at the end of the day, I’m okay and I’m good to go with what happened, because I can get through it. If I can just know that, myself, personally, it means a lot more now.

Liane Holliday-Willey: If we did get tons of support, that’s an awesome blessing. That’s icing on the cake. But even with that support, it’s still cool to know: “And I like me.” My mother likes me, my husband likes me, my daughters like me. I love having those relationships, but I also have to like me. Yes, we wanna be there and support each other. But at the end of the day, it’s you in your head, and you’ve got to like it in there.

Sharon daVanport: I can tell that you’re an inspirational speaker, Liane. I really can. I can see now why people have you come and speak to their groups and do motivational talks. How can people get a hold of you? We should be able to let you put that out there.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I just have a big mouth. I’m not…I just have years and years of dramatic art classes. Well, my website’s being redone. It’s kind of plain right now, but they can write me at aspienews AT yahoo DOT com. Or they can get a hold of me on AWN. I’m trying to write more there, but then I forget. I have the memory of a gnat.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right; we do have your e-mail up over there in the directory, too, because you’re on the Advisory Board. You’ve got a lot of posts throughout the forum, too, so people can get in touch with you over there.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I’m telling you, Sharon, that is going to be, for me and gazillions of others, the site to turn to. It’s the best. I wouldn’t have joined the board…Not that you need me, but I wouldn’t have been so excited about it if I hadn’t seen tons of sites. That site contains everything you need from everybody right there. I’m so impressed, and it happened so fast, my head is spinning.

Sharon daVanport: It’s taken off fast, isn’t it? Our heads are spinning, too. [And you know?] that Katharine Annear from Australia, who’s starting the e-mentoring. We’re getting ready to have an e-mentoring over in the forum, and it’s going to be awesome. We’re going to have an online mentoring that Katharine is going to be heading up, and we’re going to be having her on the radio show to talk a little bit about that in a few weeks. It’s just…wow.

Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s awesome. Just imagine: us helping us. How cool is that?

Tricia Kenney: Perfect.

Sharon daVanport: Right. There’s nothing like going to the source itself, right?

Liane Holliday-Willey: No. I mean, we love Tony and everybody, and that’s fantastic, too, but we’ll answer at 4:00 in the morning, ’cause we’re up.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. We’ve walked a mile in those shoes, haven’t we, Liane? [Laughter] For sure and for real. You know, I want you to take us out of the show, and we’re gonna be wrapping things up in a few minutes. But I wanted you to be able to talk about…I consider it your signature. You talk about appreciating differences, celebrating differences. I noticed even over at the forum that’s how you sign your name. You put down there that you’re celebrating differences. What do you mean by that?

Liane Holliday-Willey: Well, again, a quick story: When I was a young child, an African-American family moved in next to us. It was in the ’60s, and no one would befriend them, and my dad said: “Oh, B.S., get over here. Come on. Let’s have dinner. Let’s go out. Let’s take each other’s kids.” And I became very close friends with a family that had obvious color differences, but no other difference to me. And we were out at a restaurant, and they refused to serve these little girls. My father pretended he had a heart attack and knocked down all of these plates and dishes and tables, and we never returned.

I remember learning from him that everybody was an individual. He taught me to never look at anything but the heart of that person. So it goes bigger than just us. It’s all of us—whomever we are, wherever we’re from. If you watch kids on the internet, they don’t say: “What’s your diagnosis? What’s your color? What’s your gender?” [Instead they say:] “Hey—wanna play this game?” From the mouths of babes, we can learn that together we are so alike, and we have to remember that. At the end of the day, we’re all just made of the same bones and muscle and joints. I just think that when we celebrate, that we all learn so much about what’s out there and what can make us happy.

Sharon daVanport: I just like the way the word “celebrate” just brings such a positive spin to the word “difference.” Sometimes people might think a difference is not always positive, but it can be wonderful. Everyone’s different. Even people that think they’re alike.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Everyone’s different, and [unknown] of changing that. We’ve gotta make sure, if there’s nothing else people get, that it’s okay to walk a little differently. And I mean literally walk a little differently. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: I know. We do, don’t we? We have that little gait to our walk, or that little foot that turns in or something. I always get that one little foot of mine that’s always turning in, and I’m always going: “What is that?”

Liane Holliday-Willey: Tippy-toes.

Tricia Kenney: You have that too? I have that same thing.

Liane Holliday-Willey: [Autistics?] are tippy-toe walkers; you guys know that, don’t you?

Sharon daVanport: I know, I know. I was really good at ballet. That was the only thing I could do before I fell flat on my face and into my coach really well. My mother used to say: “But you fall so pretty now, honey. You fall so pretty!”

Liane Holliday-Willey: See? Celebrate!

Sharon daVanport: I’m clumsy; she put me in ballet. That’ll cure me, she thought. My goodness.

Liane Holliday-Willey: “You fall pretty.” That’s actually a nice title for a book, too.

Sharon daVanport: “You fall so pretty now, darlin'”—that’s what she’d say to me.

Tricia Kenney: It’s so funny that my son has noticed my grace. I was [moving?] his room to go to the kitchen, and I was like: “Well, I’ll go get you some juice.” And he says: “Okay. Be careful.”

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: “Mommy’s gonna run into the wall again!” The clumsiness: oh, my goodness.

Liane Holliday-Willey: See, that’s a chapter for the book. Thanks, girls!

[Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: There you go, yeah. One on clumsiness. You gotta do one on that, Liane, for sure. I mean, that is so typical.

Liane Holliday-Willey: I’m gonna have [unknown] surgery in a month, and I know.

Sharon daVanport: Liane, this has been awesome. I know that you’ve got an appointment you’ve gotta get to. I know I’ve got one to get to. So is there anything that we forgot, you guys, that we definitely wanted to mention?

Tricia Kenney: In regards to AWN, we wanted to invite people to come in, who are advocates from around the country to just be a part of our network, so that we do have places and people to direct people who are seeking help and support in their communities. Anybody like that out there, that wants to be a part of AWN, please come to the website and get in touch with Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone. She’s the director of advocacy, so definitely, we wanna make sure that our database that Savannah has going is updated. I know that, Tricia, you’re getting flooded with a lot of people just contacting you, and you’re directing them all to Savannah. So we’re wanting to make for sure that we’ve got everything covered here.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Thanks for having me.

Sharon daVanport: Well, thank you for joining us, Liane. I really appreciate it. I know that this is gonna be such a helpful conversation for us to keep going. You’ll have to come back. Every couple chapters that you get done in the book, you wanna come back, and we’ll discuss it. We’ll just keep this as an ongoing conversation. How about that?

Liane Holliday-Willey: That sounds fantastic.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Listen, you have a great afternoon. I know you’ve got something you’ve gotta get over to. I’ll send you hugs through the airwaves, since I know what you’re off to.

Liane Holliday-Willey: Thank you very much.

Tricia Kenney: Thank you, Liane. It was a real pleasure.

Sharon daVanport: Goodbye. [Liane hangs up.] Well, that was really nice. I know that we’re going to be able to say for sure that we want everybody to be directed over to Liane. We want everyone to know, again, that she is over at the AWN, and she has requested that people stop by and let her know different ideas that you have, yourself, personally; if you’re a parent. She’s even asking the males to chime in and let her know some different ideas, too, for the book. She’s wanting to really make for sure she considers many points of view when she addresses these really difficult subjects. Anything else you wanna add, Tricia?

Tricia Kenney: I think that’s about it. We do have another show coming up when?

Sharon daVanport: Tomorrow. We had to move it up, actually. It’s going to be with Anny Jacoby. She’s a safety trainer, and she is just awesome. She’s actually pretty popular over at Blogtalk Radio. She does a lot of the shows for women and violence, and she’s going to close out the month for us. A lot of people may not know this, but January is the month where they observe stalking. She’s going to talk a lot about that—what the dangers are, discuss what her program is about on safety training, because she believes that it’s all to do with strategy. You get your best strategies from thinking mentally and being ahead of the game.

Tricia Kenney: That’s [a lot of?] what we were talking about today, so it’s a really good follow-up show to have.

Sharon daVanport: It’s going to be at 1:00 PM Central, so I believe that would be 2:00 PM Eastern. That would make it noon Mountain Time, and 11:00 AM Pacific. If you guys just come over tomorrow and hang out with us, we’ll have a great show with Anny, and she’ll have a lot of great resources to pass on to everyone as well.

So I think that does it for me, too. All right. Talk to you later, Tricia. Thanks for joining us, everyone, and congratulations to Codeman and NeuroAster. Everyone who was in the chat room today, your name was taken down and you will be eligible for our drawing for next month. We’ll talk to you later. Bye-bye.

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2 Responses

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  1. codeman38 said, on February 3, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Heh, I wish they did do it with a webcam, actually– then I could read lips at least! Or at least a better microphone that has a higher frequency range… I had a really hard time understanding half of what Liane said in this interview because even the vowels were muffled.

  2. Patricia Elaine Chandler said, on July 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Can I be interviewed next, Live and on Camera? We Must be Seen because too many of Us can relate too closely to thsi Story! I live n NYC and my name is known because so many People have used, abused, hurt, and molested me. I am a Miracle, woalk and talking, when I was aborted, but lived and was born premature, placed in an incubator, then “fed” human growth hormones, from birth until age 11. Then, the rest is a tragic history of sexual molestions, incest, forced abortions by an ex-husband, bullying and rape in grade school through sexual harassment at work, in corporate america for 23 years, and Still, today, I am Struggling, after now attending my 7th College, 4th major, I am unemployed 30 months, I have the Intellectual intelligence of a Genius because my IQ tested at beteeen 139-169 and yet, I was Non-Verbal from birth to Age 7 and Bottom Line, Just because I Dont LOOK Autistic, doesn’t mean I’m not because When you Are Born Autistic, Like ME, You will Always Be Autistic. My mere existence defies Logic, because I have cheated Death, 3 times, since I was born, and I am Still Struggling Today. Why? I deserve to Live, Too! At Leaset God wanted me here and Loves me Still. I just don’t know why no one Else can or wants to Love Me, too!!!! Thank God I Love ME! Or I would probabblt be Dead, too! I have started My Own Autism Awareness because it is Time! On facebook, “National Autism Foundation’, so that I an Help Myself, Gorw Up, Finally, so that I can others too, like Me, so that No Child Ever Has To Grow Up, Like I AM! Thank You! PLEASE, Interview Me. I Am Ready!


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