2 July 2008

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MicroRNAs Provide New Insight in Study of Autism, UC Santa Barbara Scientist Reports
MicroRNAs may play an important role in the development of autism spectrum disorder, according to Professor Kenneth S. Kosik, whose research discovered that autism may be even more genetically diverse than previously thought. "We can't continue to look at this (autism) as a monolithic entity," Kosik said. "This is not a single disease."

Postech Unlocks Secret to Autism

A team of researchers at Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) has found new clues in understanding the development process for autism, a brain disorder that impairs social interaction and communication skills. The new finding was published this week by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Kim and his team have found that a shortage of protein called "neuroligin" secreted by amygdala may lead to the brain disorder. Amygdala is an almond-shaped structure in the brain, involved in the generation of emotions and memories.

Observational study of biological and dietetic treatments for Autism Spectrum disorders
Report of research by Dra. Anna Vallès of Barcelona, Spain, that aims "to evaluate the efficiency of a biological and dietetic treatment to attenuate the autism's symptoms." Conclusions: "The improvement in the autism's symptoms after six months of treatment that the group of the study it has been globally experimenting, suggest that body detoxification diets, treatments of intestinal yeast and/or bacteria, correction of the metabolic errors using the diet and dietetic supplements, allows treat and improve autism symptoms. Then, it could be, very suitable to go deeply into the possibilities that these therapies offer to treat autism."

Can those with autism experience love, loss and trauma?

Donna Williams, noted
author, artist, singer-songwriter, screeenwriter, comments personally on this question on The American Chronicle.

A commentary about the new tone of the Autism One 2008 conference. Compared with the mood of past conference, the
"focus was not on surviving the present, but on moving confidently into the future."

Making it on their own: Men with autism learn to succeed
A good news story from Shenango Valley-Mercer County in Pennsylvania. "The first phase of a local program designed to help young people with autism spectrum disorders transition from high school to adulthood is considered a success — by those running it, those taking part and those funding it."

New Intervention for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Prototype Completed by SIMmersion LLC

"Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) struggle daily to fit in to a world that does not understand them. Some have the advantage of vocational and transition support programs, but limited availability and cost hinder many of these adults from getting help. As a result, their social impairments lead to difficulty at work and social isolation. Computer software programs have been proven to help children with certain aspects of socialization, but there are currently no existing computer programs designed for adults to practice and strengthen basic conversation and communication skills.
SIMmersion LLC
seeks to remediate this deficiency by announcing the completion of a prototype simulation designed to train and reinforce positive social skills..."

£19bn - the rising cost of caring for Scotland's autist children

The bill for looking after someone with the condition over their lifetime is between £ 2.9 million and £4.7million, according to research. The figures are based on health and social care, helping Scotland's 4000 children with autism live within the community and family expenses.
Hospital services £26,600
Medication £3400
Health/social services £71,600
Living support £2,134,000
Voluntary support £18,800
Special education £179,100
Sheltered work £16,200
Day activities £422,400
Family members' time £39,600
Family expenses £30,800
TOTAL £2,942,500

Fathering Autism: A Scientist Wrestles With the Realities of His Daughter's Illness
Peter Hotez is president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, the chair of George Washington University's department of microbiology, immunology and tropical medicine, and a consultant to the Gates Foundation, which is helping to develop vaccines to fight neglected diseases. Also father of Rachel (13) who has autism, he talks about the challenges of living with autism in the family.

Court sides with church on its ban of autistic teen

An autistic 13-year-old boy from central Minnesota won't be going back to his family's church anytime soon. The County District Court ruling, citing "repeated harassment," also adds new fuel to the debate over what role special needs kids should have in society.

SAGE Crossing Foundation
Harriet Barnett writes in the ARI e-newsletter for July 2008 about how the needs of her 23-year-old severely autistic son, Andrew, inspired a group of mothers to form the SAGE (Special Adults, Greener Earth) Crossing Foundation. SAGE plans to start a therapeutic farmstead in Massachusetts, dedciated to organic farming, extensive recycling, and LEED-certified buildings, and dedicated to the care of autistic adults. Visit the SAGE Crossing Foundation website
To subscribe to the ARI e-newsletter, contact autismresearchinstitute@gmail.com



World Autism Awareness Day Bill
Moved in The Canada Senate by Senator Jim Munson. Click on title to read his speech on the status of autism research and services in Canada, recorded in Hansard for 17 June 2008. "Bill S-237 would make April 2 world autism awareness day, which would bring the attention of all Canadians to the issue of autism, a problem that affects at least one in 165 families in this country. Autism, a neurological disorder that isolates people from the world around them, is on the rise in Canada and affects more children worldwide than paediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined."
Click here to read "Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis"

Catatonia in Autism Spectrum Disorders
by Dirk Marcel Dhossche, Lorna Wing, Masataka Ohta, Klaus-Jurgen Neumarker et al. Book format of contents of International Review of Neurobiology volume 72 (2006).
“The study of catatonia in Autism Spectrum Disorders is a novel and controversial topic. Catatonia is a motor disorder characterized by stereotypy, rigidity, mutism, and posturing. These motor signs are also characteristic of autism. The interest in the relation between autism and catatonia stems from clinical observations that autistic and catatonic symptoms overlap, that some people with autism develop full-blown catatonia, and that anti-catatonic treatments bring relief in some of those patients. This book explores the question of if the two syndromes have a common pathophysiology. It also examines whether the successful treatment of catatonia be applied to patients with both autism and catatonia. The book concludes with blueprints for the assessment, treatment, and future study of catatonia in Autism Spectrum Disorders. These blueprints aim to increase early recognition and treatment of catatonia in patients with autism, show the urgency of controlled treatment trials and increased collaborative and interdisciplinary research into the co-occurrence of these two enigmatic disorders.”
Click for publisher's information

The Autism File Magazine Debuts In the
US & Canada
A major international journal covering intervention and advocacy will be available in September. The Autism File magazine, a major autism retail- and subscription-based magazine sold in the UK, Spain, and Australia, today announced imminent distribution in retail outlets in the United States and Canada, with an initial distribution in 1600 stores including Borders and Barnes & Noble.
The Autism File board, led by Polly Tommey, Editor-in-Chief, has appointed Teri Arranga, Director of Autism One, as Editor for the
US and Canada. Chantal Sicile-Kira, award-winning author of the books Autism Spectrum Disorders and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum, who is The Autism File’s “Dear Abby” columnist, will be Director of Marketing for the US and Canada.
The Autism File includes articles and interviews from doctors, researchers, therapists, educators, advocates, persons on the spectrum, and parents who genuinely understand the factors underlying diagnoses faced by families with children and adults on the spectrum, including full-syndrome autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, and other related conditions.

See http://www.autismfile.com/ Current issue contents: http://www.autismfile.com/Library/Documents/Autism28-p3.pdf

The Game of My Life: A True Story Of Challenge, Triumph, and Growing Up Autistic
By Jason J-Mac McElwain and Daniel Paisner. Published by Penguin Group USA, 2008.
The incredible true story of one high school student's determination to triumph against the challenges of autism-and his opponents on the basketball court... An inspiration to people everywhere, Jason McElwain's amazing accomplishment was broadcast on CN, ESPN, and local newscasts across the country, moving President Bush to tears with his courage and determination. The Game of My Life is one of the few books written by an autistic author-a riveting chronicle of how J-Mac overcame a lifetime of adversity.
A new addition to the Autism Collection at the Kitchener Public Library.

Software for Teaching Social Skills to People with Autism: Great Idea or Expensive Gimmick?

SIMmersion is a high tech corporation which creates interactive software to train all sorts of people for all kinds of difficult social situations. Their virtual people help to train FBI agents, military personnel, medical professionals and others to manage tricky conversations. Now, they've developed a new "person" to help people with autism build their social skills...



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


Announcing Series of Events
PLAN Institute offers
Weaving the Ties That Bind
Online Training Course for Facilitating Social Support Networks
"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."
Click on title for details of availability and to register--for September, October, or November.

April 11 to July 13, 2008
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto is hosting an exhibit
Out from Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember
organized by the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University
The 13-panel installation premiered in October 2007 at the ten-day Abilities Arts Festival in Toronto.

Learn more on the ROM website

A 60-page catalogue entitled Out from Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember (2008), accompanies the exhibition. Written by the curatorial team and produced by the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University it will be available in soft cover for $30 (plus applicable taxes) at the ROM Museum Store and the Ryerson University Bookstore, 17 Gould Street, Toronto.


Announcing Individual Events

Toronto Summer Inclusion Institute 2008
Hosted by the
Marsha Forest Centre
Ryerson University
, Toronto July 12 -17, 2008
Click to view pamphlet
NB: Early Bird Special expires on May 31

Conference on Autism & Asperger's Syndrome
You and your friends can "attend" from your home or school via your computer---just as if you were there! You will even be able to ask questions of the presenters! Experts in the field of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome will be discussing the disability from a variety of perspectives. Presenters include Dr. Temple Grandin speaking from her new book, "The Way I See It: A personal look at Autism and Asperger's" and Dr Tony Attwood presenting - "The Complete Guide to Asperger's". In addition to these two internationally known speakers, Maria Wheeler will be sharing her expertise in behavioral strategies. Sheila Wagner. Author of "Inclusive Programming for Elementary Schools", and "Understanding Asperger's: Fast Facts" will speak on mainstreaming ASD students. Individual rates---$175.00 for both days---$95.00 for either day (group rates available) For more information contact Teresa Corey at 1-800-489-0727 or teresa@fhautism.com Website: http://www.fhautism.com

ISAAC 2008 - The 13th Biennial Conference of the 
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication

August 2 to 7, Montreal, QC
The conference theme is Leadership. Individuals who use AAC for their daily communication have increasingly taken on leadership roles in many different ways. Examples of leadership will be showcased as part of the 2008 conference program. 2008 is the 25th anniversary of ISAAC. They will be celebrating the history of ISAAC and AAC, which has changed enormously in the last 25 years, and will continue to evolve in the future. For more info visit http://www.isaac2008.org .

September 4-7, 2008

US Autism & Asperger Association presents
2008 International Conference in San Antonio, Texas
featuring Paul Shattock and Doris Rapp
Conference Theme: Treating Autism as a Medical Disorder:
Bringing Biomedical Treatments and Behavioral & Developmental Therapies Together

Click for overview and early registration

October 22, 23, 24, 2008, in Toronto
Autism 2008 – Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium
The Symposium will provide a cross-section of perspectives on the most recent research and information on evidenced based best  practice.  All topics of importance to autism intervention will be addressed including bio-medical and neurobiological research, ABA, intervention, social skills, behaviour, communication, first-hand accounts, Asperger’s Disorder, and more.  Featuring speakers from Canada, U.S., Great Britain, and Australia
Click here for program information
Along the right hand side are topics;  simply scroll through the schedule, and topics specific to adults indicate ‘adults’ in the right hand column, or click on the ‘adults’ topic at the top of the list.

For registration information, visit www.autism.net or contact Eva Finna at efinna@congresscan.com or 416-504-4500 ext. 208.



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 ebloomfi@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 ebloomfi@uoguelph.ca