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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

 

Tis the Season to be Joyful

Tis the season to be joyful and thankful for the many people I've come to meet over the past year and the achievements made in promoting, with the help of so many others, a better understanding of autism.

The Autism Acceptance Project is currently renovating its website.




After an extremely successful Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life event, we are already into planning for next year. In addition to three conferences where I will speak --

Giant Steps in Montreal: ASD Perspectives Conference (February)
Come to Your Senses, Toronto (May) and,
The Autism Society of Ontario's "Acceptance" conference (June) ---
we are also planning a series of events in redefining autism education, and providing a free service to schools to bring in autistic people, their friends and families to speak about autism and to answer the practical questions. Stay tuned for some exciting actitivies in 2007.

In October, we were so excited to have the following people deliver lectures at the Al Green Theatre in Toronto:

Dr. Morton Ann Gernsbacher
Michelle Dawson
Dr. Laurent Mottron
Dr. Nehama Baum
Ellen Yack
Susan Senator
Valerie Paradiz and her son Elijah Wapner
Phil Schwarz
and Jim Sinclair

And Artists at The Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto:

Jonathan Lerman
Larry Bissonnette
Brian Henson
Mukibaum artists
Autspoken Writers

We enjoyed a concert by autistic musician Michael Moon and enjoyed a month long exhibit and critical analysis of how autistics are represented and viewed by society. Kevin Leitch of Autism Hub was so helpful to me personally in streaming in video from YouTube about Autism advocacy so it could be broadcast to the Toronto Community. Thanks to Dinah Murray, Kevin Leitch and Dr. Darold Treffert for writing endorsements for the project that were posted at the exhibit.

The Autism Acceptance Project is publicizing PosAutive.You can find the press release by clicking here. We also have our video on the PosAutive Project's YouTube Site:

The Autism Acceptance Project


Redefining Autism became part of a the media's theme in covering The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life event. We received national coverage in the following:

Front Page Feature Story in The National Post: "Redefining Autism" by Joseph Brean on October 7th

CBC's Quirks and Quarks with Laurent Mottron and Michelle Dawson

The National Post Counterpoint "Accepting Autism" on October 13th

CTV's report on the myth of vaccinations causing autism on October 4th

CTV's nightly report on the opening of The Joy of Autism exhibition with Larry Bissonnette, Jonathan Lerman, Mukibaum Treatment Centres and Brian Henson on October 5th

CP24's interview with Anne Rohmer, October 4th


City TV's Pause for the Cause on October 10th

Canadian Jewish News

Canadian Chinese Television (Fairchild TV) December 31st.

CBC's The Gill Deacon Show on November 28th

The Village Post, January 2007

and more -- there were smaller radio interviews and coverage by Erica Ehm and others. Some of these clippings and video footage will soon be available at www.taaproject.com.

Thanks to Ralph Savarese and Roy Grinker for two wonderful books that have recently come to market and to Ralph, for supporting the project as well as Autism Diva, and the many wonderful bloggers I have listed at the side bar of my blog that I read regularly.

Okay...my list of gratitude is longer than you'll want to read, so I'll stop there. I could thank Henry, my family, but they know how grateful I am for their support...I think! I thank all the bloggers, writers, and researchers out there who have done so much to promote a greater understanding of the complexities of autism, but who also believe in accepting autistic people -- conducting research by including autistic people and doing so with respect. Those who participate with a spirit of cooperation have inspired me to do more with The Autism Acceptance Project and our list of supporters is growing. Even when parents and autistic people disagree, it is vitally important to discuss issues with a sensitivity to Personhood. If you want to register for news and information, go to www.taaproject.com and "Get Involved."


Which leads me to the season's greatest blessings of all: my son Adam:


I endearingly call this photo "Adam and the Nutcrackers." This is a recent photo and soon, Adam will be five.



An older photo of Adam when he was nearly three.


It is lovely to have Adam in my life. There have been challenges, yes, but without Adam, I would never have garnered the positive outlook I currently have. I've come to learn that being positive comes in the strangest packages. Without Adam, I would have been stuck in my old box of meaningless expectations and a frenzied life. Adam has lead me to a life that is blessed with appreciation, and purpose. He has taught me to consider other's perspectives, and he is teaching me more about empathy for others. He is teaching me that there is never one answer, or one way of doing something, but instead, a life of possibilities. As Jonathan Lerman says "there's no such word as can't," and I know that Adam would agree.

2 Comments:

Anonymous kyra said...

adam is such a sweetie! happy holidays to your whole family, estee! hope all your celebrations are lovely and joyful.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Best wishes to you, Estée, during the holidays and in the New Year---onward and upward.

10:51 AM  

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