Monday, March 5, 2012

Clara Clairborne Park

Autism Light #161 is Clara Clairborne Park.

Clara Clairbone Park is a mother of a girl with autism named Jessica Park. She was an author and an American English teacher. Clara Clairbone Park was born on August 19, 1923 and died on July 3, 2010 in a nursing home in Williamston, Massachusetts. Her obituary was written by the New York Times. Clara Clairbone Park is being made an Autism Light posthumously, because her writing made a difference for autism awareness during a very critical period of the history of autism. She will also be added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll.

Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, director of the Yale University Child Study Center said of Clara Clairbone Park:
She was one of the first parents who had the courage to share their story at a time when autism was poorly understood. Since she first published her book, wider recognition of autism and early diagnosis have led to new treatments and improved outcomes (Source).
The Siege: Clara Clairborne Park wrote her book called The Siege: The First Eight Years of an Autistic Child in 1967. The book is one of the first books by a parent of a child with autism and chronicles her journey to help her daughter Jessica who has autism to grow socially, emotionally, and intellectually. It is also one of the first books to refute the now debunked Refrigerator Mother theory of autism being caused by detached mothers.

Exiting Nirvana: The sequel to The Siege was Exiting Nirvana: A Daughter's Life with Autism and was published in 2001. The book tells the journey into adulthood of her daughter. Jessica Park has worked for years in the mailroom at Williams College and is also an artist who has her own website.

Education: Clara Clairborne Park graduated from the University of Michigan in 1949 with a Master's degree in English Literature.

English Professor: Clara Clairbone Park was on the faculty of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts from 1975-1994.

Wikipedia: For more information on Clara Clairbone Park visit her Wikipedia Page.

Other Information: Other information on Clara Clairbone Park is available at these websites:
Special thanks to Clara Clairborne Park for her contributions in her life to the cause to autism. May her memory continue to inspire us.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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