Wilma Wake was diagnosed autistic in her mid 60s. Now 74, she lives in Maine in the United States, where she is a licenced clinical social worker and retired ordained minister. Despite working with autistic people, she never thought she might be autistic herself until she read a book that changed her life. She became active in an autistic adults’ peer support group after her diagnosis, and is now co-facilitator of the group.
Her social work practice is devoted primarily to working with older autistic adults, neurodiverse couples, and autistic children and their families. She is committed to helping train other service providers to work with autistic adults. She has a doctorate in Feminist-Liberation Theology and and a PhD in Social Foundations of Education, and has recently published a book co-authored with two other autistic adults, Older Autistic Adults in their Own Words: The Lost Generation.
In our conversation we talk about:
➡ Getting an autism diagnosis later in life
➡ The power of support groups
➡ Being an autistic therapist
➡ The unique experiences of older autistic adults
➡ ‘Coming out’ as autistic – being prepared, and political and social parallels with coming out as LGBT+
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.
Wilma’s website: http://awakeningswithwake.com/
Wilma’s book is ‘Older Autistic Adults in their Own Words: The Lost Generation’, by Eric Endlich, Robert S. Lagos and Wilma Wake. Available from all good booksellers.
The book that prompted Wilma to seek an autism assessment was Rudy Simone’s ‘Aspergirls’.
AANE (Asperger/Autism Network): https://www.aane.org/ They have a programme for training therapists to do neurodiverse couples therapy and ongoing consultation groups.
If you’d like to connect or get in touch with Squarepeg, you can find me on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/squarepegautism Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/squarepegautism/
Or on my website: https://squarepeg.community/
THANK YOU TO MY PATRONS!
A HUGE thank you to my amazing patrons, who support my work on the podcast:
Cat Preston, Corinne Cariad, Elise, Kate Faust, Katharine Richards, Katherine Lynch, Laurie Green, Lea Li, Lilli Simmons, Pete Burke, Sarah Hardy, Vera Cady
If you’re enjoying the Squarepeg podcast and would like to help me carry on making new episodes, you can become a member of the Squarepeg community on Patreon from £3 per month: https://www.patreon.com/squarepegpodcast