ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK
OAARSN NEWS BULLETIN
  25 June 2007



OAARSN offers information and communication tools that can put you in touch with others. We can all benefit from the opportunities for mutual support, encouragement and information sharing. We hope that OAARSN's efforts to promote positive approaches and best practices in supporting adults with autism can help all who live and work on the front lines. Click on OAARSN's main page

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See our archive of past OAARSN news bulletins.
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You may be interested in our Creative Supports Bulletins which carry news about disabilities and special abilities and creative strategies more generally. See for example:  http://www.ont-autism.uoguelph.ca/CS-20060720.html

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.

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 announcements 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 if you have an online version to which you can provide a link.

Please note that this service is for information and awareness. We cannot endorse or be held responsible for the validity of any information or the value of any therapy or service. Nor do we necessarily agree with opinions that may be expressed.

Visit OAARSN's website and keep in touch through the OAARSN Listserv--send a message requesting to join to gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca

SPECIAL CALL

YOUNG ADULT SIBLINGS INVITED FOR NEW RESEARCH STUDY
Males and females who have autistic siblings are needed for a research study. Requirements are that they are between the ages 18-37 and have no known diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders or mental illness or developmental delay.  Diagnosis of the sibling may be Autism or PDD NOS, not Aspergers. Participation  requires filling out a questionnaire and then mailing it back to me. It can even be done via email. It will take approximately 40 min. Please contact me at clanda77@aol.com with the subject line Autism Research, Canada.
Thanks in advance
Carrie Landa, M.A., PhD Candidate
Suffolk University
Psychology Department
41 Temple St.
Boston, MA 02114

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GENERAL AUTISM NEWS



World Autism Survey--preliminary results
A compilation, with colourful charts, of responses to the survey launched in September and posted online until June 2006. The World Autism Survey was conducted by the Autistic Citizens Residential and Resources Society of Victoria (ACR and RSV), based in Melbourne, Australia and launched at the NAS International Conference in 2005.
The aim of the World Autism Survey was to obtain information regarding the level of support and available services from Government agencies and community sources for people with an ASD. The online survey delivered over 1,800 responses from 53 countries, many from the UK. 
The survey has thrown up some interesting results, many of which confirm the experiences of people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the UK. Nearly 60 per cent of respondents said that specialised day services for adults with autism in their area were available in limited locations or in a few locations only, with a further 33 per cent saying they were not available at all. That implies over 90 percent of people have limited or no services available to them.

Screening measure for autism in adults

A tool developed through the Greater Manchester Consortium (UK) to develop local services for people with autism and intended for use in any setting or service for adults. The sole purpose of this measure is to screen for the presence of indications of autistic spectrum conditions which may suggest the need for further assessment. It is not a diagnostic tool and The National Autistic Society (and OAARSN) take no responsibility for any misuse of this measure other than its intended purpose.


The Age of Autism: Quite the coincidence
Another column in the series of over 100 by Dam Olmsted, this one exploring the coincidence of the first diagnoses of autism by Kanne in the United States in 1943 and by Asperger in Austria in 1944, and relating the recognition of the disorder to the first uses of ethyl mercury in horticulture and later as a preservative in  drugs. For a list of previous Age of Autism columns
by Dan Olmsted, UPI Senior Editor, please click this link


Structure of protein altered in autism revealed

As a result of mapping the structure of the protein complex implicated in autism spectrum disorders, a research team led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has discovered how particular genetic mutations affect this complex and contribute to the developmental abnormalities found in children with autism.
Their work, published as the cover article in the June issue of the journal Structure, should help scientists pinpoint the consequences of other genetic abnormalities associated with the disorder. "By understanding the three-dimensional structure of the normal protein, researchers can now make predictions about how mutations in the gene affect the structure of the gene product," said first author Davide Comoletti, Ph.D., UCSD research associate at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy.


Autism-related Proteins Control Nerve Excitability, Researchers Find
Two proteins that are implicated in autism have been found to control the strength and balance of nerve-cell connections, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. The proteins, which serve to physically link nerve cells together, were discovered more than a decade ago by UT Southwestern scientists, but their function has been unclear. In the new study the researchers found that one protein increases the excitability of nerve cells, while the other inhibits cell activity. Most importantly, these effects depended on how often the cells fired. Autism is believed to involve an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory nerve connections, a theory supported by this study...

UCLA Study First to Show Autistic Brains Can Be Trained to Recognize Visual and Vocal Cues
"To understand the meaning of a conversation, kids automatically do what adults do —besides processing the meaning of words, they unconsciously "read" the expression on a person's face and listen to their tone of voice, then integrate that information with the context at hand to discern meaning, be it humor, anger, irony or straightforwardness.
"Individuals with autism typically don't do this. They often miss the subtle meanings conveyed by a person's face and tone of voice, and thus have trouble determining the communicative intent of others. Neuroimaging studies have backed this up, showing that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) — including autism, pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger's syndrome — show reduced activity in the regions of the brain that respond to such cues.
"But what if those brain regions could be trained to respond appropriately? ........"



Eugene Levy to be autism treatment spokesman
Canadian actor and director Eugene Levy has signed on as a spokesman for autism and is calling for a national strategy to help those affected by the disorder, especially the need for affordable and accessible autism treatment.  

"I feel extremely passionate about the need for a national autism strategy," Levy said in a release.  "Canada is blessed in so many ways but somehow some of our most vulnerable citizens are being wrongfully neglected. It is time to address this wrong and provide these individuals with the same access to medically necessary treatment that the rest of us enjoy throughout our lifetimes under our country's alleged universal health-care system."

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ANNOUNCEMENTS OF EVENTS

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

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11 July 2007, at 6:30pm in Toronto

RAUN KAUFMAN, of The Autism Treatment Center of America
in the Parents Listen Speaker Series
Ryerson Business Building
55 Dundas St W, Toronto
Contact: parentslisten@gmail.com


31 August, 1 & 2 September 2007, in Oslo, Norway

‘A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES’
8th International Congress Autism Europe
Abstract submission, registration and further Congress information:
http://www.autismcongressoslo.org

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.

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BOOKS AND OTHER RESOURCES


Autism: a selective guide to books and videos/DVDs
by The National Autistic Society (UK)

Going to the doctor: a guide for parents and carers
An information sheet from The National Autistic Society (UK).

The Autism Perspective - TAP magazine 2007 Issue 2 Released
We are very proud to be in our 3rd year of publication and have published our 10th issue.
As always, TAP continues to bring informative, heartfelt and meaningful articles to our readership.....
TAP announces the opening of our new on line TAP Boutique at http://www.tapboutique.com.
To find out more about The Autism Perspective - TAP Magazine, log on today and subscribe: http://www.theautismperspective.org
877-3-AUTISM

Bellini is the assistant director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism in the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, and an assistant professor of school psychology in IU's School of Education.Building Social Relationships outlines a strategic process for recognizing and addressing social skills deficits based on the most current research on individuals with autism. Using real-world examples, Bellini describes common areas of difficulty and effective methods of teaching these skills. He distinguishes between skills deficits (knowing how to do something) and performance deficits (applying the learned skill) and discusses ways to help children bridge the gap between ability and action. The book can be used by parents, educators and clinicians to design individualized plans as well as group training programs.


New system allows autistic children to communicate with their environment
Communication ability of children who are intellectually disabled or have communication limitations (such as autism, down syndrome, or cerebral palsy) may soon be improved thanks to a research group of the University of Granada. SC@UT, which stands for Augmentative and Adaptive Communication System, has been created by the following researchers: 13 professors of the ETSI, ASPROGRADES association and a team of psychologists, psycho-pedagogues, and speech therapists. All are directed by José Juan Cañas Delgado, professor of Ergonomics of the Department of Experimental Psychology and Behavioural Physiology of the UGR and María José Rodríguez Fortiz, professor of the Department of System Informatics. SC@UT, software for augmenting communication by computer devices (PC’s, laptops, PDA’s, etc.), is for children with special communication and educational needs, such as those who suffer from autism.
“This is a project promoted by the Regional Government of Andalusia which attempts to reduce differences between disabled and non-disabled people”, states Cañas Delgado. ”We have created a configurable parameter tool that allows disabled people to interact with their environment. In this way, their adaptation to a world full of barriers is much easier. In this world, social and labour integration is impossible without communication and access to education."
The functioning of SC@UT is easy: through a PC (or even better, a PDA) parents or tutors can download the specific software from  http://www.ugr.es/~scaut/. Later, the display is ready to be used as a way of communicating between the child and the society. Through the SC@UT project, the child can express such needs as going to the toilet or hunger, as well as such states as being happy, sad, or tired. SC@UT includes a speaker which transmits the “user’s comments” to the listener. -Universidad de Granada


Research Review: Asperger syndrome and Quality of Life
by Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.,  president of the Organization for Autism Research

Writers Reading on Autism: Tales of The "Fastest Evolving Disorder In Medical Science"
The First Annual Writers on Autism reading was held in New York City on June 7 (on the third floor of the Empire State Building). Eight "diverse" -- and this reading may give that term new meaning -- writers, both accomplished and up-and-coming, will read from their published and unpublished works which are either about autism or of importance to the autism community. Four mothers of autistic individuals -- representing a total of eight sons and daughters on the autism spectrum -- will read. Two individuals who are on the spectrum themselves will also read their work.

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FROM THE FRONT LINES: 
CALLING FOR HELP AND SHARING PERCEPTIONS AND EXPERIENCES

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.

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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.