This week I re-read Liane Holliday-Willey’s Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life review – book information – Jessica Kingsley Publishers. It’s one of my favorite books on coping with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), because Liane doesn’t flinch from the sensitive issues, but talks about them in a straightforward way. She’s a little like the unflinching, factual lectures my middle school health teacher used to give: knowledgeable, honest and matter of fact–personable and putting you at ease even when the subject matter makes your knees shake. If you’re a woman on the spectrum and you don’t have this book yet, go click that link right now and get you one. Really. I’ll still be here when you get back, now scoot…
Get it? Good. Safety is something women with ASDs need to have special concern with–I know I’m not alone in my dupability and inability to read when someone isn’t actually my friend. What a relief it was to find a book where someone actually addressed my concerns about having a meltdown in an airport–alone–among other very real, but difficult topics.
There just isn’t another book out there right now that fills this niche, although I plan to review some other books for women on the spectrum. You will probably think I’m on Jessica Kingsley’s payroll, but that publisher is really one of the few giving Aspie women their due.
Many autistic women live for decades without knowing that their quirks, the ones they have struggled to keep hidden, come with a medical diagnosis and–admission to a sisterhood. This shocking discovery at midlife is a trip down the rabbit hole few can even understand. When it happened to me, I lost my entire support base–my marriage, people I thought were friends and even family to some extent. So, moving out on my own, for virtually the first time in my life–no roommates, no boyfriend and no one to come home to but a couple of cats–felt terribly precarious.
Liane’s straightforward guide provides the unique perspective of someone who has lived through the struggles of her reader, found ways to cope and has become strong enough to light the way for the rest of us. Her stories are our stories, only with coping tips to make it all better. With her easy narrative and handy lists, Liane provides hope to the sometimes hopeless.
No matter how alone I might feel, I know that I am not alone–that Liane and my other sisters are going through much the same issues in much the same way. This book is a “must have” for women on the spectrum, not just for the many helpful tips and reminders, but also for the hope that comes from understanding and accepting ourselves at long last. Truly, this is a ground-breaking book. Yet, I look forward to the day when the unique perspective and knowledge Liane has imparted is common knowledge.
One day, perhaps, women on the spectrum will no longer have to jump through the rabbit hole to find their unique place in the spectrum sisterhood. We can but hope for better education for ASD females, improved screening and a change in training for the professionals who work with autistic women. Until then, the sisterhood is lucky to have Liane’s contribution, and I hope you all keep a copy of it on your nightstand–the way I do.