1 November 2008

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"Positively Autistic": CBC TV documentary
aired on Monday, 27 October on "The National"
Is autism a disorder, or just a neurological difference? Psychiatrists consider it a mental disorder, but since the early 90's, an autistic rights movement has sprung up, challenging the official view of autism and working to change how the world sees autism. In this special feature, we meet some of the people at the forefront of this movement, and find out what they see are the positives of living life as a person with autism.

Click for main blog link
View the video (19 minutes)
See separate links for transcripts of interviews,  as follows:
Amanda Baggs:
Estee Klar-Wolfond:
Ari Ne'eman:
Michael Moon:
Laurent Mottron:
Scott Robertson :
To comment:

Forgotten: Autism Ontario Releases Discussion Paper
on Needs of Adults on the Autism Spectrum
Ontario has a "piecemeal" approach that must be dramatically changed to support the estimated 50,000 adults suffering from the developmental disorder, an advocacy group said in a discussion paper released last week. The report entitled Forgotten is the result of a partnership led by Autism Ontario and says the government needs to form a framework to support the estimated 50,000 adults with ASD (and their families or caregivers) with educational, employment and social opportunities, as well as supported living options.
Link to read the full report: Forgotten: Ontario Adults with Autism and Adults with Aspergers
Report in Globe and Mail, 16 October 2008
Article in The Star

Ontario Passes New Legislation for People with a Developmental Disability
Passed on 30 September 2008, The Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008 replaces the 35-year-old Developmental Services Act, which provided services mainly for people living in government-run institutions.
Click on this link to read the news release, widely relayed in the media, here in The Globe and Mail's Report on Business: More Independence And Choice For People With A Developmental Disability
Read our review of the legislation and the process of amending it over the summer.
We will bring you the text of the new act as soon as we have it and, we hope, also a plain-langauge version.

Amy Baskin's "Empty Nest Envy"
feature article  in the November 2008 issue of MORE Magazine.

Not available online



BitTorrent's Bram Cohen Isn't Limited by Asperger's
Bram Cohen's brain works differently from most people's. He has Asperger's syndrome, a condition that keeps him rooted in the world of objects and patterns, puzzles and computers, but leaves him floating, disoriented, in the everyday swirl of human interactions.

High-tech clues to facial cues
A new device helps people with Asperger's or autism interpret expressions of emotion. A product of MIT's Media Lab, where computer scientists are studying ways to help machines think emotionally, like humans, the prototype is called an iSet, which stands for "interactive social emotional toolkit."

Autistic expression through art

A story in The Edmonton Journal about Yvette Prefontaine who thinks in pictures. "When something is unplanned, I see an empty frame," she says. The 27-year-old has autism and has trouble communicating. Understanding directions, for example, is a challenge. Prefontaine must be shown what to do, rather than told. The Autism Society of Edmonton Area celebrated the works of about a dozen autistic artists last week at its first Art of Autism fundraiser.

MP supporting adults with autism and families

In Britain, a Private Members’ Bill has been launched by The National Autistic Society (NAS). Anne Snelgrove, MP for South Swindon explains why she supports the bill. With 40% of adults with autism living at home with their parents and over 60% relying on them financially, she considers the new policy would give sufferers the support needed to become more independent. NAS Chief Executive, Mark Lever, says that "the right support at the right time could transform thousands of lives. It is simply unacceptable that individuals and families continue to struggle to get the help they so desperately need from health and social care agencies.”
The Autism Bill aims to compel local authorities and NHS bodies to recognise and fulfil their responsibilities towards people with autism. Measures proposed include improving local information on the number of people with autism, providing effective support from child to adult services, appropriate staff training, and the promotion of appropriate packages of support to enable independent living for people with autism.


The organizers of the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) 25th Annual Conference, November 12-14, 2008 in Niagara Falls, have made this appeal to help family members attend.

The NADD Family Issues Committee is having their 4th  Annual Silent Auction at the 25th Annual NADD Conference. We seek donated items for the silent auction, which is the Family Issues Committee annual fundraiser. The proceeds from this event will financially assist family members to attend NADD Conferences. The items donated should be portable in size (for travel). Examples of items for donation are: books, artwork, gift certificates. Cash or cheques will gratefully be accepted as well.
If you would like to send a donated item to the Conference for the Silent Auction, it can be forwarded to:
Nancy Stone
4450 Lakeside Drive
R.R. #1
Beamsville, Ontario Canada
L0R 1B1
If you have any questions please contact: Elizabeth Arnold, Chair, NADD - Family Issues Committee - arnoldr@bmts.com or 519-832-5554 


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 10, 2008, in Toronto

Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services,
Employer Outreach Secretariat:
Symposium on Disability and Employment

Contact: Tim Hilliard

Email: tim.hilliard@ontario.ca

3rd Floor, Hepburn Block

80 Grosvenor Street

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1E9

Tel: (416) 325-5352

FAX: (416) 212-4704

E-mail: employeroutreachsecretariat@ontario.ca

Employer Outreach Secretariat contacts: http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo/office.do?actionType=telephonedirectory&infoType=telephone&unitId=UNT0027984&locale=en

Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 4:30-6pm, in Kitchener
Social Innovation Generation, at the University of Waterloo (SiG@Waterloo, www.sig.uwaterloo.ca), invites you to
Social Innovation Dialogues: Fall 2008
Frances Westley & Paul Born (SiG@Waterloo and Tamarack)
"Systems Change: Thinking like a Movement"
Venue: Kitchener Public Library, Main Library, 85 Queen Street North, , ON
THIS EVENT IS FREE TO ATTEND. PLEASE RSVP BY EMAILING info@sig.uwaterloo.ca OR CALLING 519 743 0271 ext 255

November 12-14, 2008 in Niagara Falls ON
National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) 25th Annual Conference: 
"A Quarter Century of Awareness: Assessment, Treatment & Policy Advances (ID/MH)"

At the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel,
Niagara Falls, ON, Canada.
At the end of the conference, participants will be able to:
• Cite advances in the field of co-occurring MH/ID;
• Recognize the genetic underpinning of several MH/ID disorders;
• Identify to relevance of the DM-ID to the diagnosis and treatment of persons with MH/ID;
• Name several integrated system responses that have developed in Canada and the US;
• Interpret relevant integrated research that can be generalized to other individuals with MH/ID issues.
To learn more information about this event, please visit:

November 13, 2008, 7:30pm
Canadian play ‘God’s Middle Name’ to be performed at Centre in the Square, Kitchener
A compelling tale of one mother’s journey through the uncharted territory of raising an autistic child. This performance is a must see for anyone who has been affected by Autism. Click here for more information about the play. To receive a 20% discount to the play, visit the Centre in the Square’s  website, click on the promotions tab and enter the password AUTISM. Tickets can also be purchased at the Centre in the Square Ticket Centre or by phone at 1-800-265-8977.

November 18, 2008, 7-9pm, in Waterloo (at KidsAbility)

All About Me: an Advocacy Seminar/Workshop
Presented by Beverly Grant.
Also on April 28, 2009

Click for full details and how to register

November 17-21, 2008, in Ottawa
Global Forum for Inclusion and CACL 50th Anniversary Conference
CACL (Canadian Association for Community Living) is co-hosting a Global Forum for Inclusion and celebrating its 50th Anniversary November 17-21, 2008 at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, Ontario. The Global Forum consists of an international gathering of self-advocates and families, Inclusion International’s General Assembly, an International Conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Study Tours on Inclusive Practices in Canada and the US. CACL’s 50th Anniversary conference will celebrate the last 50 years and look at next steps needed to address the remaining challenges and barriers to the full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Join with people from around the world to transform rights into action and make inclusion a reality for all!
To register for the Global Forum for Inclusion visit: www.inclusion2008.com
To register for CACL’s 50th Anniversary Conference visit: www.cacl.ca

Monday, 24 November 2008, 7:30pm, in Toronto
Haadd: Helping Adults with Autism and Developmental Disorders
presents, as the highlight of our Annual General Meeting
Guest Speaker, John Lord
Inclusive Lives in Community: How Families are Building a New Story

Jewish Community Centre, 4588 Bathurst, Rm.202
Between Sheppard and Finch on the west side of Bathurst, parking at the rear
Click for flyer with full details

December 2, 2008, in Guelph, all day
Independent Planning and Facilitation Symposium
organized by the Wellington
Independent Planning and Facilitation Steering Committee in partnership with MCSS, Individualized Funding Coalition of Ontario and Families for a Secure Future.
Click for advance brochure and registration form (registration must be received by November 18)

December 12, 2008, in Chatham, all day
The Many Faces of Adults With Asperger Syndrome:
Treatment and Support
presented by Regional Support Associates
Click for flyer

advance announcement...

26-28 February 2009, in Herning, Denmark
Meeting of Minds 3, 2007.  a Conference on Autism:

 a multidimensional approach - research and practice

For researchers, parents, professionals, people with autism, and others with an interest in autism and related disorders. Meeting of Minds is a concept which brings different mindsets together. The 2009 conference centres on issues in areas such as the medical, the educational/psychological and quality of life

This conference will build on the phenomenal success of the 2007 International Conference "Meeting of Minds 2" that brought together professionals, families, carers and people with ASD from all over the world. The first Meeting of Minds conference on autism and related disorders was held in 2003 in Copenhagen. The organizers’ vision for the conferences is to impart research based knowledge and establish an atmosphere for the exchange of knowledge between researchers and professionals in the field of autism and related disorders.

Plenary sessions will be presented by the following keynote speakers:  

·        Lorna Wing, Dr., NAS Lorna Wing Centre for Autism

·        Judith Gould, Director, NAS Lorna Wing Centre for Autism

·        Elkhonon Goldberg, Professor, New York University School of Medicine  

·        Christopher Gillberg, Professor,  University of Gothenburg  

·        Gary Mesibov, Professor, University of North Carolina (to be confirmed) 

·        Rita Jordan, Professor, University of Birmingham  

·        Mohammad Ghaziuddin, Associate Professor, University of Michigan  

·        Per Hove Thomsen, Professor, University of Århus

·        Maria Råstam, Associate Professor, University of Gothenburg

·        Richard Mills, Research Director, Research Autism/National Autistic Society

·        Olga Bogdashina, Visiting lecturer, University of Birmingham

·        Eva Billstedt, Dr., University of Gothenburg

·        Holger Kallehauge, Retired High Court Judge, Disabled Peoples Organisations

·        Kjeld Høgsbro, Professor, University of Aalborg


Further details on the conference, including the full programme can be accessed via the website www.meetingofminds.dk where online booking is now available.



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