22 November 2008

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In a Novel Theory of Mental Disorders, Parents’ Genes Are in Competition
Two scientists, drawing on their own powers of observation and a creative reading of recent genetic findings, have published a sweeping theory of brain development that would change the way mental disorders like autism and schizophrenia are understood. The theory emerged in part from thinking about events other than mutations that can change gene behavior. And it suggests entirely new avenues of research, which, even if they prove the theory to be flawed, are likely to provide new insights into the biology of mental disease. At a time when the search for the genetic glitches behind brain disorders has become mired in uncertain and complex findings, the new idea provides psychiatry with perhaps its grandest working theory since Freud, and one that is grounded in work at the forefront of science. CLick on title to read the account in The New York Times.

Autism gene linked to childhood language disorder
A gene linked to autism may also play a role in the most common childhood language disorder, perhaps explaining why some children develop language difficulties. "This is the first time anyone has pinpointed a specific gene that is involved in common forms of language impairments," said University of Oxford geneticist and Wellcome Trust researcher Simon Fisher, who also noted that the condition known as specific language impairment affects an estimated 2-7 percent of pre-school children and is as common as dyslexia.

Link Between Nicotine Addiction And Autism

Scientists have identified a relationship between two proteins in the brain with links to both nicotine addiction and autism. The finding has led to speculation that existing drugs used to curb nicotine addiction might serve as the basis for potential therapies to alleviate the symptoms of autism.  The discovery identified a defining role for a protein made by the neurexin-1 gene, which is located in brain cells and assists in connecting neurons as part of the brain's chemical communication system. The neurexin-1 beta protein's job is to lure another protein, a specific type of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, to the synapses, where the receptor then has a role in helping neurons communicate signals among themselves and to the rest of the body. This function is important in autism because previous research has shown that people with autism have a shortage of these nicotinic receptors in their brains. Meanwhile, scientists also know that people who are addicted to nicotine have too many of these receptors in their brains.


All grown up — now where to go?
Autistic kids are quickly turning into autistic adults, and the growing population is straining social services and posing new challenges for parents who have to care for them 24/7. A good story from Rhode Island.

Right project for his skills: Program gives autistic man shot at success
Andrew Janusz has found a job that suits his meticulous skills. A full-time worker at the Brown County Register of Deeds office, Janusz converts records from microfiche to a digital, computer-based format.

Autism's star emphasizes value of work
Temple Grandin, 61-year-old animal scientist and author spoke to hundreds of parents and educators yesterday at the national Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Programs conference in Columbus.

I Exist: the message from adults with autism

Nearly two-thirds of adults with autism in the UK say that they do not have enough support. This lack of support can have a devastating impact on individuals and families. Take action now to help improve the lives of adults with autism. Think. Act. Transform lives.
New NAS (UK) awareness campaign launches
As part of the think differently about autism campaign, a focus on daily situations to draw attention to how proper understanding of the condition can make a huge difference to those affected by autism.
Click on link to read more and view videos



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


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.

February 26-March 1, 2009, in Vancouver
Biennial Autism Congress
Autism Through the Lifespan
featuring over 18 of the world's foremost autism experts speaking on a full range of topics
Link for more details: http://www.autismvancouver.com



Libro Resource Centre for Autism opens in London, Ontario
Libro Financial Group decided to donate $20,000 for London's first autism resource centre, to provides information, literature, educational materials, computer programs that would help benefit families and individuals living with autism lead successful lives,

Being Me

What does being on the autism spectrum mean to me? What am I good at? What might I need support with? Being Me is a new resource that we have developed with, and for, adults with autism. It features a DVD and a CD-ROM and, as well as being useful for adults with autism, is an excellent awareness-raising tool and training aid. Read more.

'Being Me' is part of the NAS Socialeyes resource. The rest will be published next year. Socialeyes is a social skills programme developed by NAS Cymru. The CD-ROM is compatible with PCs and MACs. 

Published by The National Autistic Society, 2008, DVD plus CD-ROM, DVD running time 40 mins

Website Features Fitness Routine Developed for Young People on the Autism Spectrum
Beginning in 2003, fitness specialist Eric Chessen worked firsthand with the autism community, and it was during this time he developed the fitness program featured on AutismFitness.com. The site is an informational source about autism, and it also features DVDs of his specially designed autism fitness program.



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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.