29 January 2009

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How typical are the findings of this report of the situation in other Ontario regions? What could we learn from a study of service pathways for adults with autism?

Service Pathways for Children with Autism in an Ontario Region

An exemplary report has been prepared in 2008 by a team of the Centre for Community Based Research, guided by a committee of service providers in Guelph, Wellington County, and Waterloo Region, and funded by the regional office of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The purpose was to talk about ways to improve services for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders by making an inventory and analysis of  the current array of services and developing a comprehensive vision or 'pathway' about how services could work more seamlessly together.

The process of accessing services and supports was found to include five major phases: problem identification, functional assessment, diagnostic assessment, referral and service delivery. Families of children who are autistic often need many different kinds of service, including treatment & therapy, specialized education & child care supports, respite & recreation, family support and financial support. They also need help planning for and managing all of the different people and organizations that provide these services.

At the conclusion of this project, five recommendations were made to the committee of local service providers:

1. Create, implement and maintain a current and comprehensive ASD information and knowledge management service which provides monitors and communicates in a variety of ways, to all types of families. Ideally, it should not be a major service provider but should have an independent voice and a commitment.

2. Adopt a common assessment tool and seek to create centralized, multidisciplinary diagnostic clinics or service resolution teams so that all families have a first point of contact when seeking ASD-related diagnoses.

3. Existing referral hubs should not be autism specific, but should manage referrals for all developmental concerns among children and youth..

4. The feasibility of a centralized referral management service should be explored. Such a system would list all developmental services, along with referral protocols, current levels of availability and/or information about waitlist length and would be designed to streamline referrals and facilitate access to services. This database should be linked regionally or provincially.

5. Case management for children with autism and their families should be holistic, inclusive and independent. Case management is spread across numerous organizations and is defined somewhat differently by each one. None of the case managers existing within the current service system have the capacity to provide this service in a holistic way. Referral functions should be considered as one component of case management, and case managers should take a leadership role in making the entire system simpler and more navigable.

For more information please contact Andrew Taylor at andrew@communitybasedresearch.ca.

Click for the full project report


Click for the executive summary



Disorder linked to high levels of testosterone in womb
A prenatal screening test for autism comes closer today as new research is published that links high levels of the male hormone testosterone in the womb of pregnant women to autistic traits in their children. The ground-breaking study, with its controversial implications, was published in the British Journal of Psychology by some of Britain's leading autism researchers The research was prompted by the fact that autism is four times more common in boys than in girls,, and is linked with other traits that are found more commonly in boys, such as left-handedness.

Saliva Test for Autism in the Works

Certain compounds in saliva are different in some children with autism spectrum disorders, a new study shows. Italian researchers analyzed saliva samples from 27 children with autism spectrum disorders and 23 healthy children of the same age.

New National Children's Study Seeks Environmental Causes of Autism, Asthma, ADHD

Pregnant women in Duplin County, NC and Queens, NY are being invited to be part of the National Children's Study. "This first-ever effort, 10 years in the making, will follow thousands of children from the womb to age 20, with the goal of finding the causes of major health problems like asthma, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, low birth weight, birth defects, and premature birth. In the months and years to come, 103 more areas of the country will be included in this first large-scale, long-term study to investigate environmental factors like pollution and pesticides as possible causes. "We'll be able to amass information on the environmental causes of these diseases within three to five years," says Philip Landrigan, a principal investigator for the study, based at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He pioneered research on the health effects of air pollution on children, proving in the 1970s that children could suffer IQ loss and other serious damage from exposure to low levels of lead previously thought safe.

More Independence, Inclusion, and Participation for People with Autism
Outline of a research project in North Carolina. “Training Paraprofessional Staff to Provide Proactive Support for Individuals with Severe Autism in Inclusive Settings.” Its goals are increased independence and participation in the community for children and adults with autism.

DVD teaches autistic kids what a smile means

A DVD for autistic children called The Transporters teaches autistic children how to recognize emotions like happiness, anger and sadness through the exploits of vehicles including a train, a ferry, and a cable car. It is the brainchild of Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, who believes autism is a condition where people perceive systems and patterns while remaining almost oblivious to other people and their feelings.To help autistic children understand emotions, Baron-Cohen and his team use eight track-based vehicles in their DVD. The vehicles have human faces grafted onto them, making focusing on human features unavoidable. The video was financed by the British government. "To teach autistic children something they find difficult, we needed an autism-friendly format," Baron-Cohen said. Autistic children are particularly drawn to predictable vehicles that move on tracks like trains and trams.


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
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 URL Link for more information/registration 

 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments


13-15 February 2009, near Barrie at Kempenfelt Centre

Phoenix Autism Weekend Symposium
Friday evg: Dr Wendy Edwards on Biomedicine and Autism
Sat and Sun: Get an HANDLE on Autism ("an effective- non-drug treatment alternative")
Click for flyer
Click for registration Preregistration discounts before January 15
Click for website

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

March 11, 2009: Deadline for Call for Papers:
3rd International Conference - October 21 - 25th, 2009.
Come To Your Senses:  Creating Supportive Environments to Nurture Sensory Capital Within   
Organized by Dr. Nehama Baum and MukiBaum Treatment Centres
Click on this link for more

April 2-3, 2008, in Ottawa
Autism Awareness Centre Presents:
April 2nd: Leslie Broun: Essential Elements of Positive Practice;
Dr Peter Gerhardt: Transition Planning for Any Age
April 3rd: Jenny Clark Brack: Ready S.E.T. Go! Sensorimotor Early Childhood/Elementary Themes & ASD
Holiday Inn Plaza la Chaudiere, 2 Montcalm, Gatineau/Ottawa
For more information, phone toll free: 1-866-724-2224 or (780) 474-8355 Fax: (780) 477-8350
E-mail: vharris@shaw.ca or visit our website at www.autismawarenesscentre.org

May 14-15, 2009 Birmingham, UK

Autism Awareness Centre Conference
Lori Ernsperger: Girls Under the Umbrella of ASD

Eustacia Cutler: Life Experiences and A View of Autism

Dr Lori Ernsperger: How to Get Children to Eat: Practical Strategies for Addressing Food Aversions and Eating Challenges

Pamela Hirsch: Conversations in Autism

Click for conference details and to register...



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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.

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