1 August 2008

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What in the World is Autism?

Richard Roy Grinker discusses how culture shapes our understanding of autism. Father of a daughter with autism, now 16, and author of Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism, he says: “The point I wanted to make with my book is that autism prevalence is a sign of progress for American culture.... [The rising rate of autism] is a sign that we are finally seeing and appreciating a kind of human difference that we once turned away from and that many other cultures still hide away in homes or institutions or denigrate as bizarre." A keynote speaker for the October Applied Autism Research and Intervention Conference, Grinker is currently researching the prevalence of autism in South Korea.

Autism's Social Struggles Due To Disrupted Communication Networks In Brain

"Picking up on innuendo and social cues is a central component of engaging in conversation, but people with autism often struggle to determine another person's intentions in a social interaction. New research from Carnegie Mellon University sheds light on the neural mechanisms that are responsible for such social difficulties in autism, and on the workings of these social brain mechanisms in all of us." The report is available on the website of the journal Social Neuroscience.

Autism centre one step closer

Sergio Cocchia and Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia - who own Vancouver's Century Plaza Hotel and Spa, and have a 13-year-old son with autism - envision an autism research and support centre that could cost up to $34 million to build. "What we hope is that, when you get this diagnosis, there's a place that you can go, where you could access all of the material, the professionals, the treatment plans, and you could prepare yourself for the challenge that's ahead of you," said Sergio Cocchia.  For years, the Cocchias have been speaking with Premier Gordon Campbell about the possibility of a centre. Their dream started to materialize in the 2008 throne speech, when the province committed to developing a facility to "provide a residential environment for children with autism and create a national hub for research and a centre for parental supports."
After the speech, Campbell told The Vancouver Sun he asked the Cocchias to put together a proposal and a business plan.

However, other autism advocates in British Columbia disagree that this should be a priority, some saying that if government money is available, it should go toward programs and services rather than a building.



Special Announcements by Kerry's Place Autism Services in Kingston

The Spectrum Art Show
August 14th - 18th, showcasing the talents of various artists who have diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

4-H Club in Kingston teaching youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders fun and useful skills--August schedule.

Click for bulletin which has full details and contact:

Community Education and Awareness Team
Kerry's Place Autism Services
556 O'Connor Drive, Suite 104
Kingston, ON K7P 1N3

Laura Egerton: legerton@kerrysplace.org



We are often asked for help in finding professionals who can assess disabilities, and thus are glad to know of this professional organization, whose members are distributed around Ontario.
of Psychologists in Disability Assessment


The website description is as follows:

CAPDA is an organization of senior psychologists who practise primarily in the areas of psychological or neuropsychological assessment of disability and impairment.

There are strict requirements for membership and all members are bound by comprehensive standards which guide their practice and outline their obligations to the individual assessed and to the referral source.



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.

Fall 2008, between October 18 and November 29, in Oshawa
Compassion in Action: Open Mind, Open Heart, Skilful Means
an 8-part introductory seminar series in compassionate practices with Felicia Jervis.
THE HEART OF THE MATTER: Some children and adults express themselves through actions that are at times difficult to understand and support safely. These actions may include: occasional withdrawal or aggressive acts towards self, others and property. These actions must be understood not as challenging behaviors that need to be controlled or eliminated, but rather as communicative acts that often speak of the pain of humiliation and rejection, and a yearning to belong....
Click for full brochure and how to register in the workshop series

Click to read "When children hurt themselves"
by Felicia Jervis in BLOOM magazine on the Bloorview website


Announcing Individual Events

August 11-14, 2008: at Durham campus, University of New Hampshire

10th Annual Autism Summer Institute on theme
"Emotion, Behavior, and Belonging"
Three adults who have overcome obstacles related to living with autism spectrum disorders will speak:
-Amanda Baggs, a college student recently featured on CNN who has autism and uses a computer to communicate
-CarolAnn Edscorn, a mother with Asperger Syndrome
-Ros Blackburn, a lecturer from England.
"The goal of the Autism Summer Institute is to provide perspectives which focus on students' strengths in order to improve the quality of education in inclusive settings. Participants will gain skills and knowledge that will help support the full participation of students with ASD in their schools and communities."
Link for more information

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

September 17-18, 2008: in Ottawa and Cornwall
Dennis Debbaudt’s "Autism Risk & Safety Management Workshop
Autism Ontario is very pleased to be able to provide the Ottawa and Upper Canada (Cornwall) communities a workshop providing valuable information on Autism Risk & Safety Management by Dennis Debbaudt.

For more information regarding Dennis Debbaudt, visit his website www.autismriskmanagement.com
Sessions at each workshop:
The morning session is for Parents and Care Providers.

The afternoon session dedicated to Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, First Response Teams and Criminal Justice Professionals.
For more information regarding the
Ottawa workshop, please email nancy@autismontario.com
For more information regarding the
Cornwall workshop, please email autismcornwall@gmail.com or visit their chapter website: www.autismontario.com/uppercanada

October 3-5, 2008, in Ottawa
Family Alliance Ontario Annual Conference
Engaging Families and Building Bridges
Links for more conference information:
Click for flyer in English
Click for flyer in French
Click for registration form in English
Click for registration form in French
Book your rooms early to get the best rates.
There are a few subsidies for families who have a family member with a disability; for more information on this contact:
Hamilton Family Network: 22 Leeming Street, Hamilton, ON L8L 5T3; Tel: (905) 526-7190; e-mail: hamiltonfamilynetwork@bellnet.ca or Family Alliance Ontario at: email: alliance@family-alliance.com or through the web site at: www.family-alliance.com

Going on in Ottawa at the same time is the “Encampment” project which may be of interest to some participants: On October 2 to 4, 2008, 70 tents will be assembled in Major’s Hill Park for 2 days and evenings. Sokoloski & McCowan are working with the (CACL), through a 50th anniversary cultural initiative curated by Clara Hargittay, and in partnership with the (NCC). The artists will shape an unprecedented national version of The Encampment. A group of Creative Collaborators, representative of Canada’s regional diversity, will be invited to research the history and stories of intellectual disability. They will then take part in a collaborative process to create individual tent installations inspired by these stories.  For more information go to:
www.theencampment.net and click on concept on the left side bar.

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

Friday, October 24-Saturday, October 25, 2008
Organization for Autism Research hosts its
Sixth Annual Applied Autism Research and Intervention Conference
at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, VA.

Read all about Day One.
Click for information and early-bird registration



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