12 November 2007

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Mirror, Mirror In The Brain: Mirror Neurons, Self-understanding And Autism Research

Recent findings are rapidly expanding researchers' understanding of a new class of brain cells -- mirror neurons -- which are active both when people perform an action and when they watch it being performed. A review article with references to several studies of the past three years.

Evidence Mounts Implicating Lyme Disease in the Autism Epidemic

A new article in Medical Hypotheses, "The association between tick-borne infections, Lyme Borreliosis and autism spectrum disorders" is summarized in these words: "Chronic infectious diseases, including tick-borne infections such as Borrelia burgdorferi may have direct effects, promote other infections and create a weakened, sensitized and immunologically vulnerable state during fetal development and infancy leading to increased vulnerability for developing autism spectrum disorders." The authors examine clinical observations, case reports, laboratory testing of patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder for tick-borne diseases, brain imaging results, epidemiological findings, infections and autism, tick-borne/Borreliosis infections and psychiatric illness and many other factors in this collaboration of research findings. Numbers indicate that 20-30% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder may be infected with Lyme Borreliosis and pathogenic Mycoplasma may be a contributor in 58% of cases.

Vanderbilt Study Links Melatonin Excretion With Sleep Levels in Children With Autism

Vanderbilt sleep researchers report a relationship between good sleep and how much melatonin the body produces - the first in a series of research studies intended to help children with autism spectrum disorders sleep through the night.
More research is needed before recommending that the medication-free children studied begin taking over-the-counter and inexpensive melatonin supplements to benefit their sleep patterns. But initial findings are promising, according to lead author Beth Malow, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center.

Immune System Research Hold Promise For Devastating Neurological Disorders
Recent discoveries in the field of neuroimmunology, which studies the interaction between the immune and nervous systems, are offering promising new leads for  treatment. New research suggests that reducing the expression of an immune system protein in the brain may help repair neurons damaged by spinal cord injury and other trauma. Other research has uncovered the important role that immune molecules perform in the prenatal development of such diseases as autism and schizophrenia. Additional findings reveal that an innovative type of immunotherapy assists with the recovery of memory after stroke.

New Technology Can Be Operated By Thought
Neuroscientists have significantly advanced brain-machine interface (BMI) technology to the point where severely handicapped people who cannot contract even one leg or arm muscle now can independently compose and send e-mails and operate a TV in their homes. They are using only their thoughts to execute these actions.

Biomedical Treatments for Autism in the Spotlight
Dan Olmsted has written a long and intensely researched journalistic series called "The Age of Autism." He has now joined forces with Generation Rescue to create a new daily webzine that is dedicated to the premise that autism is caused by environmental factors including vaccines - and can be cured by biomedical interventions.

Start on Success: A Model Transition Program for High School Students With Disabilities
Employers provide jobs to people with disabilities at a much lower rate than the general population. Federal legislation requires schools to (a) work with students and parents to develop transition plans and (b) plan for students' employment after graduation. It is unfortunate that transition plans do not necessarily translate into successful employment. Students with disabilities need community-based education to learn the academic, social, and vocational skills necessary for success in today's society. In this article, the authors describe the Start on Success program as a model transition program that provides students with a community-based transition from school to work in a supported environment with support from the school district, mentors, parents, and a local university.

A family's difficult life with autism

Author and journalist Barbara Fischkin is writing a book about her son Daniel growing up with autism.


Collective Voice of the Autism Community in Canada Calls on Government to Take Steps to Establish National Autism Strategy
A growing stakeholder Alliance calls on the Canadian government "to embrace the recommendations of its Senate and to show the leadership we so badly need to address this crisis as other countries have done." It is regretted that "the government [has] declined to take up the Senate's recommendation to lead the way forward in committing to a National ASD Strategy. In spite of receiving hundreds of hours of testimony from all concerned; well-vetted and honed down by a dedicated committee of Senators.

Read Government of Canada Response
to Senate Committee's call for a National Autism Strategy
Read t
he Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs report Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis (English version)

The Government of Canada's single response so far:
Federal Government Pledges $1 Million To Fight Autism
Canada has pledged $1 million to establish a Chair in Autism Research and Intervention. The Chair will be created at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. That province is also contributing $1 million to the project.



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


Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Secrets to Biomedical Interventions –The Most Common Beneficial Therapies
Presented by Kurt Woeller, DO (DAN! physician)
6:00 pm (Pacific Standard Time) 7:00pm Denver/Calgary (MST)
8:00pm Chicago/Dallas (CST) 9:00pm New York/Toronto (EST)
These FREE web conferences will offer an invaluable resources for professionals and parents all over the country who want to find out more about the biomedical treatments for autism, developmental disorders and chronic neurological disorders. Dr Woeller’s live web conference will be held monthly at 6pm (Pacific Standard Time).
After a 60 minute slide presentation by Dr Woeller, you will have a chance to ask questions on the presentation topic or related topics for 30 minutes.

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

November 17, 2007 in Toronto
Integration Action for Inclusion conference
"Putting Inclusion into Action"
A conference for people who care about inclusion in school and community
Harbourfront Community Centre
Click for brochure

November 17, 2007, 9:30-11:30, in Kitchener
Planned Lifetime Networks Fall 2007 Workshops
Speaker: Peter Brennan of Amy, Appleby and Brennan
Click for flyer with more details; pre-registration necessary and donations welcome

November 18, 2007, 10am-4pm, in Newmarket
Families for a Secure Future AGM
Featuring the film "My Life My Choice"
by Inclusion Press
that profiles seven adults with disabilities living Person Directed lives

and the work of the Windsor Essex Brokerage for Personal Supports
Click for information flyer


Sunday November 18 starting at 8 pm:
TVO presents a special TV-web event on autism
(Repeated Tuesday November 20 at 10 pm)
The evening begins with an in-depth documentary on the history of the condition and the latest research. Next up is a feature-length drama based on a true story of a couple's challenges trying to find help for their autistic child. And immediately following the film, viewers can join a discussion with autism experts on Your Voice, both on air and online at tvoparents.com.

The Autism Puzzle – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE 8 pm on TVO
ilmmaker Saskia Baron brings personal insight to this historical examination of autism. Baron's older brother Timothy was one of the first kids in Britain to be diagnosed with the condition in 1961, a time when autism was largely misunderstood by doctors and the general public. The film asks, Is there an epidemic of autism today, or has there been a change in awareness and the definition of autism in the 60 years since the term was first coined? Is there any connection to the infant vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella? The documentary also looks at current research into cause, treatment and prevalence, and explores the latest experimental research into the autistic brain in Finland, England and America.
by a true story, this moving film depicts the struggles of a couple to care for and communicate with their autistic child. Keeley Hawes and Ben Miles play the parents of six-year-old Kyle (Andrew Byrne), who can't communicate his fears. His mother Nicola has given up everything to care for her only child, and her fierce determination to break into Kyle's isolated world places an intolerable strain on her marriage. Into this setting comes Thomas, a golden retriever who opens the door to possibilities the family could have never imagined.
Your Voice autism webcast discussion
Live at approximately 10:30 pm at tvoparents.com and on TVO
Rounding out the evening live at approximately 10:30 pm, Your Voice, TVO’s interactive parenting series at tvoparents.com, is online and on air with a special edition on autism. Host Cheryl Jackson welcomes:
- Wendy Roberts, a developmental pediatrician specializing in the treatment of autism at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto
- Suzanne Lanthier, mother of an autistic child and spokesperson for Autism Speaks, an advocacy group that focuses on awareness and fundraising
- Audrey Meissner, director of Toronto’s New Haven Learning Centre, a treatment facility for autistic children
Viewers can submit questions about autism directly to the experts online at tvoparents.com, or by phone toll free at 1.888.891.1195.
To view a clip of The Autism Puzzle and After Thomas, please visit TVO’s November Media Highlights at
--Get your questions and comments ready to call in ( 1-888-8891-1195)  or email to asktvo@tvontario.org
or the address they will give on the show.

--On Monday November 12, TVO’s parenting website, tvoparents.com, will offer special autism-related content, including articles on autism diagnosis, various treatments and education as well as videoclips featuring perspectives from four parents of autistic children. Visitors can also listen to a podcast in which these parents describe their journeys and offer tips for other parents.


November 22, 2007
, in Ottawa
End Exclusion! Building an Inclusive and Accessible Canada
"There are no insurmountable obstacles to prevent Canada from taking a World Leadership Role in providing disabled persons with the practical means for greater independence."Obstacles, 1981
We want to create an INCLUSIVE and ACCESSIBLE Canada so everyone can belong and participate!
Click for the website

November 24, 2007, 9:30-11:30 am
Planned Lifetime Networks Fall 2007 Workshops
PLANNED LIFETIME NETWORKS: What are networks? How do they work? How do my family and the focus person benefit? 
DISABILITY SAVINGS PLANS – 2008?: What will it look like? How will my family and the focus person benefit? When will it be available?
PASSPORT: What is it? How do I access it for my focus person?
Speakers:  A Panel of Family Members, Focus Persons and Community Members
Click for flyer with more details; pre-registration necessary and donations welcome

26 November 2007 for a week and longer....
Awares international online autism conference

..is open for registrations now at www.autism2007.org where you can read several of the experts' abstracts.
Last year's event was a resounding success - Professor Simon Baron-Cohen called it "the best online autism conference on the planet." Over 10,000 delegates joined in the discussions and put questions to the more than 60 experts taking part.

This year's conference promises to be even more impressive. The line-up of experts who have agreed to participate is unprecedented. It includes some of the world's greatest living autism authorities. You will have the unique opportunity to put your questions to these and and the dozens of other experts who will be presenting their papers from November 26. The participants include Dr Lorna Wing, Professor Rita Jordan, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Dr Susan Folstein, Dr Gary Mesibov, Dr Darold Treffert, Theo Peeters - as well as some of the most prominent and articulate individuals with autism, among them Donna Williams and Wendy Lawson.

Just a reminder that you can register right away at www.autism2007.org to read the extracts of some of the speakers' papers. The rest of the abstracts will come online over the coming weeks and the papers themselves will be accessible a few days before the conference opens.

November 28, 2007, 7-9pm, in Waterloo
All About Me: an advocacy seminar/workshop
by Beverly Grant, parent of three special needs children (the youngest with autism)
Click for flyer for more about who will benefit and what you will learn
Please pre-register; $5 fee at the door for materials
Seminar will be offered again on April 23, 2008

Wednesday, November 28, 7-9 pm, in Guelph
A Practical Approach to Using Positive Behaviour Supports with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Individuals with ASD have diverse interests, abilities and passions.  But many also deal with anxiety that interferes with their learning and daily life. Anxiety can cause them to melt down or shut down. It doesn't have to be this way.

In this workshop, you'll learn:

&           Practical ways to minimize anxiety in individuals with ASD
&           Strategies to prevent crisis at home, school or the workplace

About the Speaker: 
 Ed Mahony is Special Education Resource Teacher with the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic School Board. Ed supports students and teachers in the classroom. As Associate Faculty at Conestoga College, he also teaches "Approaches to Autism" in the educational assistant program.  When not teaching, Ed runs an innovative summer camp for children with high-needs autism. As a workshop and seminar leader, Ed is known for his humour and for his compelling, real-life examples.

Zehrs Upstairs Community Room (Imperial &
Paisley Rd Guelph)  $5 for Autism Ontario members / $10 for non-members
RSVP by email wellington@autismontario.com

Looking ahead.....

February 8-9, 2008 Edmonton, AB

Autism Awareness Centre Inc. presents

Dr Lucy Jane Miller PH.D, OTR: Sensory Processing Disorder: How Does It Affect Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders?
Dr Rita Jordan BSc. MSc. MA. PhD. C.Psychol.: Understanding, Avoiding and Managing Behaviours in ASD and, Interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Click for conference details and to register...

Wednesday & Thursday, April 23-24, 2008
Stages of Autism: Adolescence and Beyond
2nd Biennial Conference
In Hamilton Convention Centre
Click for preliminary information including call for presentations



Girls Under the Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Solutions for Addressing Everyday...
by Dr Lori Ernsperger and Danielle Wendel. Paperback 241 pages, August 2007
Click on title to read review by
Maureen Bennie, Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc.



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.

Please write to OAARSN at gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca



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