A black and white photo of researcher Estée Klar

Estée Klar is completing her PhD at York University in Critical Disability Studies. She holds former degrees in Fine Art/Art History. Her interdisciplinary research creates a new experimental method for collaborating with autistic experience and knowledge, focusing on the non-speaking autistic community through arts-based intra-ethnography.

Her work draws upon new materialist and process philosophy to engage autistic proprioceptive/sensory knowledge and being and relational ethics. She has worked for 14 years with the autistic community as a popular blogger and Canadian activist, challenging the growing support for behavioural intervention of autistic people in Canada. Her first exhibition was Beyond Words: The Drawings of Jonathan Lerman which began a dialogue about non-speaking autism and rights. She also initiated the exhibitions and events around The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life, which was the first exhibition to portray the emergent autism rights/neurodiversity movement. She founded The Autism Acceptance Project which has been recognized by The United Nations “as one of the first events to support autism acceptance,” and created The A School – a community school for social justice in education to enact inclusion. She has contributed chapters to various books and articles for publication in the field including Wendy Lawson’s, Concepts of Normality: The Autistic and Typical Spectrum. Her current research collaborates with her non-speaking autistic son, Adam, who types to communicate in words, and explores what autistic experience tells us (non autistics) about how to support for inclusion.

Estée is a collaborator on this project. She was also a participant in the October workshop with her son, Adam, producing a short video that focused on how intervention presupposes autism as non-relational and inattentive. Juxtaposed against what Adam has to say about his movement and thinking, we explore the material effects of the meta-narrative of autism-as-pathology in our lives.