21 November 2007

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Congratulations to Autism Ontario for sponsoring the special TVOntario program about autism on Sunday evening (November 18) repeated Tuesday, November 20.


Think Differently About Autism
The National Autistic Society (UK) has begun a major initiative encouraging people to escape some of the stereotypes about autism, especially in adults. Click on the title to reach the special website. Click on this link to read about a unique new photography exhibition in Manchester, exploring how people with autism view the world.

Autism: What are the ethics of treating disability?
A row about the correct response to the condition – acceptance or treatment – is dividing campaigners and carers. Jeremy Laurance reports in The Independent on a bitter ideological war. Battle has been joined between leading organisations in the autism field and parents of severely autistic children who believe they need help more than mere understanding. They criticize the "Think Differently about Autism" campaign by the National Autistic Society (NAS), to encourage greater understanding. Some of this ideological divergence reflects the wider definition of autism in the past 15 years. Classic autism, the severest kind, is thought to affect 30,000 people in the UK. However, more than 500,000 are said to have autistic spectrum disorders, including Asperger's syndrome.

Lessons From Lefties: Search For Cause Of 'Handedness' Yields Insights Into Genetics, Brain
Plato and Aristotle puzzled over left-handers, as did Charles Darwin. What determines "handedness"? Why are only 10 percent of us left-handed, and why did the ratio seem to change over the last century? Are lefties somehow different — less healthy, more creative? With brain scanning and the latest genetic technology, scientists are finally starting to crack the mysteries. Left-handers really are special, and the ways they differ are yielding insight into human diversity — especially how one person's brain differs from another's. Searches for a left-handed gene, meanwhile, are untangling the roles of "nature and nurture" in shaping our behavior and revealing ever more subtle ways that DNA can influence but not determine who we are.

"Left-handedness is connected to a lot of neurodevelopmental disorders," says Daniel Geschwind, a UCLA expert in what is known as neurobehavioral genetics. People with autism and schizophrenia are more likely to be left-handed, he says. "But with that risk, there is also gain."

Pioneering Supported-Living Scheme for People with Autism Launched in UK

The House of Commons has hosted the launch of The Drive – a pioneering supported-living scheme in Waltham Forest - offering adults with autism their own homes and giving them the opportunity to live more independently within the community.
the supported housing scheme consists of five self-contained units plus a communal lounge and garden. The flats have been custom-designed to accommodate the specific needs of individual tenants, who had previously lived in a care home. Tenants each have an individualised support package designed to help them develop independent living skills and become integrated into the local community

Iain Duncan Smith, MP, said: “Everyone should have the right to live with independence and dignity and giving people with autism increased choice and control through a scheme such as The Drive has to be applauded; I am very proud of its success."
Tunstall is the market leading provider of telecare and telehealth solutions, with over 2.5 million users globally. Tunstall’s solutions support older people and those with long-term needs, to live independently, by effectively managing their health and well-being. Tunstall provides technology, expertise and advice to millions of people enabling them to lead independent more fulfilling lives. For more information on how telecare and telehealth can improve quality of life, visit www.tunstall.co.uk

"Denying Work to Autistic People is Expensive"
The lifetime cost to society of someone with autism could be as high as £4.7 million per person, according to a new British study  which calls for more job opportunities for those with the condition.  The CEO of the foundation which commissioned the study says: "Children and adolescents with autism often receive adequate support up until school leaving age but are then left stranded with little hope of a meaningful future because they are given little support to enter further education or employment."

Panel trains first-responders in autism encounters
"When first responders and police without training in autism encounter someone with the neurological disorder, the call could end in tragedy...." 
This article reports a session called "Autism and the First Responders" which provided clues on how to identify signs of the disorder and guidelines on proper responses.


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)



Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services
This is the new name of the former Community Mental Health Clinic in Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin.
Click on the title to reach an informative website. Trellis provides services across the age spectrum including:

  • Early intervention for those experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
  • General mental health assessment and treatment services for children, adolescents and adults.
  • Court support for individuals who have a serious mental health issue and who are in contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Mobile Crisis response for children, adolescents and adults.
  • Individualzed support for  families with a member who has a developmental disability.
  • Assessment, support and treatment for seniors with complex mental health needs.
  • Early intervention for infants and children with a mental health or developmental challenge.
  • Assessment and treatment for residents of Wellington and Dufferin Counties and the Region of Waterloo.
  • Specialized consultation and support to day care centres assisting children with specialized needs.
  • The Spark of Brilliance, an innovative program that fosters healing and recovery through the arts.
  • The Mental Health and Wellness Network, a grass roots program that promotes wellness and seeks to reduce the stigma of mental illness.



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


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 27 from 7:30-8:30 pm, in Waterloo
Dinner By You offers a special Open House
to discuss meal packages for those who require meals free from gluten, dairy, corn and/or soy. For more information see the website at www.dinnerbyyou.ca go to ‘select meals and sessions’ and click on ‘special menus’ at the top to see the gluten free menu. Please RSVP to chef.dinnerbyyou@rogers.com

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



TAP: The Autism Perspective is Going Green!
OAARSN welcomed the first appearance of TAP nearly three years ago. The magazine previously available only in print and on subscription, is now oing to be online. Click on the title for the announcement, how to get on the distribution list, and reach the current and past issues of TAP.
TAP, The Autism Perspective Magazine, is "founded upon the passionate philosophy that those living with and treating autism spectrum disorders and  pervasive development disorders should have a single resource that  presents the full perspective of options for therapies, new understanding, treatments, and services.  Our goal is to enrich and enhance the lives of those living with autism and give them new sources of hope.
"This world-class publication will bring families balanced, informative, and educational articles from across the US and the world.  Within the pages of our magazine, also included are legislative updates, advocacy advice, personal accounts and inspirational stories to encourage and inspire us and make every family feel a little less alone in its struggles, hopes and dreams."

Autism Heroes: Portraits of Families Meeting the Challenge
By Barbara Firestone, Ph.D. Forewords by Teddi Cole and Gary Cole and Catherine Lord, Ph.D.
Photographs by Joe Buissink . Jessica Kingsley Publishers .
Hardback, ISBN: 9781843108375, 240pp, November 2007, £19.99, $34.95
"Few have the combination of compassion, rigorous knowledge, passion for the field, and accomplishments in helping literally thousands of children with autism spectrum disorders as does Barbara Firestone. She is also an extraordinary listener, and a great observer of people, making her perspectives and collection of family stories coupled with Joe Buissink's photography extremely rich, inspiring, and instructive." Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, Parent of a Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Intimate, bold, and inspiring, Dr. Barbara Firestone's Autism Heroes provides a compelling and sensitive account of the experiences of 38 families from different walks of life confronting the challenges of autism spectrum disorders with courage, tenacity and love. With empathy and expertise gained from her three decades of leadership of The Help Group and commitment to children with special needs, Dr. Firestone engages the families in powerful and deeply affecting conversations about their lives. The family narratives are set against the backdrops of her insightful essays about the dignity, hope, opportunity and love that are so fundamentally important to all families living with autism.

The families offer their experiences openly and honestly, sharing their challenges, triumphs, and hopes. Their candor helps demystify and destigmatize autism and embraces other parents just beginning or already on the journey. Their reflections chart the course through the many stages of coping with autism and seeking solutions for their children, and they offer a lifeline of support, insight and encouragement and hope.

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.

The Informative Pointing Method
Portia Iversen's new manual on Supported Communication, described as "a joint attention and literacy-based approach to communication for individuals with autism" based on experience with her son portrayed in her book Strange Son (January 2007).



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