Tom and Liane Holliday Willey
This scholarship was established by Liane Holliday Willey and her husband Tom. Liane personally contends, as does their daughter, with a form of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) known as Asperger’s Syndrome. She is a strong proponent of social and academic understanding of PDDs and is a frequent speaker to parental and professional groups. Tom is a professor of finance at Grand Valley State University, Seidman School of Business. Both Liane and Tom earned their doctoral degrees from Mississippi State University. As an introduction, Liane wrote:
Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) are neurological disorders that affect an individual’s ability to communicate effectively, understand complex language, function with sensory input, and relate to others. The world comes on like a hurricane to the person with PDD with too many things bouncing about in the visual field, intolerable over-lapping sounds, impenetrable conversations studded-full with incomprehensible messages, unwelcome yet compulsory changes in order and routines and complex socio-linguistic rules that seem to break the moment they are tested. I should know. I have Asperger Syndrome, which joins Autistic Disorder, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder as one of the most commonly recognized forms of PDD.
People with PDD are not broken or stupid or unable. However, they are significantly different from those people who have typical neurological systems. Nonetheless, we can learn how to do whatever it takes to be a productive and satisfied member of society. With the three keys of education, public awareness, early intervention and strong support structures, we will PDD can be anything we wish to be. I sincerely hope the students who receive the Holliday Willey Psychology Scholarship for the Study of Pervasive Developmental Disorders will endeavor to use the three keys wisely and well. With their help, a new world will be opened for us all.