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Send news, announcements and comments to gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca We welcome news items, announcements of autism events, new information, discussion questions and comments, and accounts of experience.

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  11 April 2007


The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology's report recommended a national symposium on autism that is conducted with a clear set of goals and defined outcomes and based on consensus building. This is being planned for June. Click to read the report Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis.

Autism work honoured: first chair in autism research funded by Ontario Government
Dr Rob Nicolson has been named the first chair in autism studies at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, thanks to a $2 million, one-time grant from the province.

'The Eyes Have It' - Autism Research Yields Surprising Results
Autistic children are able to interpret the mental state of others by looking at their eyes, contrary to previous research, a new University of Nottingham study has found. In findings that contradict previous studies, psychologists found that autistic children can 'read' a stranger's mental state based on that person's eyes. Autistic children have long been thought to be poor at interpreting people's mental states based on facial expressions, especially expressions around the eyes. Some researchers believe that this lack of ability could be central to the social problems experienced by autistic children and adults. But the latest findings, published in the latest issue of the journal Child Development, cast doubt on this hypothesis. Autistic children were able to interpret mental states when looking at animated facial expressions. The findings also suggest that the use of moving images, rather than conventional still pictures, gives a much more accurate measure of the abilities of autistic children. Researchers hope that by increasing understanding of autism, their findings may ultimately help in the teaching and treatment of people with the condition.

Watching videos can help children with autism learn social skills
Two new studies at Indiana University demonstrate that videos depicting exemplary behaviors can be effective in helping children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders develop social skills and daily living skills.

Kennedy Krieger Institute Launches First US National Online Autism Registry

For families interested in taking part in autism research, Kennedy Krieger's new national online autism registry may be of great interest. Kennedy Krieger is a major research institution, and the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) (www.IANproject.org) is intended to serve several different functions, including:
-Data Collection - Parents of children with autism will be engaged online, providing valuable genealogical, environmental and treatment data without having to leave their home or office. By the end of the year, IAN’s goal is to have the largest pool of family-provided data on autism, enabling researchers to explore hypotheses and search for parallels among affected children in ways that have not been previously possible.
-Research Recruitment - IAN will match parents of children with autism with local and national IRB-approved research studies for which they are uniquely qualified. Each year, many autism studies are not completed because scientists cannot find enough qualified participants in a timely manner. By facilitating the process of research recruitment, IAN aims to remove this stumbling block.
-Community Building - the IAN project hopes to engage the entire autism community – from parents to policy makers to the media – in an online meeting place where they can become more knowledgeable consumers of autism research. This arm of the IAN project provides consumer-friendly, evidence-based information about autism, explains the value of research in general, and gives updates on current and future research studies.
On a related note, the National Autistic Society has launched an online questionnaire for autistic adults living the United Kingdom. This project is intended to gather information in order to help improve services to British adults on the autism spectrum.

Autism a lifelong burden, study shows
Andre Picard's column in The Globe and Mail points out that "because few adults with the disorder can work, the economic costs continue." He quotes a new study, published this week in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, that examines how these costs are incurred throughout the lifetime of a person with autism. The study showed that direct medical costs were high in the first five years of life, at about $35,000 annually (all US dollars). That is when most behavioural therapies are offered. The indirect costs to parents, in large part due to lost income, are also quite high in the childhood and adolescent years, averaging $43,000 annually. But as a person with autism ages, the costs of non-medical care soars, and so do productivity losses. Costs for programs for autistic adults are paid out-of-pocket, with costs averaging $27,500 a year. Many people with the disorder do not work and their parents still need to provide care, factors that translate into economic losses averaging $52,000 annually, according to the research. The lead author is quoted as saying that costs of specialized adult care should awaken parents to the need for financial planning. "Parents of children with autism should seek financial counselling to help plan the transition into adulthood."
Read full text of this article
Look at all contents for special Autism issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine

In Autism, Hope at Any Age
Susan Senator begins an article in the Washington Post:
"What does last month's news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- that autism incidence is now 1 in 150--mean to me, a mother of a 17-year-old severely autistic boy? Unfortunately, almost nothing." Encouraged by a small burst of independence by her son, she continues:
..."if we strike while the iron is hot we might end up making a huge difference in his future, his independence. We are not alone. The many families of older autistic children have needs, too. We want support such as home-based therapy and job training for our children. We want housing for them. We want to know that they will get the right kind of care when they are adults. And we want educational strategies for them, because often autistic people bloom late, as my boy has."



Please send submissions for this news bulletin or for the OAARSN Calendar and Bulletin Board in plain text format by email to ebloomfi@uoguelph.ca with "announcement" at the beginning of the subject line.
Please provide details of the following as BRIEFLY as possible: 
Name of Event
 Main Speakers and Topics of Event 
 Date of Event 
 City and Location of Event
 Contact information to learn more about event
 URL Link for more information/registration 

 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments

Regional Support Associates
RSA (based in Woodstock) "provides services to adults with a developmental disability. The staff have clinical expertise and training in Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Nursing, Speech Pathology, Behaviour Therapy, and Developmental Services. Services are offered to the individual, their families and agencies supporting them in their community."
Click for RSA Workshop Calendar, January to March 2007
Also check the website for the calendar for the coming year, till March 2008.

Autism One Radio Schedule

A Worldwide, Web-Based Radio Station for the Care, Treatment, and Recovery
of Children with Autism  http://www.autismone.org/radio


April 20-22, 2007, in Alexandria, VA
DAN! Spring 2007 Conference
"DAN!® is known throughout the world as the premier conference (for both parents and clinicians) to come and learn the safest and most effective biomedical interventions for successfully treating autism. DAN!® provides a decision making framework for addressing biomedical issues presented by individuals with autism. DAN!® brings the most credible speakers on the subject of treating autism to the podium."

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

Saturday April 28, 2007
, 9:30 am–3:45 pm
Family Alliance Ontario Annual Conference 
Organizing Differently:  Circles and Not-for-profit Societies       
Location: McMaster University
Keynote Speaker: Susannah Joyce
Morning Presentation: "The Potential of Relationship: 3 Working Circles explain why they place their hope in people and why a circle of support is a good way to hold people together." Afternoon Presentation: “Andrew’s Aroha” by the Bloomfield family of Guelph. Andrew's Aroha is a legally incorporated entity (microboard) to flow individualized funds to and sustain high quality of life of persons with disabilities, supported by their family and friends.

Cost: $30.00 per person/$40.00 per family
Register through Hamilton Family Network Click for flyer with more details

May 10, in
London Ontario
Autism Ontario London Chapter presents
Temple Grandin at Centennial Hall, London
Click on link to reach information about admission prices.

May 23 – 27, 2007, Sheraton Centre Toronto

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.

June 15 & 16, 2007

2007 Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference
Acceptance and Opportunities: See the Potential

A conference that will explore best practices and approaches for increasing quality of life, opportunities and independence. Save the Date! Friday, June 15 & Saturday, June 16, 2007 Toronto, Ontario
Member and Early Bird Registration discounts are available.
Keep an eye on www.autismontario.com for more information to be released in the coming months.

31 August, 1 & 2 September 2007, in Oslo, Norway
8th International Congress Autism Europe
Abstract submission, registration and further Congress information:

E-mail: president@autismeurope.org
Do not miss this opportunity to contribute to take part in ‘a World of Possibilities’ for people with autism and their families, view the 4th International Art Exhibition of Persons with Autism, and to visit Oslo and its charming surroundings.



New book by member of the OAARSN network....
Help Him Make You Smile: The Development of Intersubjectivity in the Atypical Child
by Rita S. Eagle, PhD. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Cloth 0-7657-0496-X / 978-0-7657-0496-2 Mar 28, 2007 336pp. List Price: $80.00
Paper 0-7657-0497-8 / 978-0-7657-0497-9 Mar 28, 2007 336pp. List Price: $34.95
15 % off online orders. Click on title to reach publishers.

Intersubjectivity refers to the motivation and capacity to connect and share one's own inner world with that of another person. This book addresses the questions: how does this precious human communication develop in infancy, and what can or should be done when it does not develop? The author presents a unique chronicle describing the day-by-day emergence of intersubjectivity in her infant son, born with neurodevelopmental disabilities. These observations are analyzed in the context of a critical review of theory and research about intersubjectivity in normal children and in children with atypical development. From both sources emerges a model for how intersubjectivity develops in the parent-infant interaction, and guidelines for how to intervene when it does not. While acknowledging the inroads that have been made in understanding this unique human capacity, the author points to the questions that remain to be addressed in future research. The book ends with a rare opportunity to follow the trajectory of her son's capacity for intersubjectivity over a period of more than thirty years. It is addressed to theorists and researchers; clinicians who work with infants and children with developmental disorders and their families; and parents who want to understand their children's development.

Deep inside the autism enigma
Reflecting the increased awareness of ASD, The Globe and Mail gave the centrefold pages of its weekend magazine on SaturdayApril 7 to a review by Marti Leimbach of two new books. Click on title to read this review.

Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism by Roy Richard Grinker (Basic Books, 340 pages, $32.50).
Grinker, professor of anthropology and director of the George Washington Institute of Ethnographic Research, is interested in autism both professionally as well as personally. His daughter Isabel was diagnosed in 1994, and his warmth and compassion for autistic children and parents alike shines through this immensely readable and informative narrative that looks closely at how culture influences the ways we understand, classify and treat autistic-spectrum disorders.
Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism by Portia Iversen (Riverhead, 391 pages, $31). Portia Iversen argues that even "low functioning" autistic people are anything but retarded. Her introduction to the mystifying condition was through her child. Together with her husband, Jon Shestack, she established Cure Autism Now (CAN), an organization of scientists, parents and clinicians committed to the acceleration of research into the causes, prevention and treatment of autism. But this book's focus is on what she and others have learned from Tito Mukhopadhyay, a brilliant young man from India who is severely affected by autism, yet is an eloquent writer with an IQ of 185.

Kids with Asperger's Syndrome: Bullied on a Daily Basis
Text of the ABCNews show, with useful video links.



News about adults with autism is usually negative. We receive many appeals for advice on where to turn for help--with diagnosis and assessment, advocacy, planning for the future, alternatives to approaches that are not working. There are virtually no obvious sources of help for isolated adults with autism and their caregivers.


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.