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Hello!

I just wanted to say that I was so impressed with the recent gallery exhibit at the gallery here in Forest Hill. It touched me so much to see the work of these children…it was so beautiful. I’ve worked with children with autism for about seven years now and know the importance of the things that they have to say and teach us. It especially impacted me as I want to become an art therapist. I was wondering if I could volunteer in some way for this project, I’d be willing to help out anywhere in the city.
Please let me know how I can be a part of this!!!Anna Frenette from Toronto

Dear Mrs. Klar-Wolfond,

I am a mother in the US that has a little boy who has Autism. Chase was diagnosed in September of 2004, he will be 5 in three weeks. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you are doing and I would love to see something similar in the US. I have felt like I am alone in the idea that it is ok to accept Chase for who he is. I just want to love him and find joy in his progress as well as his “Autistic tendencies”. I am angered by people who tell me that my son is a tragedy and part of an epidemic and I should jump on the cure band wagon. I can relate to when you say that people assume you have a “high-functioning” child or that you must be in denial. I do not fit either of those categories, yet I feel I should have the right to accept my child and embrace his diagnosis. I am frightened that I am sending my child into a world that has been told that Autism is curable and a government scam. Anyway, I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate that you are able to articulate what is in my heart. Thank you so much!Toni Modglin from USA

I have been reading with Interests both your blog and the Autism Acceptance Project website; the philosophy of the Autism Acceptance Project is very much part of the culture of Autism NI. I am currently writing some new literature for our Charity and I would like to include some of the positive and encouraging ideas you and the Autism Acceptance Project have expressed, is this ok with you? Is there anyone else I need to seek permission from? I am not sure exactly which sections we are going to use as yet.

We are the main Autism Charity in N Ireland and have over 700 members which is good when you consider that there are only just over a million people in N Ireland, we?re pretty small in comparison to our Canadian and North American neighbours ? Canada was showcased really beautifully in Snowcake I have to say.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on Michelle Dawson, and Prof Mottron ? ideally we would love to host them in N Ireland, we already have a great friendship with Wendy Lawson who I know is a great fan of Michelle and her writings.

Congratulations on a great and inspiring site and blog ? you are touching people.Fiona McCaffrey, from Northern Ireland

I attended the lectures and found them well organized and extremely helpful in understanding autism. The opening night of the art show was spectacular. Watching Jonathan Lerman and Larry Bissonette was a joy.

Congratulations to you and your wonderful team who worked so diligently to make the Autism Acceptance Project such a great success.Irene from Toronto

Thank you, thank you. I am the mother of a wonderful 2-year-old girl with autism. I would not change or “cure” her for anything. She is living proof that the myths of autism are just that, and she has gifts and abilities that I have never seen in a neurotypical person. I am tired of people telling me her limitations. She is going to set the world on fire.Rachel from Edmond, Oklahoma

I realize that I have not had to face the same challenges as parents of extremely low functioning autistic children, but I am surrounded in my life by people who can still found the joy. I am so grateful for that. In poor taste, to celebrate that joy? Not at all. Stephanie, I am sorry that you and your family felt it was. I am sorry that you cannot see the ingorance in the strangers who find your child a burden. The last time my child threw a tantrum in public, I was given understanding. By strangers. If there was anything else, I wouldn’t know. I block it out. Why can’t you? The greatest gift my child has given me is to realize how ridiculous it is to care what anyone else thinks. When we allow ourselves to become slaves to society’s concepts of what our children should be, we not only harm our children, but we also harm ourselves. God gave me a special needs child to raise for a reason. Not to burden me, but to teach me something I need to know. I’m learning. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t things about the spectrum I wouldn’t like to change or medically deal with, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t work daily to help my child overcome the areas in which he struggles. But it does mean that I refuse to give in to misery. I can’t believe that misery is what God intended for me, or for my child. Or for you and your child.

I am grateful that this site exists, and for the founder’s ability to express so beautifully the joy that many have found in their unique children. Perhaps it isn’t the only voice that has merit, but it most definitely is a voice that must be heard.Debbie W from California

In having done research on special needs students I agree with the need to raise the bar to the concept of acceptance rather than the notion of tolerance. I also have seen that although there are negative notions like eugenics, these same ideas prompt parents to advocate and raise awareness and thus promote acceptance. I believe the Joy of Autism speaks volumes to raising the bar. And I believe all people should view acceptance and understanding the same way they view the need to breathe, or eat. A global community predicated on kindness is not a new concept and is often referred to as a utopian ideal however put another way, why not embrace our inner hope and motivate others to focus on the positive and make the conscious choice of acceptance? Bravo to the TAA Project for listening to their inner voice and embarking on a journey which can only result in making the lives of others better. Thank you.MaryAnne from Mississauga

Your TAAproject video. It is outstanding. May I have permission to post a link to it on the savant syndrome website which I maintain at www.savantsyndrome.com?

Your whole project is to be commended. In my work with savants I seek the potential and dignity in these special persons that your project highlights so well.And it is refreshing to hear words of acceptance, appreciation and worth rather than this terrible ‘epidemic’ as if it was some kind of curse. ‘

In my work with savants I have also been trying to emphasize ‘training the talent’ rather than trying to ‘eliminate the defect’ because training the talent works to not only increase the skill, but to also increase language skills, social skills and daily living skills as a side benefit (without any dreaded tradeoff of special skills for these gains in other areas)

Again, congratulations on your work and ‘mission’.. One with which heartily agree and endorse.Darold Treffert from University of Wisconsin

I’m an Autistic musician doing positive “autistic culture edutainment” and presentations along these same philosophical lines. I am OVERJOYED to see other people/organizations erring on the side of dignity and humnan rights for AS people. Your existence gives me even more confidence to gently but firmly present the view of “difference, not disability” for the sake of the kids and us kids who grew up into bitter scarred adults. My heart grieves for parents caught up in the negative spiral of interventions and therapies designed to mimic “normalcy” who lash out at us in anger for not understanding their suffering. Thanks for being part of the light of a new way!TR Kelley – The Raventones from Western Oregon USA

Thank you. I am a speech-language pathologist and I truely embrace your thoughts.Tina from Unitied States

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