OAARSN NEWS BULLETIN
18 March 2007
GENERAL AUTISM NEWS
Rising: A Possible Link Between Chemical Exposure And Autism May Have
Been Overlooked In The Very Earliest Cases At Johns Hopkins
Autism Genome Project Phase 2 Announced
Autism Speaks and an international consortium of researchers, philanthropists, government funding agencies, and participating families launched the second phase of the Autism Genome Project (AGP), a global scientific effort to discover the genes responsible for causing the autism. Read more and visit the new AGP section of our website. Plus, Autism Speaks' current funding of research into environmental factors of autism exceeds $4 million in grants. Learn details of the funded research. Canadian team launches second phase of international autism genome project
Decoding autism genes
Since the parent advocacy group, Cure Autism Now, started in 1995, a thousand families have contributed blood to the bank called the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange. CAN recently merged with the National Alliance for Autism Research and Autism Speaks, two other such groups, and all three now contribute DNA from families with autism. These databases are part of the Autism Genome Project, also reviewed in this news item from the perspective of scientists at Yale.
DNA 'glitches' tied to autism
Little glitches in the DNA of people with autism suggest that the disease might be caused by as many as 100 different genes, researchers reported March 15. "These findings certainly complicate the search for genes contributing to autism. These are rare changes, dispersed across the genome, and they tell us that autism may be the final common path for many different genetic abnormalities," said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute for Mental Health, which helped fund the study. The small changes are not what people usually think of as genetic mutations but are called copy number variations -- extra copies or missing stretches of DNA. For the study, Dr Jonathan Sebat of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and colleagues across the United States, in Finland and in Britain looked at the DNA of people in 264 families. Read a similar story in Scientific American
Autism Cymru: Welsh researchers find genetic clues to autism
New research by researchers in Wales has found that anomalies in clock genes which affect sleep, memory and timing may play a role in autism.
Fear centre 'shrinks' in autism
A part of the brain associated with emotional learning and fear shrinks in people with autism, researchers from the University of Wisconsin suggest in a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Teenagers and young men with autism in the study who had the most severe social impairment were found to have smaller than normal amygdalae. The amygdalae may shrink due to chronic stress caused by social fear in childhood.
People Scare Me' screening to provide inside look at autism
Review by Amy Kroin of Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant, by Daniel Tammet (Free Press, 226 pp., illustrated, $24).
Helping Ontario's most vulnerable
An article in the Toronto Star (16 March 2007), that concludes: "Not so long ago, people with intellectual disabilities were hidden behind the walls of institutions. Today, thanks to serious flaws in the system, the situation is really no better. We need to, and can, do much better than that. The opportunity is here, and the time is now."
Important New Release from the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario
IFCO is pressing purposefully to persuade the Ontario Government to move ahead in implementing the new directions announced three years ago. Read the new IFCO Signature Paper Transformation of Developmental Services: Expanding the Possibilities for Citizenship
IFCO issues are vital for
CARE HOME ACCESS PROTOCOL
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March 23 – 25, 2007, in Toronto
March 23 – 25, 2007, in Toronto
Thursday March 29, 2007
Seminar Series on Community Based Research
Audrey King, Hazel Self and Karen Yoshida on
Consumer Participation: The Value of Relationship in Teaching and Research
Click on series title for more. To Register: e-mail email@example.com
This FREE seminar series is for you if you believe in the value of collaborative research and want to learn more from people doing it. You will find this seminar of value if you are interested in:
April 25, at 7pm, in Kitchener
Magnificent Moms: Amy Baskin on Keeping Strong, Sane and Connected
Kitchener Public Library
Please click on title for more
2nd International Come To Your Senses Conference
Opening the Sensory World to Children & Adults with Complex Disabilities
By MukiBaum Treatment Centres
Registration is now at http://www.sensoryconference.ca/ and you can take advantage of Early Bird rates. There will be opportunities for you and your organization to exhibit, become a sponsor of the event and participate in a number of activities throughout the conference.
"Special Needs" Planning Group offers
Tax Tips - 2006 Taxation Year
Graeme Treeby of The Special Needs Planning Group has teamed up with Doug Cronin C.G.A., Community Living York South and The Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy to prepare and distribute a free tax information guide for people with disabilities and their families. The purpose of this guide is threefold:
1. To introduce people to the Disability Amount, Caregiver Amount and the T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate used to secure them.
2. To share a FREE Process to Get Back Taxes That Should Never Have Paid in the first place and that people can now get back through the FREE Re-File Program.
3. To highlight many of the Tax Deductions, Credits and Benefits that are available to people with disabilities and their families.
Click on title to read whole guide.
Autism: It's Not Just in the Head
The devastating derangements of autism also show up in the gut and in the immune system. That unexpected discovery is sparking new treatments that target the body in addition to the brain. By Jill Neimark for Discover Magazine. This report comes from Discover Magazine, April 2007 edition, now on the news stands. It is not available yet online. To learn more about magazine's availability, please click on title.
Facilitating Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Disabilities
A published article by Kerry Wynn, Debra Stewart, Mary Law, Jan Burke-Gaffney, and Therese Moning describes a community capacity-building (CCB) approach to assisting transition to adulthood for families and youth with developmental disabilities. A pilot project using this approach in one community in Ontario is described with “lessons learned” for future projects.
Wynn, K., Stewart, D., Law, M., Burke-Gaffney, J., & Moning, T. (2006). Creating connections: A community capacity-building project with parents and youth with disabilities in transition to adulthood. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics , 26, 89-103. Published by The Haworth Press, Inc.Link to text of paper in pdf
Interesting Models and Resources on the New Website
of the National Autistic Society (UK)
High-functioning autistic spectrum conditions and adult life
Adults with high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome, and their parents and carers, are invited to complete an online questionnaire. This is intended only for adults in the UK, but the survey is interesting for others to peruse. CLick on title.
Questionnaire on autism interventions
Difficulty finding high quality information about autism interventions? The charity Research Autism is running a survey to hear about your experiences. Again, an interesting model for others outside the UK. Click on title. The National Autistic Society (NAS) has launched a new web resource, Signpost, tailored specifically for people with autism, their parents and carers. The site is aimed at providing people with autism with vital information that could change their lives. The resource was developed after research published by the NAS underlined the need for greater information and support to be made available to parents and carers. For example, the charity has found that 36% of carers do not understand the benefits system, or know what benefits they are entitled to. Over half of carers were unaware that they were entitled to a carer's assessment from their social services department, and 45% of parents said they did not receive adequate support or information to choose a school. Furthermore, only 38% of people with an autistic spectrum disorder have had a community care assessment, and only 16% were offered this without specifically requesting it. "Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects different people in different ways,” said Benet Middleton, NAS Director of Communications. “This means that finding the appropriate support for each individual, in their local area, can be a real minefield.” She added that it is vital that people with autism and their families are aware of their entitlements so they can access services, benefits and support that could ease some of the pressure on their lives. Signpost was designed to point people in the right direction.
The new Signpost system matches data specifically to each person, taking into account their age, diagnosis, gender and location. It gives detailed information on how autism may be affecting that particular person, their rights and the benefits that they may be entitled to. Relevant services and sources of support are also highlighted, tailored to the user's location anywhere in the UK.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder Action Plan for Wales
Autism Cymru: Come and have your say on the future of services for people with autism in Wales
Another possible model for planning autism services and supports.
adults with autism is usually negative. We receive many appeals for
where to turn for help--with diagnosis and assessment, advocacy,
the future, alternatives to approaches that are not working. There are
virtually no obvious sources of help for isolated adults with autism
Shinsuke Inoue of Tokyo writes
"I'm using my pen name "Ryu Terayama" on this blog. I'm discussing about this theory with professor Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge university ARC (Autism Research Centre) and he told me it quite correspond to some of their ideas. As I am a freelance, I'm looking for some position for researching. If you have or you know some opening please let me know."
We know that some adults and their families and caregivers are heroically using what resources they have to achieve some successes with their challenges. Some can report remarkable progress. We invite you, as an adult or caregiver living with autism, to share your perceptions, problems and success stories, if you think others might help or benefit.