Several months ago, JKP authors Shana Nichols, Rudy Simone and me – Liane Holliday Willey – decided it would be lovely to host a special evening for females on the autism spectrum to meet and greet, relax and refresh, and most importantly, celebrate the loveliness of life, despite the tangled wires too many of us have to churn through. 

'Exhaling Beauty' hosts and JKP authors, Shana Nichols, Liane Holliday Willey and Rudy Simone.

On Saturday the 18th of September in San Francisco, California, our vision became a reality when a fantastic group of ladies (and several supportive men!) joined us for an enlightening and absolutely enchanting evening we titled ‘Exhaling Beauty ~ Celebrating Females with ASD’. 

Savory hors dourves, top shelf wine and beer, art work by the very talented Kim Miller (whose mom Eileen Miller is a fellow JKP author) a luscious setting at the Kimpton Inn’s Hotel Monaco, and the musical talents of Rudy accompanied by pianist Jeff Orchard, along with the beautiful photography of Kathryn Hedges set the stage for the evening, but it was the attendees who really made the event sparkle.

I think I’m speaking for most of us when I say going out and about, especially to big public gatherings, is either something we are not typically invited to attend or if we are, not something we are very inclined to attend. Just another reason why this opportunity to have a grown-up, albeit calm, cocktail party in such a safe environment was extra special. Together, we made what could well have been an anxious outing, a time to blend and bond, have a few tête-à-têtes and revel. How cool is that?!?

From Rudy and Shana and I – special thanks to the travelers from other states and Canada who came so far to be with new friends. Special thanks to Mike Whipple and J.P. Groosman for handling the mundane stuff. Extra special appreciation goes out to JKP for being our greatest sponsor and advocate. This event proved good friends and supporters are indeed, the feathers that stuff our well-being!

The positive energy of this group was tangible. Not like anything I’ve ever felt. We have something here and I can’t predict where it is going or what it might become, but I for one am ever so excited to be a part of it in all shapes and forms.

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Liane Holliday Willey is a doctor of education, a writer and a researcher who specializes in the fields of psycholinguistics and learning style differences. She also has Asperger Syndrome, and is an energetic educator and advocate of Asperger issues.

Rudy Simone is an ‘Aspergirl’, self-advocate, writer, speaker, consultant, and coach specializing in help for adult Aspergers, particularly the areas of Employment, Female Asperger Syndrome and Relationships.

Shana Nichols, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist working in the areas of assessment, treatment, and research related to autism spectrum and other developmental disorders, and is Clinical Director of the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, New York.

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