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In Memoriam: Dr. Jeanette Holden

February 23, 2012   By Brenda Kosky Deskin

Advocacy & AwarenessAdvocacy Initiatives & Resources; Autism Victories; AutismResearch;

The Founder and Director of ASD-CARC, Dr. Jeanette Holden, passed away peacefully on the morning of February 22nd, 2012 after a long battle with leukemia. Jeanette was able to be at home, surrounded by the love of her family and many friends.

Known to many in the autism community as a passionate champion for people with autism spectrum disorders and their families, Jeanette was also the beloved sister of Jim, her 59 year-old brother with autism.

Jeanette joined hundreds of families in BC and Ontario in seeking help to provide respite and services for those caring for adults with autism –and met and spoken with thousands of families dealing with the challenges of autism across Canada. Their stories, and your own, inspired her to pursue her career path in autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities research for the last 30 years.

Through the formation of ASD-CARC and support from a CIHR Interdisciplinary Health Research Team grant, Jeanette was a brilliant and visionary leader who enabled the bringing together of more than 70 investigators from 12 major centers across Canada, the US, Europe and the UK for multidisciplinary research and knowledge exchange amongst individuals on the spectrum and their families, service providers, planners, and policymakers in partner­ship with Canadian and provincial autism agencies.

Many individuals and family members through ASD-CARC have come to know Jeanette through her regular postings on the website and through AutismCONNECTS, an online virtual autism community for knowledge exchange. A professor of Psychiatry and Physiology at Queen’s University and Director of the Autism Research Program at Ongwanada, as well as ASD-CARC, Jeanette generously contributed her considerable talents and scientific expertise to the autism community through participation on many autism advisory boards, societies and committees.

We have lost a dear friend, a great mentor, a brilliant educator, visionary researcher, passionate scientist and steadfast leader in the autism community. Although she will be deeply missed, Jeanette leaves a strong legacy enabled through ASD-CARC to further advance her vision and enable the common goals that she inspired. Together, with your continued support, we look forward to our continued partnership and collective efforts in working with you to honour Jeanette’s memory, remarkable career, support, love and compassion she shared with the global autism community and the quest for meaningful help and answers.

ASC-CARC has set up a page in memory of Jeanette. For anyone wishing to share their thoughts about Jeanette, please reply to this email with your message and it will be posted on the memory page and shared with her family and friends and the autism community.