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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Passing of Dr Jeannette Holden

I just found out that Jeannette Holden passed away yesterday morning.  She did a lot in the Autism communities, including working on genetic research.  Of course, some of what she worked with I haven't made up my mind about, but I worked with her on the Board for the Kingston Foundation for Autism.  She always treated me with respect, and valued my input.  It was she that wanted me to sit on the Board as an Autistic voice regarding the Board's activities. 

At the last meeting that we had, she had an idea to create an art gallery featuring local Autistic artists.  She asked that I be a part of the project, given that's more or less what I did when she met me at Kerry's Place Autism Services, and my own talents as an artist.  I hope that I can continue the project, knowing that the gallery will do much to increase Autism awareness and acceptance in the community, and that would be something she would want. 

The following is the email announcement from Autism Ontario

Dear friends of Autism Ontario,

If you have not already heard the sad news about the passing of Dr. Jeanette Holden, please see the announcement below from her colleagues at Queen's University. Memories may be shared at the link below or you can click here (http://www.asdcarc.com/index.php/publisher/articleview/frmArticleID/477/staticId/1511/ ).

Jeanette was a strong supporter of Autism Ontario and was actively involved in our organization as a Chapter member, a member of our Research Committee and also served for many years on Autism Ontario's Board of Directors. In 2003 Autism Ontario also honoured Jeanette by creating the "Jeanette Holden Post-Secondary Entrance Scholarship for Siblings of Individuals with ASD." Over 60 siblings in Ontario have received a scholarship in her name.

She was a staunch supporter of families raising children and adults with ASD and brought that message to government leaders, autism committees, research forums, parent meetings, ASD conferences, and to anyone with whom she came in contact. She was a regular contributor to our magazine, Autism Matters, and joined the Ontario Partnership for Adults with Autism and Aspergers (OPAAA) in creating the "Forgotten" paper on the needs of adults with ASD.

Our hearts go out to Jeanette's family, many friends and colleagues whose lives have been impacted by her and her vision of "acceptance and opportunities for all people with ASD". She will be sorely missed.


Margaret Spoelstra
Executive Director