Mental Health News Education, Inc. (MHNE), publisher of Autism Spectrum News (ASN), is proud to announce that Linda J. Walder, Esq., Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, has become the newest member of the ASN Editorial Board.
Linda J. Walder is the Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF), a national autism organization focused on adults. The mission of the all-volunteer run organization is to develop, advocate for and fund programs that create innovative ways for the diverse population of adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to participate in and contribute to community life. The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Signature Programs co-developed and funded by the DJF Foundation can be found throughout the United States and include residential, vocational/employment, educational and recreational opportunities that are blueprints for replication in grassroots communities throughout the world. In addition, Linda is recognized as a “social entrepreneur” who has created and brought to fruition a wide range of informational resources, public policy, and most recently has pioneered a collaborative vision with outstanding universities to establish endowed programs assuring in perpetuity that there will be research, programs and support systems focused on adult autism. The first of these endowed programs are The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Adult Autism Research Fund at Yale Medical School and The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Transition and Adult Programs at the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Linda and the DJF Board of Trustees are planning for several more endowed programs to be announced in 2016. The vision of the DJF Foundation is for all adults diagnosed with autism to have opportunities that honor their individuality, strengths and talents. This is the wish that Linda had for her own son Danny who passed away at age 9 and in whose memory The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is named. The website can be found at http://djfiddlefoundation.org/.
Linda has received numerous honors for her volunteer work heading up DJF that have included a Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference, the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and honors from the New Jersey Coalition of Inclusive Ministries and ASAH, New Jersey’s association of special education private schools and agencies. Linda also received Redbook magazine’s “Strength & Spirit” Award and was featured, as one of the five most inspirational women in the United States. She has been recognized before the New Jersey legislature for her humanitarian efforts that “exemplify a standard of excellence towards which others should strive.” In September 2011, Linda received the “Seeds of Hope” award for her leadership in the field of Autism and was featured in NJ Monthly Magazine’s September, 2011 issue. In March 2012, United States Senator Robert Menendez honored Linda with the “Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award,” for her pioneering work on behalf of the Autism community. In 2013, Linda was the first recipient of Autism Spectrum News’ “Beacon of Hope Award.” In 2014 Linda was awarded the “Classic Woman Award” by Traditional Home Magazine for her philanthropic efforts.
As a spokeswoman and expert on adult autism, Linda has appeared in news media including Dateline NBC, News 12 New Jersey, WOR News Radio and in publications including The New York Times, Parade Magazine, USA Today and The Bergen Record. Linda has also moderated Congressional briefings on adult autism and a panel of experts at the United Nations for World Autism Day. Linda’s blog entitled, Autism for a Lifetime: Finding Joy in the Journey offers unique perspectives on adult autism for those directly affected by autism and the community at large.
David Minot, Associate Director of MHNE and Publisher of Autism Spectrum News stated, “Linda has been an unofficial advisor and friend to Autism Spectrum News for years and is the driving force behind countless top notch programs and initiatives across the country that are providing adult individuals with autism vital opportunities to achieve the best and most productive lives possible. I look forward to working with Linda to enhance the content of Autism Spectrum News by addressing issues related to the growing adult population with autism through education. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Board at MHNE in praising Linda’s work and welcoming her to the ASN Editorial Board.”
To see the full listing of the Autism Spectrum News Editorial Board, please visit www.mhnews-autism.org/editorial_board.htm.