Where is Sharisa Joy Kochmeister? The War for Safety, Personhood, and Competence.


This was the first project to support autistic people and their work in Canada. Founded in 2006, the project brought artists and lectures to Toronto by autistic people and was recognized as one of the first events to support autism acceptance in a letter by The Autistic Self Advocacy Network to the United Nations. The founders of this project, Estee Klar and her son Adam Wolfond, now operate The A School in Toronto - a community school for social justice and inclusion. Estee is completing her PhD in Critical Disability Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her dissertation is a collaboration with Adam: "Relationshapes: Enacting Intraethnography for Inclusive Autism Pedagogy." You can visit her and Adam's blogs at


TAAPboard_with_adamTAAP was founded in 2006 by Estée Klar with an autistic advisory and board. Financial support for the project came from private donations. The project started after Klar, an art curator, writer and mother to a child labeled autistic, discovered the work by autistic individuals. She organized a major exhibition in Toronto with the work of Jonathan Lerman in 2005. From 2006-7, she, with the assistance and support of autistic people and volunteers, organized The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life. The event was an exhibition of a dozen autistic artists as well as video and other installations which illustrated the burgeoning autistic rights movement and forwarded the concept of Neurodiversity. The exhibitions were held at The Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto and the lecture series was held at the Al Greene Theatre.  The event was front page news in Canada as it forwarded the notion of an autistic rights movement and the social construction of disability. Further, non-verbal presenters who could type presented their ideas to a packed gallery, deconstructing the notion that verbal communication conflates with intelligence and awareness. After the events, TAAP held a series of support groups lead by autistic individuals for parents who had never met an autistic adult.

Recently, our website was hacked. This site is an effort to reconstruct all the work that our participants put into the project. We have attempted to collect photos of the exhibitions to give you a sense of its scope. Our online gallery will continue to accept new submissions, and Autspoken will continue to accept the writing by autistic individuals. Looking forward, our goal is to continue to work with the larger disability communities in gaining supports and access that autistic individuals deserve. Barriers to inclusion still exist, and through an arts-based project such as TAAP, we will be seeking ways to create an emancipatory organization that, through the arts and with discourse, will join the cadre of autistic people and their families seeking social acceptance, inclusion and equality based on the premise that autistic people are different and equal members of society. We look forward to working with you towards these important goals.


The United Nations designated April 2, 2008, as World Autism Day to raise awareness of the need to improve education, career opportunities, and community services and supports for Autistic individuals.

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