Filed Under () by Estee on 19-11-2008
Estée Klar, founder and executive director of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com) is the mother of a young autistic son named Adam. She is a writer and a freelance curator of art and a graduate student of Critical Disability Studies at York University, entering into doctoral study at the University of Toronto in 2013. Her interests lie in human rights, Inclusion, art and writing, and she lectures at universities and organizations throughout North America.
The purpose of TAAProject began in order to support autistic individuals to advocate for themselves and to stand alongside them in order that they receive the accommodations they need in order to contribute to society as they are. Two major events occurred as a result of this project including two exhibitions, a major lecture series and a CBC documentary titled “Positively Autistic.” This website can be viewed at www.taaproject.com. It is a Canadian registered charity.
In order to support and enrich the autistic community, Estée discusses how we must view autism as a way of being and a natural form of human difference. Estée continues to discuss this in her writing and her work on various boards and committees in Toronto including The Koffler Centre for the Arts, The Inclusion Committee (Itanu) of UJA, her son’s school, and several other committees. She continues to be a freelance curator of art, now focusing on building an “Outsider Art” collection in greater Toronto in order to exhibit and discuss the ways in which society has looked upon disability historically and investigate the issues confronting us today.
Estée began her public speaking career when she noticed that autistic people were not being included in schools, places of employment, and most community programs. Digging deeper, she discovered that few, if any, autistic adults were included on autism or school, government or autism organization policy committees regarding autism education and supports. Knowing that her son was not the “misery,” “burden,” or “blight on society,” that certain “autism advocates” and media described autistic children to be, Estée launched into research and writing on disability rights and inclusion and spent time traveling across North America to meet autistic self-advocates and their families.
A Brief History of The Autism Acceptance Project:
In 2005, Estée curated Beyond Words: The Drawings of Jonathan Lerman at the Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto in order to raise positive awareness about autism and dispel many of the myths surrounding it. Due to it’s overwhelming success, Estée decided to incorporate The Autism Acceptance Project to both empower parents and autistic people, but also to lay a positive foundation of acceptance and supports for autistic people in schools and in the workplace. She has taken the initiative to a variety of other organizations. In 2006, she launched a Toronto lecture series at the Al Greene Theatre in downtown Toronto and another gallery exhibition that received world-wide media attention called: The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life.
Estée is the author of journal articles on art and autism and contributing contributing author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood released by Key Porter Books in 2007. She wrote “The Mismeasure of Autism: The Basis of Current Autism ‘Advocacy’ for the book Concepts of Normality: The Autistic and Typical Spectrum by Wendy Lawson in 2008, and her piece The Soothing Sense of A, among articles on different subjects other than autism are in the works. She studied creative writing at The Humber School For Writers and The University of Toronto yet prior to her intensive interest in writing, she wrote regular columns regarding art from 1987-1995 after graduating from U of T in Fine Art History and working subsequently as a curator of art. She has since written for numerous magazines on autism as well as book reviews for various journals.
She has also been keeping a weblog entitled The Joy of Autism (2005-2008) in support of neurodiversity and dignity for autistic people which is now archived on this new website www.esteeklar.com in PDF format. She continues to write her blog where she discusses books, the writing process, autism and single parenting, and she is currently writing her first book.
To contact her directly, please write, email@example.com.