Other People's Words

Interview with Liane Holliday-Willey and Rudy Simone about *Exhaling Beauty* exhibit for autistic women

Posted in Uncategorized by Tera on August 7, 2010

This is a transcript of Autism Women’s Network’s interview with Liane Holliday-Willey and Rudy Simone about their event Exhaling Beauty.

Warning: Non-graphic descriptions of rape and bullying, including cyberbullying.


Sharon daVanport: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to AWN Radio. This is the Autism Women’s Network on Blogtalk. I am your host, Sharon daVanport, and we are broadcasting live from the Midwest, here in the United States. Today is Thursday, July 29, 2010. Joining me today is co-host Tricia Kenney. Good morning, Trish.

Tricia Kenney: Hi, Sharon, and welcome back.

Sharon daVanport: Thank you. [Laughter]

Tricia Kenney: Sharon just got back from Washington DC. She as at the White House for the ADA 20th celebration. That was a very exciting thing. How’d it all go, Sharon?

Sharon daVanport: It was really nice, Trish. Thanks for asking. There was a huge crowd there. It was wonderful that…I was just really happy that the AWN was invited to the event, along with hundreds of other organizations and people. It was wonderful to be a part of it. I personally have to say, I’ve really been looking at and trying to understand that ADA a lot more over this past year.

But I’ll tell you, I had the privilege of sitting next to someone who was actually one of the original writers of the ADA. He sat next to me and a friend of mine, and I’ll tell you, it was just a wonderful experience to see the emotion on his face and to see him say: “Wow.” 20 years later, he was looking around the crowd and he was totally moved by knowing that the ADA ended up meaning so much to so many people. He remembers a time when there wasn’t the ADA.

I know things ended up being so controversial. A lot of people were like: “Well, there’s a lot of work still to do for people’s rights with disabilities.” But I’ll tell you, the people there, there were 700 people there celebrating at the White House. It means a lot to a lot of people. It really does.

Tricia Kenney: Well, we are very proud that you were there representing us, and it’s just a really momentous thing for the AWN as well as the ADA, and people with disabilities across the country.

Sharon daVanport: I was humbled to be a part of it, Tricia. I’ll tell you, I was really moved. It really reminded me just what little part we each play and how important it is for everything. Just to look around and see all the people there, and how much it really meant to them, it meant a lot to me, to be able to see that.

I’m kind of excited about the show today. We’ve got—now, I’m going to say this right. She’s going to give me a hard time when I bring her on—Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey [laughter]. I’m going to say “Doctor,” because I felt so bad when I put up this stuff, I forgot. She worked hard to get her Ph.D and I am supposed to make sure I acknowledge that.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: The only time I use that is when anyone even cares the tiniest bit. Otherwise, no one cares at all.


Sharon daVanport: Well, Liane, that’s okay. You worked really hard to get that Ph.D, right?


Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I put in a lot of time. Let’s put it that way.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right, so it is a wonderful achievement. We’re not going to leave it out today. I promised you we wouldn’t do that. [Laughter] Then we have Rudy Simone with us as well—author Rudy Simone. She’s going to tell us a little bit about her new book that just came out. Welcome, Rudy.

Rudy Simone: Good morning.

Sharon daVanport: Good morning.

Rudy Simone: No letters after my name, unfortunately.

Tricia Kenney: [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: You have a great voice; that’s even better.


Sharon daVanport: I can barely hear you, Rudy. Can you guys hear Rudy?

Tricia Kenney: I can hear her. I don’t if there’s a way to turn up your phone or—?

Sharon daVanport: I’ll try to do that.

Rudy Simone: I’m not at home; I’m on vacation. I’m at a ranch—of all things, a yak ranch.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, geez.

Rudy Simone: [And this is all I?] have, so I will try [unknown] Is this better?

Sharon daVanport: I do. Yes, I can hear you better. It’s probably just me, a sensory kind of thing today, Rudy. I’ve had a long week. [Laughter] You’re probably doing fine.

Rudy Simone: I am here and I’m not used to projecting at 6:00 AM, but I’ll do my best.


Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Thanks, Rudy.

Sharon daVanport: Well, you guys are here with a very special show today. Not only are we going to be talking about this awesome event you guys have coming up— the Exhaling Beauty evening celebrating females on the autism spectrum—but we are going to be giving away another GPS locator from LifePROTEKT at the end of the show. We have another winner, and they get actually a year’s worth of service as well. It’s really important to some of these families who have children who are wanderers and can get away. It’s been an exciting thing to be able to do.

But I want to jump right into this event. Rudy, I’d like to start with you, actually, because before we get into talking about the Exhaling Beauty event that’s coming up on September 18, I wanted you to tell us a little bit about your new book that just came out.

Rudy Simone: I’m not even sure which book you’re referring to.

Sharon daVanport: Aspergirls. Is that how you pronounce it? Right, the Aspergirls. [Laughter]

Rudy Simone: [unknown] my other ones first, very briefly. I do have Asperger’s on the Job which just came out for Future Horizons’s new crop of books. That’s available everywhere, and that’s my publisher’s top-seller for their new crop of books for spring 2010.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Wonderful.

Rudy Simone: I just [did?] a couple of conferences on that topic, and I’ll be doing conferences on that topic throughout this year and the next couple of years.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, nice.

Rudy Simone: The other book is Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome, with a forward by Liane.

Sharon daVanport: Yay!

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Right.

Rudy Simone: About that book, the response has been great. It’s starting to be translated into other languages.

Sharon daVanport: I saw that on Facebook. People are making comments. They’re so excited that it’s getting translated into their language.

Rudy Simone: Yeah. Well, it’s in Dutch for now, and then I believe French is coming up, and after that? Who knows?

Tricia Kenney: [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Wow.

Rudy Simone: So, it’s great.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Sharon daVanport: Wow. Now, Liane, you know something about your book being translated into many languages, don’t you? [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: You know, I think that’s what’s really cool about our publisher, Jessica Kingsley. She works hard to get it worldwide, and it is neat to receive letters from people around the world that relate to the things that we’re going through, just like we do, but in a different language. It makes our community look very tiny, but at the same time, extremely large.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. How is your new book coming along? I know you’ve been doing a lot of research over the last few months. How is that coming along?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, the hard stuff is done. I’d decided to write a book about female safety issues once my father had passed on and I could be a little bit more open about the things that had happened to me and some of our friends. The hard stuff is done, and now it’s just writing the appendix and then I’ll send it off.

Sharon daVanport: Wow. I’m so excited about that.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Thanks. I couldn’t do it without you guys. The stories are from all of us that just a loudmouth picked up and put into print. It’s everybody’s tale, just written from somebody who has a little spare time on their hands.


Sharon daVanport: Such an important topic, though, Liane. Trish and I were just talking about this the other day, weren’t we, Tricia, that we’ve just got to get this circulated more. This topic that you’re hitting on, so important.

Tricia Kenney: Do you know if there’s any statistics out there regarding autistic women and issues like rape or abuse or anything like that?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I know there are many of us that speak on it and it’s in some of the girl books. Rudy certainly talks a bit about it, and Shana Nichols does in her book. We all talk about it in chat rooms and we all talk about it to one another. But as you know, Sharon, when you put your name on something and it goes public, you can get a lot of odd comments. I think this’ll be a supportive book. I think people will be very…I hope that they understand it’s for all of us to come together. Not to make diversity or controversy.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. Oh, and I think within the autism community, I can see it just being so important. There’s not really controlled studies. And I know you and Rudy might be able to speak to this better, because of the audience that you have and being published authors. When it comes to really getting out there and advocating for females—this is what’s so nice about knowing that you guys have this event coming up in September—is it frustrating to have been in the autism community? This question goes to both of you, and I guess, Liane, if you can answer first and then we’ll go to Rudy. What is it like to be in the autism community for so long and be a voice, but still see that there are supports lacking for females and still trying to really pound the pavement and get that readiness and inspiration instilled within people? What’s that like?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: When I first started, I did this mostly in honor of my father. He was an early Aspie; he died at 85. He was beat up every day; he was bullied; he had the whole gamut of bad experiences. I couldn’t stand looking at this man that I adored and thinking that he had gone through any of this. So you’re going to put your suit of armor on, and you’re going to be the one that protects your daddy.

And then I saw my daughter, when she was diagnosed, growing up and she was facing some of the same battles—only she was the one that would protect people like my father. And I thought: “Okay, hold on. I’ve got a big mouth. I have a support system. I’m a writer. And now I’m humbled to think that people have given me the opportunity to be their voice.” But I have to say, again, it is with an army of people behind me that this little gesture I try to make happen…It’s extremely frustrating doing this for females, I think, because the money and the effort out in the big world is still toward males.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: They’re the ones [unknown] represent the most, obviously. I think it’s going to take really another army of females to say: “You guys? We’re here.” Just like a heart attack, cancer, anything. “We’re here. You’re just not looking at us right.” It’s frustrating, but we’ll do it.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. How do you do that, Rudy? How has it affected you, being on the spectrum as well?

Rudy Simone: Gosh, I can’t even remember the original question. [Laughter] [Unknown]

Sharon daVanport: Right, right. And just the frustration level.

Rudy Simone: The realization that I was on the spectrum has only happened in the last—God, it’s only been three years. And as you know, it’s not a sudden, big, clear picture. It’s like a string that you follow, and you just keep following it and following it, and you go where it leads you. And before you know it, you’ve written three books and you’ve got this plethora of knowledge on the subject.

But still, like Liane says, we’re still relatively…I don’t want to say “powerless,” but we’re relatively pushed to the side still. So much is unknown. And it is very exciting to be on the cusp of this wave of awareness, and that’s what me and Liane are, just because we’ve got that vehicle of writing.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Rudy Simone: We just wanted to bring everybody together and talk about our experiences. And, yeah, it is absolutely incredible. The safety issues…It’s kind of like I wasn’t even aware that that was such an issue for us until Liane mentioned her book, and I looked back at my own life and some of the chapters in my book. I thought: “My God! It really is so, so very important.”

Especially in the music industry—I just want to mention that briefly—which I was in my whole life. For an autistic woman to be in the music industry, with our cognitive issues, let’s say, it’s very easy for us to be taken advantage of.

Tricia Kenney: Hmm.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Rudy Simone: That’s something that I’m [conquering?] [unknown] now, when I’m doing my [unknown.]

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Tricia Kenney: And even in this day and age—I see a lot of things out there by autistic women because I’m wrapped up in it—but there are still so many places. I just talked to a woman last night who said that her daughter, even though she’s got everything across the gamut, because she’s verbal, the doctor who saw her said: “She’s not autistic.”


Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Right, right. I’m not even going to get into the DSM changes, but that is still one of our biggest problems. We present so gently many times, or as something completely different. We’re easily dismissed. Tony Attwood has been great, of course, about bringing this to the forefront, and Dennis Debbaudt is there to help us. Oh my gosh, for safety, you have to turn to him. Those are the issues that we just have to keep talking about. But, you guys, how do you do that when some of the issues are so painful, and bring up so many nightmares? Who can we trust to bring them up?

Sharon daVanport: I know. That’s a good point, Liane. I was talking to Lindsey Nebeker (she’s our AWN Washington DC liaison), and I stayed with them when I was in DC over the past few days. We were talking about that very topic—about who do we trust with this very delicate information? The times when our vulnerabilities just ended up encompassing our lives? It’s not always something you want to share with people right away. Then if you do, can you trust the people you’re sharing this information with to handle it with care and not to turn it against you?

Tricia Kenney: [It makes you feel?] very vulnerable.

Sharon daVanport: I know; it’s just very difficult. Right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: It’s about rape victims. I’m talking about—and I think we’re all talking about—safety beyond the obvious. Just safety in friendships; safety in your job. All sorts of issues. But they can’t go talk. People don’t want to admit not just vulnerabilities, but embarrassing mistakes.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And then because we can’t read people, we go to a counselor and we think everything’s fine. And suddenly, there’s a note in our employment records that says we’re not worthy of being hired. How did that get there? It’s this ball of wax that I think we’re just tiny, beginning to unravel.

Sharon daVanport: Um-hm. [unknown]

Rudy Simone: I guess you’re talking about disclosure. I feel empowered; I feel like I’m this person people look up to or whatever, and I’m very out of the closet with my AS. But then in my day-to-day life, I feel like I constantly, constantly, constantly have to educate people. It’s so difficult, especially when you’re always battling against that appearance that you don’t have Asperger’s.

Sharon daVanport: Right. An invisible disability kind of thing going on.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: If you haven’t mastered the social skills, then you’re ostracized. And when you have learned how to I call it “play the game,” then you’re not believed. [Laughter] Well, how can [you win?]

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter] I know! I know. It’s like you can’t win for losing.

Tricia Kenney: I know. Instead of it being an achievement, it actually disables you in a lot of ways.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Right. Exactly.

Sharon daVanport: Well, it’s sometimes harder to have that invisible disability, because like you said, Liane, people end up saying: “Well, you’re not autistic.” And you’re thinking: “Are you kidding me? Do you not know how many times I sit there and nod my head in agreement, nodding and smiling? I have no idea what you’re talking about. It’s going—woo!—right over me, and I’m spending the next two hours after our conversation, trying to figure out what was just said.” [Laughter] Okay.

There’s just so many little things that happen, that go on in our day-to-day lives. It’s just so important for us to be able to express that, and be able to know who we can trust. Yes, disclosure, Rudy. What you said—the word disclosure. That’s huge. [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I have a funny story. You guys were talking about the ADA, and [unknown] so normal and together. Very quickly: I was at an airport and they called my name up to tell me that I was being bumped to another flight. And I’d had a long weekend, and you know how you can regress very quickly if you’re under stress.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And all I could say—and I said it loud enough to get a lawyer who was in the group, I don’t even know who he was, a passenger, come over to me. I was saying very loudly: “ADA! ADA! ADA!” That’s all I could say.

Sharon daVanport: Aww.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I had to get on this plane. Just those three letters. The end of the tale: the stewardess, counterperson said to me: “Lady, I don’t know what you got, but get on that plane!” And then I was like: “Now? Now? Now? Plane gimmie now? Literally now?” All [unknown] throughout the front, and the attorney just took my arm, and he said: “Come with me. Let’s get [you sedated?(!)]

Sharon daVanport: Aww.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Today, I’d probably be harassed. But that day, I flew.

Sharon daVanport: “ADA! ADA!” Oh, gosh. I would’ve loved to have had a video camera and got that. That would’ve been awesome.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: [Unknown]

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter] But it’s really true, though, isn’t it, Liane. It is. When we’re in situations and then we do, like you said, used the word “regress.” That’s really true. We can, and then people even look at us strangely at that point and are like: “What’s going on with you?” Ugh.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: By “regress,” we don’t mean “bad.” We just mean “lose some of our ability to stay in the process.”

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. Exactly. Very good clarification there. Right. Well, tell us about this wonderful event coming up, ladies. I know that Dr. Shana Nichols, she had planned on joining us today as well, but she ended up having an assessment at her clinic with someone. So she’s taking care of that, and if she can call in later, she will. But can you guys tell us about that? Rudy, it’s going to be there in San Francisco, where you actually live. So can you start off by letting us know a little bit about Exhaling Beauty?

Rudy Simone: Sure. It’s [unknown] at the Hotel Monaco on September 18 between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Liane and I were just talking. We’ve never met in person, but when we first met over the Internet, [we were talking] about having a female event. It just sort of evolved. She’s very good at making things happen, and it just sort of evolved into this event with the name Exhaling Beauty, and having us speak on various issues affecting females on the spectrum. But it’s not going to be a dry, conference-type thing. It’s going to be a more informal, casual and fun evening with music and art and wine and that kind of thing.

Tricia Kenney: And those are the types of things that we need to have happen more often. Very often, the conferences and events that are going on are strictly for parents and people with little children that are autistic. We don’t ever see strictly female autism events. I think that that’s one of those things that needs to happen in order for that awareness to grow.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And it’s also for us. How many times do we get to go out by ourselves, feel comfortable? None of us socialize much or very well, and at this event, it’s not a huge show-and-tell. It’s just: “Hi! How are you? Me, too.” I think it’s like a Mary Kay party.

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: With [unknown] that have stories to tell. Rudy, you’re doing the younger age; I’m the oldest, so I get to do middle-age. What are you doing, Rudy?

Rudy Simone: I’m doing the middle years.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s right. Shana’s doing the young ones, and then Rudy the middle, and then I get the old ladies. [Laughter] So it’ll be really cool.

Sharon daVanport: Now, Shana’s going to be presenting the Confidence and Self-esteem from the diagnosis in young girls, right, through adolescence. [Welcome to your future girls! Building confidence and self-esteem from a diagnosis in girlhood through adolescence] And then, like you said, you’ll be doing the Journey of Challenges, I think it says on the website, self-acceptance, forgiveness and healing. [* Life Shared with ASD: A Journey of Challenges, Self-Acceptance, Forgiveness & Healing] Ooh, that sounds good, Liane. And then Rudy, it says here that you’ll be doing how to navigate the challenges of adult and have the fulfilling, inspired life you were meant to live. [Loving the Aspergirl life: How to navigate the challenges of adulthood and have the fulfilling, inspired life you were meant to live*] That just sounds so nice. It really does.

Tricia Kenney: I know.

Sharon daVanport: It sounds wonderful.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: We all deserve it. [We are?] women, hear us roar. We’re not going to burn bras, though. Let’s not get that carried away.


Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay. [Laughter] We’re not going to do the whole thing, there. Now, tickets are $45-55? There’s a $10 range there? Is that correct? Am I reading it right?

Rudy Simone: $55. If you buy two, it’s $50. If you buy three or more, it’s $45.

Tricia Kenney: Oh.

Sharon daVanport: Okay.

Rudy Simone: We tried to keep it as accessible as possible. Obviously, we’ve got to rent the hotel and buy the [tickets?] to fly Liane and Shana out there, etc., etc. So it can’t be free for your listeners [who like things?] cheaper. That’s the best we could do. But we wanted to make it accessible as much as possible [unknown].

Sharon daVanport: Okay. And Liane, tell us about the theme of the evening, and the painting and who it was taken from.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, gosh. I’m horrible with names. It’s Kim Miller’s daughter. What’s her first name?

Tricia Kenney: Kim Miller is the daughter.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, Kim Miller is the daughter! [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: It’s Eileen Miller who’s the mom.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Kim is a beautiful artist who wrote…tell me the title?

Sharon daVanport: Exhaling Beauty? Is it the painting, Exhaling Beauty?

Tricia Kenney: The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: There you go: The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures.

Sharon daVanport: Oh! The Girl Who Spoke With Pictures! Okay.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: It’s not 6:00 here, but I have vampire hours and don’t [unknown].

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter] Me, too, Liane. We’re all struggling this morning. [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Right. Like, everybody’s [unknown] like…Well, she’s a beautiful artist, and I love the concept of someone who can take this ability to communicate with just pictures. We say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and this young lady proves this to be true. Kim is a gorgeous artist, and they’re going to be there with us exhibiting some of her work. That in itself, to me, is a conference: just seeing her artwork.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And we were so captured by the essence of that and the spirit of that, and I think it’s a symbol that we can all put our hope behind.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Rudy Simone: She’s just incredible. She’s incredibly prolific and expressive, and I’m just so excited to meet her and see some more of her work.

Sharon daVanport: Right. She is going to have an exhibit of her artwork there as well, then?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: She’s going to have some pieces. I think she’s got…Rudy, isn’t she bringing some things?

Rudy Simone: I believe so, yes. Absolutely.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Right, right.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, nice. Nice. That’ll be really nice.

Rudy Simone: [We’re bringing?] books, obviously. As we had mentioned, these books are all with Jessica Kingsley Publishing, so we’re going to have all our books there—mine, Shana and Liane’s, and Kim’s book, and there’ll probably be [unknown] as well as art. I’ll probably be doing some singing.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yay!

Rudy Simone: [unknown], but probably sing people in or sing them out.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, now, Rudy. Now, what kind of music do you sing, Rudy?

Rudy Simone: I’ve done all sorts, but at the moment, I’m doing strictly 1920s and 1930s American songbook-type stuff.

Sharon daVanport: Really? Nice. Oh, how nice.

Rudy Simone: There’s a little [torch?], that very much is a very pure, old-style, such as Billie Holliday, and even earlier than that. Yeah, [unknown] quite a good time. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Now, I want to at least give the website address for everyone, and that is where they can go and get the information and even buy their tickets. It’s at www.celebratefemaleASD.com Now, is that the website that you guys use exclusively for this event?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Sort of. We all have it on our individual pages, and we have a Facebook. We hope that someday we become wealthy enough in this endeavor that we can start offering scholarships and make it accessible to everyone and rely on sponsorship. We’re not going to make money off this conference. This one really is about reaching out and spreading a lot of joy and fun, and not so much of the clinical stuff, so much as the down-to-earth exciting news that we have to share, and memories that we want to spread.

Sharon daVanport: And just the interaction and the mingling together.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yeah; yeah.

Sharon daVanport: You have to start somewhere. I think it is reasonably priced, even for people who that may be expensive, but still reasonably priced. You’re having an event. You have to start somewhere.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: [Unknown]

Sharon daVanport: [Laugher] Yeah, right. And like you said, maybe one day this will turn into an event where you guys can eventually offer the scholarships. But you have to start out somewhere. I just think it’s great that you guys have put this event together, and I know I’m doing everything I can to try to be there. It’s not set in stone, because I have two kids who are starting school and stuff in August, so I’m working on the logistics. But I’m really hoping I can be there, too.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’d be awesome.

Rudy Simone: [We’re starting?] to get picked up, aren’t we, Liane? Other sponsors are bringing us the possibility of southern California later next year—February next year.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Right. Connecticuit wants to bring us, so we hope that we can just get a big tour bus and—no. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Well, there you go. You guys can tour across the US.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: It’s all so much work, though.

Sharon daVanport: [Laughter] Tricia, are you going to be there?

Tricia Kenney: Oh, I wish. If you guys ever show up in St. Louis, I’ll be there.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Hey, I’m from St. Louis. I grew up in St. Louis.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, you’re kidding.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: No. I went to Parkway.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, you’re kidding. Wow. Well, we’re in downtown so..

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yeah! Sure!

Tricia Kenney: Yes. You guys ever show up, I’m two minutes from downtown. Wherever you go, I’ll be there.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Sweet!


Sharon daVanport: That would be awesome.

Tricia Kenney: I have twin eight year olds, and they’re both autistic, too.

Rudy Simone: Oh, my goodness.

Tricia Kenney: So, yes. And I homeschool. So, yeah, that doesn’t leave a lot of travel time.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah, Tricia’s busy. [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, my goodness.

Sharon daVanport: Travel’s just not something Tricia even likes to hear. She doesn’t even like to hear the word. It’s a dirty word to her. She’s like: “Travel?” The grocery store’s an outing, a major event. It’s like: “Get tickets to go to the grocery store.” [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Which underscores how important it is to have an event where you can just let your hair down and just show up in jammies if you have to. Let your hair down and say: “Can I have a couple hours to myself?”

Rudy Simone: Liane, somebody wrote to me and asked if there was a dress code, because they saw the pictures of the hotel. And I said: “Yes. Wear clothes.”


Sharon daVanport: “Wear clothes.” [Laughter] That’s it; just clothes. So that’s important to know. That’s a good point, Rudy. Thank you for bringing that up. A lot of people would want to know: “Is there a dress code?” So, really, there’s not. You’re just saying, just come and be who you are.

Rudy Simone: And there’s also valet parking, because I know it is very stressful to navigate a downtown area, especially if you’re not familiar. Just pull up to the hotel. The valets will take your car and park it for you and give you a nice [unknown].

Tricia Kenney: Oh, that’s nice.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: It’s a lovely environment. [unknown] is beautiful. It makes you feel good when you walk into the building. There’s just some beautiful artwork and sculptures as soon as you walk in.

Rudy Simone: Yeah, we’re down in our own little area. Even though it’s downtown, I try to keep all this in mind, because I know how stressful it is to travel go places you haven’t been before.

Tricia Kenney: And especially crowded areas like downtown areas. It’s a nightmare, really.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, Rudy worked very hard to find us a spot that was sensorially lovely and not something that would immediately set you off. That, I think, is essential to the success.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, absolutely. The sensory.

Rudy Simone: It is a bit busy, but it’s very whimsical. It’s a very magical environment. The room that we’re in is quite sedate, but when you walk in, it’s very whimsical. There’s murals, sculptures and things. But I know what room [we’ll be?] looking for with the issues that we…[Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s a fun sensory. That’s not geometric patterns against stripes mixed with [unknown] going off.


Sharon daVanport: Right. Well, you guys have to tell us a little bit about some of your personal events coming up. Now, I know that we had just the darnedest time trying to coordinate times for everyone, because you guys are just really busy women. Let me tell you. People don’t know how busy Rudy and Liane are. They just need to hop over to their websites. We’re going to make for sure you guys give those website addresses, too, during the show today, so everyone can get over and take a look at your sites and some of your work. But, Liane, let’s start with you. I know that you are getting ready to go on a big trip, aren’t you?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yes. I’m going to Australia to have three conferences there. But the big news is, I get to spend a day in Tony Attwood’s clinic. I know I say it all the time: I call him Saint Attwood. I plan on marrying him in my next life.


He is the person that diagnosed me—literally saved my family, marriage, the whole works. So I’m very, very jazzed about that. But you talk about us all being busy. I haven’t even put my schedule online yet, because I can’t get to it. The executive functioning skills are just zapped. But just talking to Tricia and Sharon, you and all of us, there’s not a mom or a female today that I don’t think is wearing 15 different job titles. It’s a challenge for all of us, and I wonder if, at some point, if we can’t get neurotypical women in here with us to say: “Hey, we juggle those same things. Here’s how we do it.” Wouldn’t that be cool?

Sharon daVanport: I think that that’s an awesome idea, Liane. Trish and I and some of the board members, we’ve been chatting about this recently: that we’ve really appreciated some of the neurotypical females and moms who maybe have kids on the spectrum—even a couple moms who have sons on the spectrum—who actually volunteering their time.

They’re actually volunteering their time to the AWN now, in just what ways that they can. It has been so nice. We’ve even got a dad. He actually works for NASA. His name is Eric, and a lot of people on Twitter know him as myautisticson. He has a son on the spectrum, and he has volunteered and done some grant proposals for us, just with some different things. I tell you, with the executive function, like you said, that shutdown mode that goes on when we get so overstimulated and busy. If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have been able to put some of this stuff together. He’s just been a godsend, I tell you. It’s just wonderful to have that. And I was saying that the other day: we love our neurotypicals [laughter] who are there for us. They’re important. [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: They are. And when they take us under their wings…

Sharon daVanport: I know.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Dennis Debbaudt does this. If moms raise sons, and they take them to the bathroom, for example, we teach the sons female bathroom lessons. And they don’t apply to the male bathroom.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: It’s sort of the opposite for us. We have a lot of males on the spectrum, and males researching us, telling us how to do this, that or the other. That’s fantastic, but when the women come and say: “Hey, hold my hand. Here’s how we do it.” Not only is that what we’re comfortable with because that’s what we knew as kids, but those are our best, in my mind, muses and mentors.

Tricia Kenney: Hmm.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. Absolutely. Isn’t it nice when we find those people who really have the best intentions at heart, and just really work–? Do you find executive function is a good thing, too, for you, Rudy, to be able to navigate with your neurotypical friends, as well?

Rudy Simone: Oh, gosh. I don’t know. I’m very organized. Being organized is—

Sharon daVanport: Oh! You’re one of those on the spectrum. That’s fabulous!

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s what I thought.

Sharon daVanport: Tell me the secret, Rudy! Tell me the secret! [Laughter]

Rudy Simone: When I travel, I put each outfit, along with matching earrings and underwear, into a ziplock bag. It’s ridiculous. My executive function is, like: “Oh, you don’t have to paint the entire house in one day. You can stop now.” That’s where I have a problem. I work too hard and just don’t know when to stop.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Rudy Simone: But I just want to say, Liane, I’m so excited for you to go to Australia.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yes. Yes.

Rudy Simone: I heard Tony speak for the first time on female issues a couple weeks ago at the [unknown] conference. He had me in tears. He is so spot-on. For a neurotypical male to just intrinsically get it, it’s really moving, and I’m just so stoked for you to be going over there and working with him, and sharing your wisdom and experience with everyone over there.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Well, thank you. Tony said once: “Liane, I need you to try to get off the medication. You can do this without medication.” My husband said: “Tell Tony you’ll get off the medication when he moves in with us.”


Sharon daVanport: Okay.

Rudy Simone: I would marry him in my next life.


Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I’m older, so I get dibs.

Sharon daVanport: Wow, fighting over Dr. Tony Attwood, even in the next life.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: He’s married, so we should probably all [unknown] [laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Now, before we get on to Rudy (because, Rudy, I want you to be able to tell us what you have coming up, as well, and even your music and stuff, you can tell us). Liane, you said you’re going to leave and go to conferences. Now, are those speaking engagements as well as working in the clinic with Tony for a day, you said?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yeah. I’ll be talking in Toowoomba and Mackay and Brisbane, and then I go to St. Louis [unknown]. I can’t even remember where I go. Oh, Georgia, and this’ll be very exciting, I think. [I get to go to] Baton Rouge, and I’ve been trying to do some pro bono work there. I have a friend up in Washington State who lives on an Indian reservation in White Swan, and I’m really hoping to do some pro bono work on the reservation, which is a whole other issue. Think about the minorities and the elderly that aren’t getting any services. So once we’ve conquered the female world, we have to move on to the other worlds. But I’m all over—I don’t even know where I’m going.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. There’s just so many areas in life that need to be touched, and it’s just huge. So we talk about all kinds of issues here, too. We’re working on helping homeless autistic people.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, my gosh, yes. I hadn’t even thought about that. Thanks. There’s another.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. Like I said, there’s always an area of life that needs to be addressed. Because we’re human beings. We’re in every area of life. There are just issues there that aren’t being addressed.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Exactly.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Rudy Simone: The prison population, as well.

Tricia Kenney: Yes.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Ah, and the prison population. Yes. It’s non-stop.

Tricia Kenney: Um-hm.

Sharon daVanport: Um-hm. Right. Now, Liane, what is the address to your website?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That is www.aspie.com

Sharon daVanport: And people can contact you through that as well, correct?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: They can. Yes, they can.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Now, Rudy, you get to tell us about your exciting stuff coming up. What would you like to share with our listeners, so they know where to look for Rudy coming up?

Rudy Simone: Okay. Well, my real busy year with being an in-demand speaker doesn’t start till next year, really. Next year, I’m going to the UK and Europe and through Australia and New Zealand, so I’m quite excited about that.

This year, my next AS event is actually here in San Francisco on September 18. After that, I’m at the AANE conference at the end of September, and nothing for a while after that. But musically, I’m always performing once or twice a month, and I’m writing a screenplay. So right now, I’m [on deadline?] with that.

Tricia Kenney: Oh, nice.

Sharon daVanport: Really? Nice. Can you tell us a little bit about that—what it’s about?

Rudy Simone: It’s a paranormal rock comedy.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, wow!

Rudy Simone: I used to write for Ghost Hunters on Syfy Channel. They had a magazine, and I was a paranormal investigative reporter for a long time. And I’ve written fiction for a long time. Yeah, it all came together with the screenplay that I’ve been working on for years and years and years. So other than trying to take over the world—


Sharon daVanport: “Take over the world.”

Rudy Simone: —I’m also trying to get this movie made.

Sharon daVanport: Wow. That’s neat.

Rudy Simone: It’s very intensive, yeah. You call Hollywood and you get to speak to somebody important, and they go: “How much money you got?”

Tricia Kenney: Right. Right.

Rudy Simone: And they go: “Well, your movie sounds great. When you’ve got $10 million, call me back, and we’ll arrange a meeting.”


Sharon daVanport: Wow. Okay.

Rudy Simone: And other than that, I am performing and finishing my novel as well.

Sharon daVanport: And how can people get a hold of you, Rudy, if they wanted to contact you?

I’m at help4aspergers. And also, we’ve got Celebrate Female ASD, and I’m on Facebook. So you can reach me via any of those. And I also have a jazz website for my music.

Tricia Kenney: Wow.

Sharon daVanport: Nice.

Rudy Simone: I’ve got about, I don’t know, 50 or 60 websites.


Sharon daVanport: Oh, gosh! [Laughter] Now, I’m going to go back to Miss Executive Function here, Liane. You don’t have 50 or 60 websites, now do you?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: No. My passion is horses, and I own an equestrian facility. There’s a page [on Facebook] for that, but I don’t know how Rudy does it. My daughter’s like that and my father was like that. That brings up another point. Stephen Shore says: “When you meet one of us, you’ve met one of us.” Everyone in the population, beyond Asperger Syndrome and autism, has a mix of abilities and challenges. Rudy’s good in organizing, but she may have something far more difficult that I am good at. That’s true for all of us.I would love to be able to organize, but really, all I can do is kind of blow myself into the wind and hope someone catches me.


Sharon daVanport: I do that a lot.

Rudy Simone: I think I’m organized until I get up at a quarter to six this morning and I’m looking for the phone number to call you, and I can’t [find it?]

Sharon daVanport: Aww.

Rudy Simone: [Unknown]


Sharon daVanport: And I was thinking about that with my trip and everything, Rudy. I was thinking: “I don’t know if I sent Rudy back an ‘Okay, we’ll give you the call’ kind of thing.” I didn’t even remember if I had done that. I’m like: “Oh, no!” So there you go with my executive function skills on that. [Laughter] Well, I’m really excited about this event. Oh, go ahead, Tricia.

Tricia Kenney: Liane was talking about jobs and work placement and things like that in the autistic population. What I’ve tended to see is people just not disclosing because of that risk—that somebody’s going to use it as an excuse to not take you seriously or to get rid of you. Also, even with child care, being a mother, a lot of people don’t disclose that. They’re either afraid that somebody’s going to use that against them and things like that. In your book that you’re writing about that, how do you address that?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Well, I have an appendix of information that’s just sort of like a how to work with that situation. If bullying is happening on the job for us, here are some ideas. But Rudy wrote a whole book about it. She probably knows—

Tricia Kenney: Sorry. I meant that for Rudy.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yeah; that’s okay.

Rudy Simone: That’s a really good question. I also counsel people via the Internet. I have clients all over the world. Not many, but people sometimes contact me and they want to have a session with me and just get more information on [managing?] the AS, either as it pertains to a relationship or as it pertains to their employment.

It seems to me that my European clients (and I’m generalizing), they seem a little less afraid to disclose at work. I recently had a client who was diagnosed and I said: “Are you going to disclose at work?” He said: “I think I am, because they keep giving me a new route every day”—a truck. And it was too confusing for him, and it was too stressful, and he was taking it out on his family. I said: “Well, I’m with you. I think that you should.” He got his diagnosis from this doctor. She gave him 20 pages. He’s like: “Can you just give me one page so I can [start this off?]


He said: “I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Here’s my diagnosis.” The boss looked at it, looked at him. He said: “What do you need?” And my client said: “I need to have the same route every day.” The boss said: “Done.” It was no big deal.

Tricia Kenney: Wow. Wow.

Rudy Simone: Gave him what he needed. The boss said: “You’re an excellent employee. Let me know if there’s anything else you need.” Sometimes, and I’m generalizing and I don’t want to get myself into trouble with this, but sometimes I think we worry too much. People are seeming to be aware. There’s a bubbling up to the surface right now of awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome and the autism spectrum. I think people are interested and they want to learn about it and they realize that there are different people in this world, and they want to know why they’re different.

I don’t even want to say it’s the lesser of two evils. It’s a personal decision. But personally, I find that it’s much better to demystify. It’s much better to explain, because if you don’t explain, people will speculate. And when they speculate, that gets everyone into trouble. That’s when they start gossiping and rumors happen, etc., etc. So I think it’s better to educate and inform.

Tricia Kenney: Right. And I think an even more dangerous route for people is the stereotypes.

Rudy Simone: Yes.

Tricia Kenney: You know, people who know a little [laughter].

Rudy Simone: Yeah. Oh, God, yeah.

Sharon daVanport: That’s what ended up being my struggle, Rudy, for an employer several years ago. Are you still there?

Rudy Simone: Yes.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay. I think Liane’s call got dropped, it looks like, on the switchboard, but she’ll call back in. [Laughter] I don’t know if she’s calling from her cell, but it looks like the call got dropped.

But what I was saying, Rudy, is the situation I had was I actually worked for a place that serviced people with disabilities. Because they were so used to seeing people with severe disabilities on the autism spectrum, after I had had my review—I was a manager at this place—part of it was the coordinator telling me that I had social issues. That I wasn’t coming out of my office and mingling with people. She was describing a person with Asperger’s, right? And here I’m going: “Oh, gosh. Maybe I should disclose this and I should let them know.”

I struggled with it. I talked to the professional that I was involved with at the time, that was actually helping me get the diagnosis. I decided I would advocate for myself, and I would indeed disclose this. So it was about a month of going back and forth in my mind. When I finally did, it was used against me. It was like: “You do not. You do not have it. We have people in this facility right now who have Asperger’s” and of course, they were all men. They were severely affected, and they even had some mild MR going on. So they were comparing me to that and not comparing me as a female, not knowing the differences and just the fact that it’s a spectrum. Not everybody’s the same.

And I was like: “Are you kidding me? Are you telling me that two doctors of psychology are wrong? Are you kidding me?” I walked out on the place. It was so bad. They bullied me. I got a terrible, terrible e-mail from a coordinator there. It was a horrible situation for me. I left and never looked back.

Rudy Simone: I’m very, very sorry to hear that happened. That does happen, and it still happens. What Liane and I are trying to do, what you’re trying to do, what we’re all trying to do is to educate people on the differences between men and women—between mildly affected and severely affected. It is a spectrum, and it presents differently in people.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Rudy Simone: That’s exactly what we’re trying to help people avoid.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Sharon daVanport: I see you’re back, Liane.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yeah, sorry. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Okay, go ahead. I’m sorry, but I just want to acknowledge we got her back on the air here. But, Rudy, that new book that you have, do you address those? Those very issues like that?

Rudy Simone: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Totally. When I was researching my first book about Aspgerger’s and relationships, I just kept talking to people who were unemployed or who were underemployed, who were in their 40s, 50s and 60s living in their mom and dad’s basement because they couldn’t earn a living. I thought: “Oh, these poor people! They don’t have good jobs. They’re not like me. I mow lawns for a living. I have a good job.” And then I turned the lens on myself, and I realized that was hearing my own story reflected back at me from the [unknown] on the spectrum.

Sharon daVanport: Oh.

Rudy Simone: So I listed all the challenges that we encounter in the workplace, which are dozens and dozens and dozens. And then I tried to come up with a bag of solutions for each one of those challenges—everything from sensory issues to social issues to meetings and executive dysfunction, and just everything down the line. I tried to list them all, and I interviewed over 70 people for that job around the world that were diagnosed on the spectrum.

So, yeah. So I definitely get that. You do your best to try to address these issues in a book, but of course, the real world applications of things…You never know what wild card they’re going to [scrape?] up. There’s always something you don’t foresee, but you just have to try. We have to try in our daily lives to educate people.

Sharon daVanport: Where would you suggest, Liane and Rudy? And maybe, Liane, we could start with you, because I know that you’ve been active over at the AWN Forum. You go over there, and you post some things, and you’ve done a little bit of research and you’ve talked to some people over there for your book. Where do you suggest that we start in the autism community? I’m interested to know, as someone who’s starting the AWN. We’re trying to get it grounded. But just for everyone—all of us in the autism community—where do you suggest that we start in dispelling some of these myths, so that we’re going to finally inch away from some of those stereotypes? It’s like, where do you even begin? Do you have any suggestions, Liane? It’s just so overwhelming to me to even think about.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Well, the thing that interests me about AWN is that it’s the first group I’m aware of that addresses, specifically and foremost, females. I know we’ll venture off into other things on that forum, but just the idea that it’s for women. I think more groups like that are fantastic. One of the first groups I started with was OASIS, and now they’re joined with MAAP, More Able Autistic People.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: They really sent me into a solid sense of understanding, and they’re still there for us. But they’re spread so thin. They take on everybody, and Susan Moreno and Barb Kirby, they’re the leaders of the pack. With their help, we’ve been able to splinter off into AWN.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: So I think we go back to those who have been here forever and ask them for advice, and maybe there should be a prison population website. There’s a girl on Facebook that I’m very close to now, and I don’t know if I should say anything about her online here, but she does some fantastic work and is putting together a documentary. Afterwards, I’ll tell you about her, and you can get her to come speak for you on the radio station.

Sharon daVanport: Okay, yeah.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Facebook has become a great place for many of us to meet and start our own groups. So I don’t know where to begin to jump in.

Sharon daVanport: Be very careful, though, on that. I’m learning a lesson about these networking sites. You just really don’t know who’s getting on your page. You have to be very careful. I’m so vulnerable in that way, Liane, I tell you. I’m so trusting; I see that somebody might be friends with somebody else that I know, and I let them on my page, and I find out that they’re really not someone that has [unknown] things to say.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: But that’s a [unknown] issue.

Sharon daVanport: It happened while I was in Washington about some stuff, about the AWN. It was horrible. It was like: “Oh, are you kidding me? Why can’t we all just get along? Why are there vicious people out there like that?”

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I think you’re going to find that wherever you go, though, Sharon. All you have to do is say: “I’m strong, and we’re going to fight these rumors.” All that is is bullying. People that do that should simply be ashamed.

Rudy Simone: On Facebook, I have a policy. If people post anything negative, I just delete the post. If they do it again, I send a message and say: “My page is my personal page. It’s just a light page—it’s about my music, it’s about my personal life. I have my ‘Asperger’s on the Job’ page, I have my ‘Aspergirls’ page if you want to post AS-related stuff or whatever.” And then if they get nasty with me, I unfriend them.

Tricia Kenney: Right.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s what I’d do, Sharon.

Rudy Simone: But see, the thing is, is that I’ve had people in female Asperger networks attack me. It’s like: Why?

Sharon daVanport: I know! What is up with that?

Rudy Simone: It’s not productive. I had dinner with Temple and Tony a couple weeks ago, and Temple said she was very perplexed by people that do that sort of thing. [unknown] attacking other people on the spectrum, but—

Sharon daVanport: It paralyzes me, Rudy. It paralyzes me. I got a migraine and everything. I was physically ill over it. I don’t get it. It’s just another reminder, too, how…and I’m not trying to come off like I’m s victim, because I’m not. It made me feel stronger when this happened. But at the same time, I cannot lie. It really caught me off guard. I realized I was so trusting. I let this person on my page, I was so trusting. And I was fooled the whole time they were there to [cause?] trouble, to fool with me.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: You’re on the spectrum; you didn’t see it.

Sharon daVanport: I didn’t.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And my father would say: “You need to quit being so nai¨eve.” I think Rudy had the best advice. Just end it, defriend it. All of us. This is an Oprah statement, but this goes for anyone out there in the world. Once we give up that power, how hard is it to get it back? Just delete. Delete. Off the hard drive.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Rudy Simone: They need to learn that they can’t abuse you. They cannot abuse you. Just because you’re a public figure and whatever, you don’t have to take abuse. [Unknown]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’s right.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah.

Rudy Simone: I [spent a piece?] of my life being bullied, etc. [Unknown] I’m trying to help you. If you don’t like it, just look the other way.

Sharon daVanport: Right. Bye-bye now. [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And you are going to have disagreements. I got into a flaming session over the DSM-V changes, and I didn’t know that I was saying anything offensive to our community. People thought I came out looking like I was better than others because I didn’t want Asperger’s Syndrome taken out.

Sharon daVanport: I didn’t take it that way when you said it. I totally got what you meant. I guess it’s the way people view it, because I did not take it that way. I knew what you were saying. You were applying it to how you felt it would affect you personally. You weren’t saying that you were speaking for everyone.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: No.

Sharon daVanport: You were speaking about some valid concerns that you had. And I think that that’s good and fine, that we should be able to share those differences in feelings without people taking it to heart.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: We all have theory of mind and egocentric issues when we’re on the spectrum, and just like me interrupting Tricia, that just proves my point of view is the only point of view I really understand. [Laughter] But when we look at ourselves as a community, we are bound to have those discussions because we do struggle with that.

Sharon daVanport: Yeah, I know.

Rudy Simone: I was just going to say, I wasn’t implying that you should defriend someone if they disagree with you. I just meant if they got bullying.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, no. It was just a major bully situation. We got hundreds and hundreds of e-mail through the AWN, saying: “Oh, my gosh. We’re watching this person; we’re taking screenshots. Sharon, get rid of them off your page. We know who it is.” They figured out who it really was. They were making fake profile pages.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Oh, my.

Sharon daVanport: It was bad, you guys. They knew I was out of town in Washington. Tricia’s frantically calling Lindsey. You guys, it got bad. That was something that totally caught us off guard. Liane, I know you helped me with this several months ago. We chatted on Skype and we had a great talk about this. You reminded me then: You have to really never let your guard down. You have to be so careful. And we have to tell other people on the spectrum that. We can’t be too careful.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: We can’t.

Sharon daVanport: You can’t.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: You can’t be paranoid, but you have to be prepared.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right.

Rudy Simone: That’s been said of a large sense, a public sense. But even in an individual sense, it is tiring for us to constantly explain ourselves. It’s tiring for us to constantly be caught off guard. But it’s just something that we have to deal with.

I had to explain myself to a very aggressive, type A neurotypical male a couple weeks ago. He’s a friend of my partner’s, and he was visiting. He was so pushy, pushy, pushy: “Explain yourself! Explain [unknown]! Why are you this way? Why are you that way?”

Tricia Kenney: Geez.

Rudy Simone: It gave me a four-day meltdown. It was so exhausting. But you know what? You just have to be prepared for people who aren’t going to get you, and who are going to try to just break you down into something they can understand. But it’s his issue. It’s this person’s issue. They’re trying to break you down and put you into something that they can understand. It’s not your problem.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Tricia Kenney: Right. Right.

Sharon daVanport: I tell you, I’m excited about your book coming out, Liane. Oh, Wow. I just…Do you have a tentative date, or do you not like to give that until you know you’re headed down the home stretch, or what?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I know that it’s due the end of August, and then rewrites, and then it’ll be out. But you’re right. Probably spring? I’m not really sure.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, okay. So maybe spring or summer next year. That’s exciting. Wow. Hey, maybe it’ll be ready for April for Autism Awareness Month. That would be awesome, to be able to put it out [in that?] month, wouldn’t it.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: That’d be cool

Sharon daVanport: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

Tricia Kenney: Every month is always Autism Awareness Month for us. [Laughter]


Sharon daVanport: Every day’s Autism Awareness Day in our family, too. [Laughter] Is there anything, Rudy and Liane, that you guys wanted to mention that we just didn’t touch base on? If we can kind of get things wrapped up here. I know, Liane, we promised we’d get you off in time where you wouldn’t be late. You’re on a tight schedule.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: I guess what I would say is, we didn’t talk much about Shana, but we know that Shana Nichols is an advocate for us. She devotes her practice basically to females on the spectrum. She does evaluations; she does support. And Rudy and I on the spectrum are going to certainly be the middle and the end of our conference. But Shana is there as a mentor and a muse, as we said, from the neurotypical population, who I think is going to lend a very good sounding board for all of us from the conference to just daily life as you check in on her website and look at her books.

Sharon daVanport: Oh, very good.

Tricia Kenney: [We love?] Shana.

Sharon daVanport: I know. We had her on as a guest last month. She’s just fantastic. I’m just excited that you guys are doing this event with her. Is there anything, Rudy, that you wanted to add that we might’ve not touched on? Anything at all.

Rudy Simone: No. I just agree with Liane. Yeah, Shana’s solid, and it’s awesome to get that professional and neurotypical perspective from someone who gets it, and can impart things to us as well.

Sharon daVanport: Doesn’t that mean everything to you guys? I know that Tricia and I talk about this a lot. It’s a breath of fresh air to be around someone that gets it. There’s nothing like it, is there? [Laughter]

Rudy Simone: It’s great. It’s wonderful, and we have a lot to offer one another: the [cultural understanding?]

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. [Unknown]

Sharon daVanport: Right. Well, guys, thank you both so much. Thank you, Liane. Thank you, Rudy.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Thanks for having us.

Sharon daVanport: Right. And we’re going to keep over at the AWN just posting your event coming up and keep the word going. I’m just excited to hear about how this goes. I hope I can be there. If not, I’m just excited to know that you guys are getting invited to hold this event in other places around the country, so that everyone can share in it in their local communities. How nice is that going to be? Wow.

Tricia Kenney: I know. And like I said, things like this really, really need to be spreading out to educate people and just to bring about the awareness. It’s not just males; it’s not just children. There’s a very prominent female population that nobody’s even noticing. [Laughter]

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: And by the way, many of us are raising future citizens, so we need all the help we can get. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Oh, that’s so true, Liane. We’re parents, many of us. We’re doing that, right?

Rudy Simone: I want to mention that I want to reach out to the local Aspie groups in the Bay Area to come to this event. I’m going to be attending the SENS meeting to tell them about the event. I guess that’s San Francisco’s main AS organization. I’m new in the area, so I haven’t met them. [Unknown] And also, some of the different university departments and things like that, we want to just extend an invitation to anybody within a radius of San Francisco to please attend this event, if you are peripherally involved with autism spectrum disorders.

Sharon daVanport: Well, our web developer, Lori Berkowitz, lives in the area.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Yay!

Sharon daVanport: Yeah. So I’m going to be talking to her about seeing if she can get out there and go to the event, so that would be awesome. And she could spread the word, too. She could help get the word out there in the area. Well, this is exciting. Well, thank you both so much. I’m getting excited. We’re getting ready to announce our winner for LifePROTEKT. You guys could stay on the line. I’m just going to put you guys over on the switchboard. But thank you so much for taking the time to be here, Rudy and Liane.

Rudy Simone: Thanks for having us.

Tricia Kenney: This was really, really [exciting?] to talk with you both.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Thanks, Trish.

Tricia Kenney: Nice getting to chat with a bunch of autistic women. That’s what I love about doing this show, is I get that experience that I can’t get locally.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: We rock it out.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. [Laughter] Okay. You guys have a wonderful day. Enjoy your retreat, Rudy, and be safe on your travels, Liane, okay?

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Thank you. Thanks, guys.

Sharon daVanport: All right. Okay. Bye-bye.

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey: Bye.

Tricia Kenney: Bye-bye.

[Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey and Rudy Simone hang up].

Sharon daVanport: Okay. Gosh, Tricia. I guess we get to announce our winner, and we have already contacted her. So did you want to tell our listeners about the winner for LifePROTEKT this month?


Tricia Kenney: We did this a month ago, or is it two months?—

Sharon daVanport: I’m sorry, Tricia. Can you say that again? I’d accidentally when I asked you that question, I clicked on the switchboard and it muted you. [Laughter] I’m really doing great. Executive function skills are awesome today! [Laughter] Oh, well.

Tricia Kenney: [Unknown] That’s okay. We’re doing a giveaway from LifePROTEKT for a GPS location device plus one year of service. We’re giving one of those packages away every month to a family or individual who could use that. This month, we did our drawing actually last night because we had such an early show today. But we drew our winner, and it is Susan Richardson of Columbus, Ohio. So she is going to get the lok8u device, which is a watch for her little girl. Let me just read you her entry. It really touched us, and it really explains why we’re doing this. It says:

Dear AWN,

My five-year-old daughter is diagnosed with infantile autism, and has delayed speech with minimal functional communication. She is a high risk for elopement. In fact, she has run away a few times, and by the grace of God, we have found her. Once she was found naked in a neighbor’s treehouse near a pool. When you call her name, she doesn’t respond vocally or come. We have chain locks on the inside of the house to lock her in. However, she has recently learned how to use the broom to slip the chain open.

We have asked for county funding to get a GPS device and they told us we would have to forgo her music therapy allocation in order to get the device. We are also anxious as we approach kindergarten in the public school setting. The school is situated on property near a busy roadway, and there is a pond on the premises, as well. We have articulated our safety concerns to the school and during IEP planning, and have been denied an aide. Winning this device, like all the other parents entering, would be a huge safety precaution for us, and would let us sleep a little easier at night.

Thank you for your consideration.

So when we read this stuff, it really hits home why we’re doing what we’re doing; why these location devices are so important, because this is such a big issue in the autism community. It’s an issue outside the autism community as well, but obviously, this is our area.

Sharon daVanport: Right.

Tricia Kenney: It’s scary. It is so scary, and this family is living in fear that she’s going to take off, and she’s getting to an age where she can run faster than Mom. And that’s scary. So this is going to be a huge, huge weight off of her shoulders, this device.

She can actually set up a perimeter around her home or around the school, or wherever she so chooses. If she’s at a park or the zoo or wherever she’s going with her daughter, she can set up a perimeter that if her daughter breaks out of that perimeter, crosses that line, she’ll get notified. And it’s instant.

Sharon daVanport: Right. I’m so thankful to Lou Giuffre for offering to do this with LifePROTEKT, to sponsor this giveaway on AWN radio. We’ve just had an overwhelming response. I just want to remind everyone that if you want to be considered for next month’s giveaway for September, please e-mail us your story. You’re automatically entered.

Even if your name doesn’t get drawn next month, it’ll be carried over for the next month. We’re going to do this every six months. We’re going to renew the process, but just know that it’s good for six months, so make sure you e-mail us at info AT autismwomensnetwork DOT org. And then you’ll be entered automatically.

Tricia Kenney: Yep. And I talked with Susan this morning to let her know that she had won, and she just about screamed. [Laughter]

Sharon daVanport: Aww. Good for her.

Tricia Kenney: Yeah. She was very excited and I can’t—

Sharon daVanport: A lot of our friends over on Twitter know her as AlternaMom, is that right? So, yeah. We’ll have to get over there and tweet that, too, Tricia—make sure we let everyone know she was our winner.

Tricia Kenney: Well, thanks again to Lou Guiffre. Another family is feeling a lot more safe tonight.

Sharon daVanport: That’s right. Well, thank you, Tricia. Thank you for a great show, and I’m just going to look forward to getting our post up for next week. Just look forward in the next couple days for us to post our next show coming up, and all the details. Today was kind of an off day, doing it on a Thursday, but we’ll be back again next Saturday. Not this Saturday, but next Saturday. And we’ll have the details posted for the show, just probably…by Saturday at the latest, I think. So, we’re running a few days behind with my trip to Washington, but we’ll have it posted by this Saturday, at least a week in advance.

Tricia Kenney: Okay.

Sharon daVanport: Well, that’s it. Okay. Well, thank you, Tricia.

Tricia Kenney: Thank you, Sharon.

Sharon daVanport: Okay. All right. Bye, everyone.

Tricia Kenney: Bye-bye.



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