17 September 2007

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World’s first-ever international exhibition of the work of prodigious savants
at Windhover Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, September 7 till October 12.
Darold Treffert is one of the main organizers of the show, called: "Windows of Genius: Artwork of the Prodigious Savant" and much of the art featured in the exhibition comes from Darold’s astonishing personal collection. It features the work of a dozen prodigious savants living throughout the world. Artists Ping Lian Yeak, 13, of Australia and Gregory Blackstock of Seattle, Washington, appeared in person at the exhibition. Other works on display include those of the French artist, Catherine Mouet, diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. Her study, "a puzzle with 11 cats," merges maths and art in a style she calls "stratoclor."
Click for more information

Testosterone In Womb Linked To Autism
Foetuses that produce high levels of testosterone have more autistic traits during development, according to research findings by Professor Baron-Cohen and team at the University of Cambridge. They are based on study of the development of children from 235 mothers, whose prenatal levels of testosterone were determined by amniocentesis. The typical autistic traits observed in the children with high amniotic testosterone levels included poor empathy and social skills, and good pattern recognition and numerical reasoning.

Social Cues Used By Those With Autism Illuminated
New research suggests that individuals with autism take note of social cues such as eye contact more closely than previously thought, regardless of whether or not they have an additional language impairment......Dr Courtenay Norbury, from Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Oxford said about the research: 'What is potentially most interesting about our work is that it shows what people with autism can do given the right circumstances, rather than what they cannot do.’

New study: Pine bark extract reduces ADHD symptoms in children
A new study reveals that Pycnogenol, (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, reduces ADHD in children. The study shows Pycnogenol balances stress hormones, which lowers adrenaline and dopamine, resulting in a decrease of ADHD.
The findings, to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Nutritional Neuroscience is a spin-off of a 2006 study found in the journal of European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that revealed Pycnogenol helped reduce hyperactivity and improve attention, concentration and motor-visual coordination in children with ADHD. The current study measures urine samples and blood samples of the children, which were not accounted for in the results of the original study.



The Ontario provincial election campaign is an opportunity for citizens to air neglected issues. Several events in our calendar are examples.

Parents of autistic children in Ontario have organized well to draw public attention to their needs. In contrast, autistic adults are typically overlooked. Yet research in Delaware
has found that 90 percent of the costs associated with autism care are incurred after the age of 21.

Equivalent studies have not been done in Ontario. But we can show common cause with some initiatives on behalf of all adults who vulnerable because of disability and special needs. One example is the petition about Passport funding ..... We also publicize events that could increase community capacity to include adults with autism.

PASSPORT FUNDING: more dollars needed and a fairer, clearer process in allocating them
More than a year ago, the Government of Ontario began to offer a form of individualized funding to 
"to provide opportunities for individuals who have a developmental disability and who have left school to find more ways to participate in their communities. Through Passport, participants can receive funding for activities that encourage their personal development and help them achieve their potential."
Read more about Passport on the Ontario MCSS website.

The Passport initiative has been welcomed by self-help and family support groups as another step towards direct individualized funding that respects the rights and abilities of people with disabling conditions to be included in their communities. However, questions have been raised about the process of allocation and the variable ways in which the Passport initiative may be administered in different regions of Ontario.
In the latest round of applications, for funding to start this month, there are widespread concerns about a serious shortfall in funding. For examples:
In Hamilton, 174 applied for Passport, and only 6 were funded.
In Niagara, only 1 funded.
Eastern Region, Ottawa area, only 24 funded.
In Peterborough, 102 people applied and only 7 were funded.
In Toronto, over 400 applied, and 33 funded.
In London area 262 applied and 11 funded.
Durham Region, 8 were funded.
Windsor-Essex 120 applied and 6 funded.
Information meetings and workshops have been organized and self-advocates, family members and friends are urged to add their voices to the movement for more funding for community participation and inclusion. 

Since we posted this item a week ago, we have heard from people and families in great need who have been turned down more than once for Passport funding. For one example: Read tragic story of Loren Boyd

One mother, whose autistic son is just 21, further suggests:
"I think we should also ask the government to show us a profile of those who received funding, i.e., not names, but a
description of the needs that are being satisfied, the context of services already accessed by the recipient, the amount of funding allocated to the individual, and the types of supports that will be purchased with Passport money. They need to justify their strategy for funding allocation."

Please read the open letter at: http://www.family-alliance.com/openletter0709.html
and consider sending a signed copy to the Premier, the Minister of MCSS and to your own Ontario MPP. The letter is composed by leaders of the Family Alliance Ontario and Hamilton Family Network who suggest FAX-ing the letter to arrive early this week. "We are asking people to share copies of the letter with all their friends and relatives and neighbours and for each person to sign the letter and list the name of their city or town. The letter may be put on websites and sent to the media. If you send the letter to the media please include contact information so they can contact you." The letter is a template, which you could adapt to include more information about the needs of people you know.



respiteservices.com is a web-based service designed for families caring for children and adults with developmental disabilities to easily access respite workers and respite services within their local community and anywhere across Ontario. What was once a service feature offered only in one city is now being replicated across the province so families in Ontario can have better access to respite services. respiteservices.com is funded by the Ministry of Finance and supported by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Check it out and let us know its value for people who live with autism!

“More residential options for community living”
is the focus of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services "Spotlight on Transformation" bulletin in August 2007:
“A goal of Ontario’s developmental services transformation is to provide adults with a developmental disability with more residential options so they can live more independently within their communities. During last year’s public consultation, we heard examples of creative living arrangements that are working well and we listened to suggestions about innovative residential models and partnerships that could be explored.

”What does innovative residential model mean?
The term term refers to a type of accommodation that has been developed to provide individually-tailored supports to help adults with a developmental disability meet their goal of living more independently (or inter-dependently) in the community. Here are some examples of innovative residential models:
  • a home co-ownership situation;
  • a rent-to-own arrangement (i.e. where a private investor buys the home or makes the down payment and the individual pays rent towards the mortgage with the intention of eventually becoming the owner);
  • a co-operative home; or
  • a garden suite.
“Eligible individuals or their families, together with a service provider, can develop a proposal for an innovative residential model for their community. The proposal must be submitted to their local regional office of the ministry for consideration for funding.”
Click here to reach both Word and PDF formats, together with links to earlier bulletins.

Connections: A Guide to Transition Planning (Central West version: Dufferin and Wellington Counties and the Regions of Halton, Peel and Waterloo) May 2007.
Connections is a self-help manual on transition planning written specifically for parents - to help you plan and make decisions for the future that are right for you, your child and your family. There is a lot of information in Connections - how to develop a transition plan, suggestions for building your child’s self-reliance skills, ways to access adult services in the communities in Central West Region, timelines for applying for programs and suggestions for you, the parents, to connect with other parents to make this process more manageable. This guide will help you plan for the time when your child is no longer in school every day and seeking supports from the adult service system.
Click here to download from The Developmental Services Access Centre - Waterloo Region (DSAC)


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


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

September 26-28, 2007, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH
The Autism Society of America and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence present
International Conference on Autism Training and Technical Assistance
Over 200 leaders and scholars in ASD will present at the NATTAP Conference, including: Glen Dunlap, Peter Gerhardt, Brenda Myles, Cathy Pratt, Kathleen Quill, Diane Twachtman-Cullen and more. The NATTAP Conference will feature the initial release of the National Teacher Competencies in ASD. Parents, educators, SLPs, OTs, special ed directors, state-level autism directors, university faculty, and early intervention specialists from around the country and across the globe will be in attendance.

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
For parents, care givers, educators, and practitioners. The goal is to improve the health and well being of individuals using integrative medicine and, in particular, biomedical treatment options.
An excellent opportunity for those seeking evidence to support the use of various biomedical treatment options.  We will be discussing the role of nutritional deficiencies and supplements, special dietary interventions, food allergies, heavy metal toxins, enzyme deficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, immune deficiencies, the role of micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal tract and more.  In addition, several parents will be presenting their very different journeys of the treatments that helped their children recover. 
Physician training is offered on Monday, October 1--for licensed physicians and practitioners only. The prerequisite for this training is day 1 and 2 of this conference or other biomedical training. All practitioners are encouraged to participate in the entire conference.

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

October 12-13, 2007, In Edmonton
AUTCOM's Annual Conference goes International in 2007:
Living Life to the Fullest with Autism: A celebration of ability, acceptance and understanding of autism for individuals on the autism spectrum, families and professionals

Keynote Speakers: Estee Klar-Wolfond: The Selling of Autism - How we can change language and referencing into a more effective future for accommodations for autistic people; Sharisa Kochmeister: The Doors are Wide Open! - Effective communication set me free; Gail Gillingham Wylie and Lincoln Grigsby: Stepping in the World of Quantum Physics - Reducing anxiety through the SCIO. "One of the most inspiring and galvanizing events I've experienced!!" The Autism National Committee (AUTCOM)! is the only autism advocacy organization dedicated to "Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism" through a shared vision and a commitment to positive approaches.
Contact  Gail Gillingham at exgr@telus.net

Saturday October 13, 2007, 10am to 5pm, in Guelph
Families for a Secure Future Leadership Series
Workshop Facilitator: Judith McGill
25 Somerset Drive, Guelph
Having some form of Individualized Funding (including SSAH) can be extremely helpful in building a meaningful life for you or your son or daughter.  Support Workers are critical to making good things happen.  They can play a significant role in moving one’s life forward and helping you or your loved one to feel that they have access to the “good life”.
That is why it is important to take time to reflect on finding the “right match” between your needs or your son/daughter’s needs, the candidate and the job. When there is not a good match and the staff is not working out it can create a lot of turmoil in your family. The interview process can help you to screen out unsuitable candidates.  It can be designed to assist you to learn a lot about the candidate during the interview process before making a hiring commitment.
Click for details and to register

October 16-20, 2007, in Minneapolis
Closing The Gap - Assistive Technology Resources for Children and Adults with Special Needs

Pre-conference October 16-17.
Click on title for details of 200 presentations, plus workshops and exhibits.

Saturday October 20, 2007, 10am to 5pm, in Pickering

Families for a Secure Future Leadership Series
Workshop Facilitator: Judith McGill
Durham REGION- Rougemont Co-op, 400 KINGSTON RD, Pickering
See note on workshop under October 13 in Guelph
Click for more information and to register

October 25-26, 2007, 9am to 4pm, in Guelph (Orchard Park)

Facilitation Workshop: Building a New Story
A New Story across Canada involves the creation of individualized supports
and strengthening communities through the presence and participation of all citizens.
Led by John Lord and Charlotte Dingwall
whose approach to training recognizes that
all of us can benefit from the skills of listening, planning, group work, collaboration and
--the essence of facilitation.
Click for brochure and registration form

October 26, 2007
, in Waterloo
3rd Annual “Learning Outside the Box” conference
Shifting the Mindset: Enhancing Potential for the ASD Learner

Opening Address
Key Issues Facing Educators and Families of the ASD Learner
with Margaret Spoelstra - Executive Director - Autism Ontario
Keynote Presentation
Essential Elements of Positive Practice
with Leslie Broun - Autism Education Specialist - Geneva Center for Autism
Click for full conference details

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



"At Home in the Land of Oz: My Sister, Autism and Me,”
In the sixties, when Anne Clinard Barnhill was growing-up, an autism diagnosis was rare and doctors were often unaware of the symptoms. Barnhill’s sister, Becky, did not receive the diagnosis of autism until she was 37.

Barnhill watched her sister spend time in institutions where she improved, but was subject to questionable care and bouts of homesickness. Barnhill tells her story in “At Home in the Land of Oz: My Sister, Autism and Me” (June 2007, Jessica Kingsley Publishers; Paperback Original, $17.95; 256 pages).  Barnhill has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has published hundreds of short stories, features and reviews.

Some Recommended Resources
- The Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine: with articles and material from sources around the world, each issue covers the latest people, products, research, news & viewpoints emerging in the autism field.

- The Autism Perspective Magazine, with the goal of enriching and enhancing the lives of those living with autism, is filled with inspirational stories, new therapies and treatments, personal accounts and advocacy advice.

- AutismTown is a great visual junction between families, professionals and organizations.



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.

Isaac’s Story

Isaac is a middle-aged man who is quite severely handicapped by the symptoms of autism. He does not speak with his voice and finds it hard to express himself in ways that others can easily understand. He tries, but cannot always control his movement disorders and sensory integration dysfunction. His life has been hard for him in various ways. But insights into how Isaac experiences autism and the efforts of his parents and friends to help him get his life together have been succeeding.

Isaac allows his true story to be shared so it may inspire others. He hopes others will feel encouraged by knowing that he has taken several steps towards a better life. Isaac’s story has messages for others who live with severe challenges--though the same combination of strategies that have worked for him would not work in exactly the same way for another person who lives with the symptoms of autism or similar neurological or communication differences.

Isaac's Story was first published on OAARSN in instalments in 2001. Click on the title to read the full story so far.


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