What Liane Learned: Pretending To Be Normal

An Interview With Liane Holliday Wiley

“I felt like a bird uncaged”

Liane Holliday Willey Pretending To Be Normal Interview

Liane Holliday Wiley – (when she discovered her Aspergers diagnosis)

Liane Holliday Willey: Pretending To Be Normal

Liane Holliday Wiley is an Aspergian woman who for years pretended to be normal.

Liane’s varied roles include professor (she holds a Doctorate in Education in Psycholinguistics), author, consultant. She also owns and runs an equine boarding and training facility in Sparta, Michigan.

It was Liane who first introduced me to the world of Aspergers, long before my son was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

She is a keynote speaker at autism conferences all over the world.

According to Brains Potential,

Liane has been featured in The USA Today, Psychology Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, Register-Guard, The Grand Rapids Press, ABC News, The Associated Press, Newsweek, BBC 4, several NPR broadcasts and many international publications. Liane has also been featured in three DVDs- Asperger Syndrome: Crossing the Bridge, Ask me About Asperger Syndrome, and Women with AS: Staying Healthy & Safe.


In This Episode, You’ll Learn

  • How Liane’s childhood, family, and current experiences influence what kinds of books and topics she has written about
  • Her past traumatic experiences as an Asperigan woman dealing with sensory challenges and misreading social cues, and how she has addressed that trauma, teaching safety skills to other Aspergian women
  • Leanne’s process of getting an Aspergers diagnosis: not once, not twice, but three times!
  • How Leanne “succeeded" through her elementary and high school academics, but “fell apart" in college. “I didn’t know how to act, or react to information, people, and places that came my way."
  • Regarding “pretending to be normal”: “I can hold it together for 2-3 hours, but I can’t hold it together 24×7, 365"
  • Why supportive community is so key in countering people’s stigmas about anyone is who different.
  • Liane’s father, also most likely Aspergian, and the powerful positive role he played in her life, helping her see that her neurology was, in many ways, equal or superior to, “typical" neurology
  • Differences between Aspergian women versus Aspersion men, from Liane’s point of view
  • Sensory processing difficulties: what they are, and how she has coped with them.
  • How auditory processing deficits, plus literal thinking, plus theory of mind difficulties make it difficult to communicate
  • How helpful animals can be to calm and soothe Aspergians and autistics.
  • How the SHAPE acronym can help Aspergian women (and men) stay safe


An acronym will help you quickly process how to stay safe.

Links and Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Dr. Liane Holliday Willey’s books:

Pretending To Be Normal

Safety Skills For Aspergers Women

Asperger Syndrome In The Family: Redefining Normal

Here’s a video about the Sally Anne test. And here’s the Wikipedia explanation of the Sally Anne test.

Where to Find Lianne Holliday Willey:

Lianne’s Main Site: Aspie.Com



Twitter: @Aspie101

Brain Potential

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I'm Steve Borgman. I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

Are you tired of feeling alone, like you're the only one in this world? Please join the Thrive with Aspergers Community to connect with others just like you!

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  • Full Spectrum Mama


  • http://www.myaspergers.net/ steveborgman

    Thanks, Full Spectrum Mama! Hope you enjoyed the interview :)