ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM

RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK
OAARSN NEWS BULLETIN
   9 August 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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GENERAL AUTISM NEWS


Our Assumptions About What Causes Chronic Diseases Could Be Wrong
Discoveries about how chemicals and environmental toxins interact with our DNA and make us susceptible to disease could revolutionize our concept of illness. A discussion with many points of relevance to autism.

A long shadow is lifted on Asperger's in adults
"Ten years ago, Kathy Marshack, a psychologist in Vancouver, Wash., was unfamiliar with Asperger's syndrome in adults. Asperger's is a condition on the spectrum of autism disorders that most people associate with children and teens, but Marshack has about 15 patients who are either adults with Asperger's or are the spouses or grown children of them.

Marshack, who says her late mother had Asperger's and her adopted daughter has it, believes the condition is widely undiagnosed. In many cases, it doesn't come to light until a spouse or adult child seeks therapy for depression or poor self-esteem that results from the coldness and egocentricity Asperger's adults demonstrate in relationships, she says.

The number of Asperger's adults, like the diagnosis, is hard to pin down. ... What is not disputed is the testimony of those who say their diagnosis helps explain their lives."

'It is not a disease, it is a way of life'
Today, an event run by and for autistic people kicks off in Somerset, the latest act of a burgeoning autism rights movement. Emine Saner reports on the campaign to celebrate difference, rather than cure it. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, the director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, is quoted: "Nobody would dispute the place for interventions that alleviate areas of difficulty, while leaving the areas of strength untouched. But to talk about a 'cure for autism' is a sledge-hammer approach and the fear would be that in the process of alleviating the areas of difficulty, the qualities that are special - such as the remarkable attention to detail, and the ability to concentrate for long periods on a small topic in depth - would be lost. Autism is both a disability and a difference. We need to find ways of alleviating the disability while respecting and valuing the difference."


What Autistic Girls Are Made Of

A New York Times article that discusses the "gender dynamic" in autism.
"Because there are so many fewer females with autism, they are 'research orphans,' as Ami Klin, a psychology and psychiatry professor who directs Yale’s autism program, puts it. Scientists have tended to cull girls from studies because it is difficult to find sufficiently large numbers of them. Some of the drugs, for example, commonly used to treat symptoms of autism like anxiety and hyperactivity have rarely been tested on autistic girls.

The scant data make it impossible to draw firm conclusions about why their numbers are small and how autistic girls and boys with normal intelligence may differ. But a few researchers are trying to establish whether and how the disorder may vary by sex. This research and the observations of some clinicians who work with autistic girls suggest that because of biology and experience, and the interaction between the two, autism may express itself differently in girls. And that may have implications for their well-being."

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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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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


Weaving the Ties That Bind: online course on facilitating social support networks
PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship offers online course in October 2007
Facilitated social support networks are an effective way to address the isolation and loneliness of many people living on the margins of our society. These networks (also known as “circles of friends”) are proven to contribute to the health, safety and well being of individuals who are vulnerable as a result of age, disability or social circumstance.
Self-paced--approx 20-25 hours.

Click for more information
Click here to register


Wednesday, August 22, 20071:30pm–4pm
A Community for All…Share Your Vision!
A forum for people with disability experience

Training Room, 2nd Floor
Kitchener City Hall
Everyone is included.  Human rights are honoured.  All are valued, have access and are treated with dignity.  Each can participate and contribute.
RSVP by Wednesday, August 15, to Susan Mainland at 519 579-1096 ext. 3005 or email admin@waterlooregion.org
Sign language interpreters are available upon request.  Let us know what accommodations can be made to make it easier for you to participate. 
Presented by the Disabilities and Human Rights Planning Group with assistance from the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo/ Community Information Centre of Waterloo Region.
Appreciation goes out to the City of Kitchener for providing space for the community forum.


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.


CBC Passionate Eye Documentary on Using Comedy to Fight Mental Illness and Stigma
Airs nationally on August 30 at
9 p.m. On CBC’s Doc Zone

Cracking Up is a life-affirming documentary about people with mental illness who embark on a quirky quest to become stand up comics. The film follows 11 courageous people who suffer from mental illness as they pursue a year of stand up comedy. Part fun and part therapy, the course, entitled Stand Up For Mental Health is the brainchild of Vancouver counselor, stand-up comic, and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and Success David Granirer. “It’s like ‘The Full Monty’ except people want us to keep our clothes on”, he says.
Doing stand-up comedy has had an amazing effect on the people in the course. For the first time in their lives, they have embraced the word crazy, and learned to laugh at their mental illness – and their audiences are laughing right along with them.  They have discovered a talent they never dreamt they had.
For more information http://www.standupformentalhealth.com

September 7, 2007, 9:30am-5pm, in Vaughan
INDIVIDUALIZED FUNDING: A CAUTIONARY TALE FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
Join John O'Brien as he shares with members of IFCO what is working well; what is not and what to watch for as we continue our work to make Individualized Funding in Ontario a reality!  We hope this meeting will recharge your energy as we head into a Provincial Election in October, and help move Individualized Funding forward in Ontario! We have asked John to help us determine what to advocate for during the election. Costs $20.00 per person (lunch will be included) and subsidies are available. If you are not yet a member of IFCO, please add $15 for membership to your cheque for registration.
Click for more information and how to register



September 8th, 2007, 9:30am-5pm
, in Vaughan
SPEND A DAY WITH JOHN O'BRIEN
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
SENSORY EXPERIENCE, RESPONSE & INTERVENTION
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
AIMING HIGHER FOR PEOPLE WITH HIGHER NEEDS!
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

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RESEARCH PROJECTS


1. Two research studies have been approved by the Queen's University Ethics Board.
Participation by families, children and/or adults is invited.

More studies will begin in September, when we will let you know more.

 a) Social Cognitive Skill in Young Children with Autism and Toddlers at Risk for Autism
We are looking for:
           high-functioning children (under 4 years) or lower-functioning children
(under 7 years) with a diagnosed ASD;
           children (under 30 months) who have an older sibling with a diagnosed
ASD of any age;
           children with a developmental delay (under 7 years) and their younger
siblings (under 30 months)
The study involves a number of play-like tasks and participation will require one to two visits that will be between 45 minutes to one hour long. Parents will also be asked to fill out two short surveys and participate in a short interview over the phone. You will be reimbursed $10.00 for transportation costs, and your child will receive a small toy and certificate of appreciation.
See contact note below.
 
b) Action Observation and Eye Gaze
We are looking for high- or low-functioning adults over 18 years of age with a diagnosed ASD who can follow simple instructions and repeat them back This study consists of multiple parts. These may include watching another person performing a task, watching a video, completing hands-on tasks and/or answering a series of questions. During some of the tasks, your eye movements will be recorded using an eye movement tracker. The study will involve between one to three visits that will be 45 minutes to an hour in duration. Please do not feel obligated to participate in all of the visits. You will be reimbursed $10 for every visit made to the lab.

In addition, ASD Studies is in the process of initiating new research projects for participants of all ages. Check out: http://psyc.queensu.ca/asdstudies
For more information regarding this study as well as others, please contact us at:
613-533-2841 OR
asd.studies@queensu.ca
Dr Elizabeth Kelley
ASD Studies Group
Queen’s University
Department of Psychology
62 Arch St.
Kingston, ON. K7L 3N6


2. Research Feature: Applying Precision Teaching to Language Skills Acquisition
Marlene Cohen and her colleagues....at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey are hoping that their OAR-funded study will help adults with autism communicate better through the use of Precision Teaching. Click on title for more.


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BOOKS AND OTHER RESOURCES

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.

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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


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MORE ABOUT OAARSN

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