[114] S9 E9: Playing on ‘hard mode’: accepting our autistic challenges while anchoring to our brilliance
Topics in this episode: advocacy, burnout, employment, intergenerational autism, sensory issues, stimming

Anissa Ljanta is a writer, a neurodivergent specialist coach, educator and equity and inclusion advocate living in the remote hills of a wild surf beach in West Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

She grew up in Samoa and South Auckland in Aotearoa New Zealand, where she was deemed a gifted child but was unable to deliver results. Her inability to live the expected 9-5 life led her to step out of life as most people know it, spending 18 years going from one adventure to another in various corners of the globe. Now 52, Anissa is a single mother to a neurodivergent teen. She was diagnosed autistic in 2021.

Anissa was such a delight to talk with, so gentle and thoughtful as she reflected on her life, her struggles and autistic joys. She touched on many different topics, some of which are:

➡ Being unable to work full time, not being able to live a consistent life, and accepting that sometimes we can’t live the life we want

➡ Being debilitated by burnout – its ongoing and accumulative effects, and the importance of having a plan

➡ Making a haunting neurodivergent  discovery in her family history

➡ The power of reframing past experiences through a neurodivergent lens, and finding a sense of connection within her family.


Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.

I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.

I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.



Wild of Brain substack: https://anissaljanta.substack.com/

Wild of Brain Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085740605286

Hannah Gadsby interview on We Can Do Hard Things podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/6cVlrd5mRHdx5AlFJyXRAG


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