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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

Thursday, May 17, 2007

 

TAAProject's First Support Group

Last night, TAAProject hosted the first support group for non autistics, lead by four autistic adults -- all very different -- from Aspergers diagnosis to autism diagnosis. The group went so well that it wants to convene every two weeks instead of every month for two hours at a time. There is one thing I want to share that speaks to comments on "early intervention."

All of the members were recipients of many "treatments," and physical or verbal abuse from their parents, and general exclusion and misunderstanding by society at large. Michael Moon said one thing that was very important, I think. He was diagnosed with autism: "What was considered my weakness turned into my strengths. My love of playing with sand turned into photography. My need to make noise turned into playing music. My need to move turned into dance." To see for yourself, check out the gallery at The Autism Acceptance Project website (www.taaproject.com) or link at the left side bar.

An overwhelming response from all autistic members of the group noted how important it is to focus on strengths -- that constant focusing on "appropriateness" is so damaging to self-esteem.

As the years pass, it becomes less difficult to break away from the limiting boxes that many interventionists put us and our kids into. Instead, the people who work with us are learning about the importance of following Adam's lead and respecting him. Adam works everyday, but we don't focus on the negative or what he isn't. We focus on what he is. And you know what, we are beginning to fly at a rate that we never did before. I believe that there is room for working with autistic kids for sure, but in a way that we do not typically think about which is valuing our kids and the way they learn.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Natalia said...

wanted to comment on your post about autistic teachers, because as far as i know i am one... but there was no "comments" link. off-topic, though, is it possible to email you, and how can i? thank you...

11:17 AM  
Blogger Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Not intended. Blogger has reset things again and I notice that I have to select comments for each and every post whereas I didn't have to before. You can go there now.

6:45 AM  

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