26 July 2007

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After Living In A Cage, Man Finally Gets Correct Diagnosis
A man who spent part of his childhood confined to a cage is today a living example of the power of love and importance of getting the right medical diagnosis. Before he was even three, Tony Scott began spending periods of his life in psychiatric hospitals. At times, he was confined to a caged bed and eventually misdiagnosed with 10 or 15 different illnesses. But his life began a dramatic turn around in his late teens as he got the education and support he so desperately needed. But Scott, 36, is not only living life, he's enjoying it. He's converting his battery-powered scooter into one that can run off of solar energy. He's even pursuing his dream of one day shooting and editing a movie. The man who many thought would never live outside of an institutional setting today lives on his own, pays his own bills, and holds a full time job at an electroplating plant in St. Louis. Click on title to read more...

Age of Autism: the Last Word
Dan Olmsted's 113th and final Age of Autism column in the series hosted by United Press International. The author summarizes the four main issues, and pledges to continue writing. The entire Age of Autism series is available at upi.com under Special Reports.

Effects of autism 'long-lasting'
Almost half of adults with autism in England live with their parents, a National Autistic Society report says. And just 15% of them are in full-time employment, says the society's "Moving on Up?" report. But the society says this could improve if the right planning and support were offered to young people with autism. The NAS is calling for better support and services for young people with autism during the critical "transition stages" between school, higher education and employment.

New health fears over big surge in autism
The number of children in Britain with autism is far higher than previously thought, according to dramatic new evidence...  A study, as yet unpublished, shows that as many as one in 58 children may have some form of the condition, a lifelong disability that leads to many sufferers becoming isolated because they have trouble making friends and often display obsessional behaviour. Seven academics at Cambridge University, six of them from its renowned Autism Research Centre and led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, undertook the research by studying 12,000 children at local primary schools.

Researcher sees link between vitamin D and autism
Could autism be related to vitamin D deficiency during fetal development and early childhood? John Cannell, a psychiatrist and prominent vitamin D advocate, says flagging levels of the vitamin in pregnant women and young children could be the elusive factor explaining the rising rate of autism. The evidence for such a link is circumstantial, and autism experts describe the hypothesis as speculative.

New mutations implicated in half of autism cases
Half of all cases of male autism may be caused by spontaneous genetic mutations, say researchers who have studied the genetic patterns of the condition. Offspring who inherit such mutations are at a greater risk of having an autistic child themselves.
New Model For Autism Suggests Women Carry The Disorder And Explains Age As A Risk Factor
Another account of the same research project.

Hidden Smarts: Abstract thought trumps IQ scores in autism

"There's more to the intelligence of autistic people than meets the IQ. Unlike most individuals, children and adults diagnosed as autistic often score much higher on a challenging, nonverbal test of abstract reasoning than they do on a standard IQ test, say psychologist Laurent Mottron of Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies in Montreal and his colleagues."

New report shows lack of support for young people with autism moving to adulthood
The National Autistic Society (UK) has launched a new report calling for better support and services for young people during the crucial transition stages between school, higher education, training and employment. The Moving on up? report, which is available to download from this link, finds that only 15% of adults with autism in England are in full-time paid employment, which could be greatly increased if the right planning, support and service are offered to people with autism during the transition stage.



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


Spectrum Art Shows – Shining a Light on Autism Spectrum Disorders
Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Kingston has organized the 3rd Annual Spectrum Art Shows, which are being held across Kingston this summer.  The shows provide an opportunity for local artists with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to showcase their talents, while raising awareness in the community about this developmental disability. 

The shows will take place at the following locations in Kingston:
Wednesday, July 25, 12:00-8:00: D. Michelle Reid Studio and Gallery, 36 Hatter St.
Thursday, July 26, 10:00-6:00: D. Michelle Reid Studio and Gallery, 36 Hatter St.
Friday, July 27, 1:00-9:00: D. Michelle Reid Studio and Gallery, 36 Hatter St.
Wednesday, Aug. 1, 9:30-9:00: Cataraqui Town Centre, 945 Gardiners Rd.
Friday, Aug. 10, 2:00-10:00: Chapters Community Room, 2376 Princess St.
Saturday, Aug. 11, 9:00-6:00: Chapters Community Room, 2376 Princess St.
Thursday, Aug. 16, 5:00-10:00: Loblaws, 1048 Midland Ave.
Friday, Aug. 17, 10:00-7:00: Loblaws, 1048 Midland Ave.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tiffany at Kerry’s Place Autism Services at (613) 384-7800 or spectrumart@gmail.com

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.

September 8th, 2007, 9:30am-5pm, in Vaughan
Thinking about the future with COURAGE
Location: City of Vaughan Police Community Room, 2700 Rutherford Rd.

This exciting one-day event is intended for family members and people with developmental disabilities and their friends to explore their ideas about the future.  John has a gift for provoking thought and action in families about what really matters. Families from all over the world say that hearing him speak was very helpful in shaping their vision of the future.
The morning will be dedicated to having John share the stories he has about facing the future with courage. The afternoon will be focused on dialogue in small and large groups around some of the themes that arise in the morning. There will also be stories from individuals and families who have done courageous things. These stories will stimulate your own thoughts and dreams about what is possible and what are some of your next steps.
Click for more information and registration form

Friday, September 14, 2007
, 9:30am–3:30pm, in London
Offered by Regional Support Associates
Individuals with intellectual disabilities may experience sensory sensitivities or processing problems, which can impact on behaviour. This workshop will provide information about identifying and investigating sensory experiences and strategies to handle sensory challenges.
Cost: $50.00  Click for details and registration form
See info on all RSA workshops

September 27 & 28, 2007, 9:30am–3:30pm, in London
Offered by Regional Support Associates
People with higher developmental needs (severe disabilities) make up a smaller portion of those who receive support in our field, yet are often those who demand the lion’s share of resources. This session will seek to help caregivers Aim Higher with respect to the famed “Three ‘S’s” of support for the person with higher needs. Discussion will centre on understanding what constitutes higher needs, tips for helping people move toward independence, providing an enhanced environment, and avoiding potential difficulties.
Cost: $100.00  Click for more and how to register
See info on all RSA workshops

September 29-October 2, 2007, in Kitchener
A Comprehensive Biomedical Treatment Approach
Conference for Autism, PDD, AD(H)D, & Behavior Disorders
Offered by the Great Plains Laboratory
Please click for full information

October 12, 2007, 9:30am–3:30pm, in Woodstock
PROMOTING COMMUNICATION: A Speech-Language Pathologist Speaks Up on Every Day Encounters
PRESENTER: Aren Hutton, BA (Hons.), M. Health Sc., S-LP (C), Speech Pathologist
Offered by Regional Support Associates
Communication is the base of human interactions. Often, people with intellectual disabilities feel isolated due to their communication deficits. During this workshop you will learn how to identify your client’s level of communication in addition to some tips to encourage positive interactions during every day tasks.
Cost: $50.00  Click for flyer and to register
See info on all RSA workshops

Friday, October 26, 2007,  in Waterloo
3rd Annual “Learning Outside the Box” conference
Our topic this year is ASD with Marg Spoelstra and Leslie Broun.
Watch for more details to be posted during August.

November 15-16, 2007, in Trenton
Advocates for Community Education (A.C.E.)
4th Annual Self-Advocates Conference
Keynote Speaker: Dave Hingsburger
Click for full details
Contact: Angela Clarke, Outcome Support Facilitator
phone 613.475.5557
fax   613.475.9854

email aclarke@communitylivingcampbellford.com



NEW BOOK in August 2007

Pathways to Inclusion: Building a New Story with People and Communities
by John Lord and Peggy Hutchison

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-55322-165-4 (2007 Forthcoming)
Approx. 270 pages, 500 g, 6 X 9, $29.50 (US$26.75)
Read more from the publisher

An examination of various perspectives on disability that provide insightful discussion on the current need for social innovation to move vulnerable citizens from areas of exclusion to social inclusion.

Pathways to Inclusion offers a straightforward approach to addressing the organizational strategies that have been used in the past and highlighting areas for change. Human-services organizations are examined, pinpointing common characteristics that have led to improved quality of life for the disabled.

Highlights of the book include:
• a discussion of discriminatory social policy,
• characteristics of pathways to inclusion, and
• an explanation on the need for social innovation.

Well-researched, with clear dialogue, and interspersed with insightful anecdotes, Pathways to Inclusion is designed to inspire change within both human-services personnel and the greater community.

This text should be an invaluable resource to educators, advocates and practitioners in the fields of Disability studies and human services.

Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
By Daniel Tammet $24.00 US. Free Press, January 2007. Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1-4165-3507-1 ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-3507-2

Autism Canada Foundation

is proud to present its New Website.

Get the latest information on treatments and evidence-based research

Oregon Profs Develop Email For Those With Cognitive Disabilities
Two professors at the University of Oregon have launched a simplified e-mail program aimed at people with cognitive disabilities. The program, dubbed CogLink by its creators, has no Inbox or Outbox, no list of messages sent and received, and no icons to show what's been replied to or forward. Instead, there's just a simple list of e-mail buddies, to show whether you've e-mailed someone on your list and if they've written back yet. The software is the brainchild of UO computer science professor Stephen Fickas and McKay Moore Sohlberg.
The program works by setting up a buddy system. Users give the tech support staff a list of the people they want to have contact with, and only e-mails from those people get through, protecting them from spam and viruses. CogLink also keeps the confusion of e-mail to a minimum by reducing the choices users have to make. For example, no "Send" button appears on the screen until an e-mail has actually been composed. Fickas said the market is full of high-tech gadgets created for people with disabilities, but that they don't always help. "One of the things I've learned is that people abandon this stuff at a pretty high rate. It just doesn't end up getting used. Everyone gets excited, but then it gets put in the closet," he said.
With input from users who had suffered from traumatic brain injuries, the academics created a pilot project that attracted a U.S. Department of Education grant. Once they'd finessed the software, they followed the people using the program for several months and confirmed that they continued using it and improving their skills. CogLink has also proved a boon to older people who don't have brain injuries but aren't familiar with more complex computer programs. The program has a monthly subscription fee of $10 that provides users with technical support that includes adding or subtracting people from their buddy lists. Sohlberg and Fickas aren't stopping with this success. They're working on a new project, TeenLink, that will bring the e-mail to youth with special needs. They'll create programs that can be tailored to help, say, autistic youth, improve their communications skills. "Now we're really interested in learning whether you can use it like a training program," Sohlberg said.

Autistic Children Get An Israeli 'Biohug'

For Raffi Rembrand, necessity was definitely the mother of his invention. An Israeli engineer and father to a son with autism, Rembrand was well aware of the difficulties of raising a child with severe autism. He had devoured all the information about the well established treatment of deep pressure touch to produce a calming effect in agitated individuals with autism. However, he discovered that most existing devices were more like straightjackets and weren't sensitive to changes in the patient's movement and couldn't regulate the pressure based on the patient's needs or body gauges.
An inventor by nature, Rembrand began tinkering in his home until he came up with the idea of a light, wearable, vest-like calming device that's both portable and non-restraining. Working through a few prototypes of that 'home remedy' makeshift device has resulted in the BioHug - a vest for both people with autism and and children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The BioHug delivers a mildly pulsating pressure through the use of inflatable cells placed throughout the garment and includes a biofeedback mechanism which automatically regulates the level of stimulation.
"It was very much an improvisational exercise," says Rembrand, describing how he developed the BioHug. "The idea of inflatable bubble cells is used for people with pressure wounds to keep them from getting infected. I took a little from here and a little from there. There wasn't any patent, it was just a nice development. I approached ALUT (the Israeli Society for Autistic Children) and said, 'here's a simple idea which might help the kids - I've tested it on my son, and on other people with autism.'



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.

An interview with autistic FC pioneer, Richard Attfield by Donna Williams
Richard, who lives in Essex, England, is editing a volume of compositions by about 100 people who use supported typing to communicate their thoughts.

Putting autism on trial: an interview with Amanda Baggs by Donna Williams

Thrust into the limelight, Amanda was alone, at risk of becoming an 'autism circus' like several autistic people before her. And with this came the pressure ...


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



See our
archive of past OAARSN news bulletins.
Read about why OAARSN was started and the tasks still ahead

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.

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