Friday, May 16, 2008

Mother's Week: Estee Klar,Wolfond, The Autism Acceptance Project

This weeks theme: Mother's who created foundations or opportunities for their children and other people. Today's post will be the last of this series. I realize I may have missed some moms who have made wonderful contributions to the autism community. Perhaps I will cover them in the future.

Today I am featuring Estee Lar-Wolfond, the mother of a young son with autism, a blogger, and the founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (TAAP). According to its website the TAAP "works to promote acceptance of and accommodations for autistic people in society."

Further the TAAP asks this question:

"What kind of help do autistics need in order to succeed and contribute to society as autistic people?"

A chief interest of the TAAP is to use science to investigate and debate the beliefs and educational needs of individuals with autism. I'd recommend checking out the website because it has good content and what looks like a wonderful art gallery of work done by people with autism.
Ms. Klar-Wolfond also has a blog called The Joy of Autism where she provides updates about the TAAP, voices opinions about current topics, and shares recent happenings in her life. Here is an recent update on the TAAP:

"[...]any of you may not know that The Autism Acceptance Project (TAAProject) sends out monthly newsletters and regular Newsflashes. Our e-mailing list is growing quite a lot and there's a lot of information in those newsletters that may not be in the blog or on the TAAProject website ( If you are interested in receiving newsletters, please email me, being specific in the subject line (RE: NEWSLETTER) and we will put you on the list ("

My thoughts: I'd like to point out that while I too like to celebrate the contributions and the diversity that people with autism make to society, Ms. Klar-Wolfond has much stronger opinions about various topics such as vaccines, biomedical treatments and media coverage than I do. I'm more objective and less likely to put myself solidly in one of the divisions that seem to exist in the autism community.

Ms. Klar Wolfond, however, seems very pro neurodiversity. She states on her blog that she does not see autism as a tragic epidemic (nor necessarily do I) and that does not want to see "a cure" for autism. As for me, I am open to biomedical treatments if they are not dangerous (a concern I share with today's featured mom) and lessen any physical or social discomfort an individual with autism might have. If, in the future, a doctor finds a safe biomedical treatment for autism that will vastly improve the quality of life for an individual, than I would be for it.

That said I admire this mother's determination to monitor media coverage and take on any media source (ie CNN) or organization (Autism Speaks) with whom she does not agree. She roars like a lioness while I am more likely meow like a domestic feline.

It had been awhile since I had visited the Joy of Autism so I was shocked to learn that the blogger recently underwent two surgeries for "borderline ovarian cancer." It seems so many of us blogger autism moms have faced challenges that are outside the realm of autism lately. She has reasons to always remember 2008 (her illness) as do I (mourning the loss of three people very dear to me). I wish her the best.


Ivar T said...

As a part of the neurodiversity community I am actually rather open-minded of inclusion of people who may believe in biomedical treatments to our projects others might feel for. While neurodiversity doesn't like the idea of a cure, I don't mind the idea of benefit from medical procedures even though it should lessen some characteristic traits of autism.

The only thing I really mind is the frequent misinformation related to biomedical treatments and when the autistic neurotype is made to be inferior to the neurotypical one - which cure movements often seem to do and base their actions on.

That said, I'm someone who have watched alot of things happen in the online world of autism and have moderated my opinions further than greener supporters of neurodiversity. So when I tried to approach other members of the forum Aspies for Freedom with the idea of a cooperation with people believing in biomedical treatments I got negative reactions. You could read it here:

J said...

To Ivar: Normally, I don't publish complete urls, but made the exception here.

In response to you A.F.F. posts, I too do my best to respect others and their beliefs about autism (which yes, does resemble religious sometimes.) Many people will stick to their beliefs no matter what.

I am glad that you moderated your beliefs somewhat in terms of biomedical treatments.

To Joe: Thank you for sending me the link (which I'll have to decline to publish) to the vaccine article. I do keep up with issue, though I haven't blogged much about it since I first began this blog.

Estee Klar-Wolfond said...

Thank you for your story on me. I appreciated how you did it. I believe in the safety and protection of all autistic people everywhere first and foremost, and for their right to be autistic. I am certainly not closed to anything that may assist an autistic person, and that being said, whilst upholding ethics and the best standards of science. I believe that we all want the best for our kids.

Again, thank you.

J said...

To Estee Klar-Wolfond. You are most welcome. I'm glad you appreciated the article.