Linda J. Walder is co-founder, president and executive director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation for Adult Autism established in 2002 as a continuing legacy and honor in the name of her son, Daniel Jordan Fiddle, who passed away at age 9. It was Linda’s vision that started a movement to embrace the fact that autism is lifelong and that the diverse population of adults should be valued as individuals as a matter of human rights. Linda’s unique hands-on approach to developing, advocating for and funding programs, creating resources—and, most recently, designing the first adult autism-focused endowment funds at leading U.S. universities—has blazed a trail that will guarantee innovation concentrating on adult autism now and for generations to come.
Linda has received over 20 honors of recognition for her visionary and inspiring efforts that opened doors for autistic adults to have opportunities to work, live and recreate in their communities. Linda works tirelessly with legislators in Washington, D.C. and on the statewide level to develop public policy that supports the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. Collaboratively, Linda has spearheaded the creation of much-needed resources: from a pocket transportation troubleshooting guide that promotes independent use of buses and trains to a guide on the prevalent co-morbid condition on autism and epilepsy, to name a few.
Linda is also a writer and motivator, using her blog “Autism for a Lifetime: Finding Joy in the Journey,” along with her numerous published articles, appearances of television and other media as a means of fostering awareness about adult autism and promoting thoughtful discourse on prevalent issues. In 2016, Linda joined the editorial board of Autism Spectrum News. That same year, “The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Leader in Adult Autism Award” was established in partnership with the Autism Society of America as an enduring source of inspiration to the autism community and beyond and in recognition of the strengths and talents of adults with autism—and those who exemplify leadership through their supportive endeavors.