23 March 2009

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World Autism Awareness Day is on 2 April this year

Suggestions by the National Autistic Society UK, especially for adults with ASD.

Visit the official World Autism Awareness Day website to upload your photo and leave a message

Follow World Autism Awareness Day on Twitter

Make a short video about why you're standing up for autism and add it to our YouTube page

Add your message to the NAS Facebook discussion board or download the NAS World Autism Awareness Day badge


World Autism Awareness Day link for two articles

about adult autism and working now to ensure better lives for adults in the future.

“Taking On the Future: Making Adult Lives Better for People with Autism

by Denise D. Resnik, about the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) Think-Tank sponsored by the New York Center for Autism (NYCA) and Autism Speaks. The mission of AFAA is simple, “To create meaningful futures for adults with autism that include homes, jobs, recreation, friends, and supportive communities.” This two-day intensive meeting was designed to bring together some of the best minds, both inside and outside of the autism community, to put this mission to work toward identifying the challenges facing adults as they leave the educational system and ultimately, promoting programs and policies that support each individual in a life of dignity, competence, and quality.

Good News from the National Autistic Society UK
Communication, NAS members' magazine, looks at fathers and autism
I Exist is the National Autistic Society’s campaign to improve the lives of adults with autism.

Half of
Utah adults with autism lead fulfilling lives

The study, written by researchers at the University of Utah, Carmen B. Pingree Center for Children with Autism in Salt Lake City, McGill University in Canada, Los Angeles Medical School and Yale University School of Medicine, offers a rare glimpse into the lives of adults with autism.

It examined the mental, social and day-to-day living skills of 41 Utahns, ages 22 to 46, who were diagnosed with autism between 1960 and 1984 and participated in an earlier 1980s study.

In total, about half of the adults had "very good" or "good" outcomes -- better than found elsewhere. For example, a study in England found only 32 percent fell into those categories. It is suggested that one factor could be the close-knit LDS communities the participants grew up in and continue to live in. "Inclusion of individuals with disabilities is a strong LDS cultural value."

Dealing with autism in adults

An ABC Action News report.

Heightened level of amygdala activity may cause social deficits in autism

Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered an increased pattern of brain activity in the amygdalas of adults with autism that may be linked to the social deficits that typically are associated with the disorder. Previous research at the UW and elsewhere has shown that abnormal growth patterns in the amygdala are commonly found among young children diagnosed with autism. The amygdala is popularly associated with the "fight-or-flight response" in dangerous situations. But it has other functions, including identifying faces and situations and evaluating social information such as emotions. The new research shows that brain activation in adults with autism remains elevated long after similar brain regions of typically developed adults have stopped being activated when exposed to a series of pictures of human faces. A decrease in activation over time to the same type of information is called neural habituation and is connected with learning, according to Natalia Kleinhans, lead author of the new study and a UW research assistant professor of radiology.


Gene Variant Allies Autism, Gastrointestinal Woes
Researchers have identified a gene variant that is associated with both autism and gastrointestinal problems in individuals with autism. The finding may represent early identification of a sub-type of autism. "This association was not present in another group who have autism and don't have gastrointestinal problems," said study author Dr. Daniel B. Campbell, a research assistant professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. "We think we're subdividing types of autism in a way that's finally useful." The report was published in the March issue of Pediatrics.


Sports, Exercise, and the Benefits of Physical Activity for Individuals with Autism


Special invitation from Autism Ontario and
Ontario Partnership for Adults with Aspergers and Autism

Adults with ASD – What’s going on at Autism Ontario?

may have approximately 50,000 adults with ASD based on the prevalence rate of 1:150. How many adults and their families are familiar with current programs offered by the Ontario Government? With the work of Autism Ontario and the Ontario Partnership for Adults with Aspergers and Autism? Have you read Autism Ontario’s  the Forgotten Ontario Adults with Autism and Adults with Aspergers? Do you feel you are all alone trying to cope with such a complex problem?  Would you like support? Do you know what community supports and services are available in your community? Do you know of someone with an adult with ASD living with “aging parents? Are they members of Autism Ontario?
Autism Ontario invites you to a teleconference meeting on ADULT ISSUES!!! INTERESTED???
Date: Monday, April 6       Time : 7–8 pm
Find out what Autism Ontario is doing for adults with ASD. Members of the Adult Working Group will be on the line to field your questions, concerns and issues, and will provide answers and suggestions.
To register and receive the call-in information, please email karyn@autismontario.com with “April 6 Teleconference” as your subject line. The call will be open to the first 20 people who register.
Howard Weinroth and Patricia Gallin, Co-Chairs
Ontario Partnership for Adults with Aspergers and Autism


Invitation to take part in research project

New Auditory Processing in Autism Study

Are you between 13 and 18 years old? Have you been diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome?

If so, you may be eligible to participate in research currently being conducted in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University. Participants are asked to complete a series of computer tasks that measure music perception, audio-visual integration of speech sounds, selective attention and short-term memory. The study will take approximately 3.5 hours to complete. You will be compensated $40 + a $10 movie pass for your time. If you are coming from outside the Hamilton area, you will be compensated $30 for your transportation costs.

Testing time and place will be arranged at your convenience. If you are interested in participating or have any questions about the study, please contact Anne-Marie DePape at 905-525-9140 ext. 27114.

Read more about related research in this McMaster lab



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

Series of Events

Augmentative Communication Community Partnerships-Canada (ACCPC)
has posted information about 2009 workshops and seminars at:www.accpc.ca
Please contact for more information:
Barbara Collier
Executive Director
Augmentative Communication Community Partnerships-Canada
131 Barber Greene Rd.
Toronto ON M3C 3Y5

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) Workshops & Seminars
Within BC or online.
To help you in planning a safe and secure future for your relative with a disability, PLAN offers a variety of seminars and workshops on topics of interest to families. For a list of upcoming events, go to PLAN's website: http://www.plan.ca/Resources_Workshops2.php

The Center for Self-Determination

is “the primary clearinghouse, training and technical assistance source on Self-Determination in the United States and other countries. The Center is devoted to moving power and authority over resources directly to individuals with disabilities, families and allies. Visit the website at http://www.centerforself-determination.com/ to learn about special events over in the next few months in various regions.


Individual Events
World Autism Awareness Day takes place on 2 April this year. In the UK,
autism organisations want to persuade governments to recognise autism
spectrum disorders as distinct from other conditions, deserving urgent
planning, policy development and resources.

March 31, 7-9pm, in Guelph (Canadian Mental Health Association Boardroom)
Elizabeth Bell workshop: Making Sense of Sensory Integration
Please click on title for more details

Wednesday 1 April, in London, England
Seminar on designing autism-friendly environments
GA architects, specialists in designing environments for children and adults with ASD, are organising a free seminar The event will cover building design, furnishings, lighting and multi-sensory provision.

April 2, 2009, evening, in Hamilton
The Canadian National Autism Foundation hosts
Autism Awareness Day Concert to mark World Autism Awareness Day
at the Studio at Hamilton Place
Featured guests will be Rik Emmett, Sons of the Hammer (Members of Teenage Head & Junk House-Tom Wilson), Victoria Boland and Andrew Rudd (Victoria co-wrote  & sings our Foundation’s autism song called, "Don”t Give Up On Me Autism”.
The CNAF was formed in Hamilton in June 2000, by parents of children with Autism, to provide funding for:
Educating the general public and professionals
Providing information and resources to families of children with Autism
Providing funding for Canadian based research and development
Promoting national autism awareness
See website with more details about the concert: http://www.cnaf.net/

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

Saturday April 4, in Guelph @ the Delta Hotel & Conference Centre Guelph, 2-4pm
Biomedical perspectives in ASD
by Dr Wendy Edwards
Members $10.00   Non-Members $20.00
Register soon (519) 993-6699 or wellington@autismontario.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Time: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location: St. Mary's Catholic High School, Kitchener ON
Information for Persons with Disabilities, their Families, Caregivers, and Professionals within Waterloo Region 
Highlights of the evening include:
Advocacy and Supports
Financial Assistance
Personal Care and In-Home Supports
Respite and Residential Programs
Work, Day Programs, and Volunteer Supports

Visit the
Access Waterloo Region website

April 8, 2009

Great Plains Laboratories Webinar
Common Medications Used as Biomedical Therapy in Autism:
What are They, How Are They Used, etc.
Find details at

April 22, 2009
, all day, in London
A one-day workshop with Martha Leary:
Creative Strategies & Accommodations to help People with Autism and other Neurological Challenges to Grow in Learning, Communicating, Participating and Relationships.
Click for a poster with more information


April 21-25, in
Associated with the Leary workshop is Dreaming on the Artful Side of the Brain,
a collaborative exhibit of art works by people who have autism etc
Click for announcement and how to apply to submit a piece of art.

May 7, 14, 21, in
Families for a Secure Future presents
Three Thursday workshops facilitated by Judith McGill
The Power of Support Circles
Our relationships shape who we are and give us a deep sense of something bigger.
Click for full information and how to register

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

June 13, in Guelph, 10-3pm
Families for a Secure Future invites you to
Join other siblings in a Sunday of sharing and being together
Adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities rarely take the time to come together and reflect on what the experience has meant to them.
Facilitated by Judith McGill who is herself a sibling
Click for full information and how to register

June 14, in
Oshawa, 10-3pm
Families for a Secure Future invites you to
Join other siblings in a Sunday of sharing and being together
Adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities rarely take the time to come together and reflect on what the experience has meant to them.
Facilitated by Judith McGill who is herself a sibling
Click for full information and how to register



"Protecting Vulnerable Adults: Lessons from the Past, Recommendations for the Future"
A Link on the website of Kerry's Place Autism Services.
Dedicated to the memory of Tiffany Pinckney, 1982-2005.

New Book Views Asperger Syndrome as a Blessing

Appreciating Asperger Syndrome: Looking at the Upside—with 300 Positive Points [April 2009, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 240 pages, paperback, 978-1-84310-625-8, $18.95
“Life is too short for us to be anything other than true to who we are,” writes Brenda Boyd, an author with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and the mother of a son with AS. “People who have Asperger do us a great service—not because of any particular contributions that they might make to the world, but because they are essentially true to themselves in a way that typical people tend not to be."
Boyd’s new book shows that for every characteristic of AS that can be looked at negatively, such as learning styles, obsessions and perfectionism, there are several positive aspects that can be drawn on and developed.
Exploring different characteristics of AS, Boyd acknowledges the negative perceptions of these characteristics but goes on to advocate the large number of advantages to the Asperger’s way of thinking for individuals with AS, those around them and society as a whole.
“For me personally, diagnosis has been a very positive thing,” writes Boyd. “It opened up the door which has allowed me to find out more about who I really was and accept the truth of that. In particular, it has allowed me to unlock aspects of my own creativity that beforehand I had only been dimly aware of. It has brought me some very real healing."
Boyd has catalogued 300 positive points common to people with Asperger Syndrome. From their refreshing honesty to their originality and potential to become leaders rather than followers, people with AS have many admirable personality traits that should be nurtured. This book shows that by adjusting our perceptions of what is ‘normal’ and embracing diversity, AS can genuinely be understood, accepted and appreciated.
Writes Boyd, “The characteristic traits of AS have been responsible for some of the world’s greatest achievements right throughout history. Aspies can be difficult; they can challenge; and they can take us right out of our comfort zones. But if we are equal to the challenge, we have a great deal to gain and a great deal to learn from Asperger Syndrome.


New Book: Calming Meltdowns In Kids With Autism:
New Manual Helps Parents Manage Catastrophic Reactions

Managing Meltdowns: Using the S.C.A.R.E.D. Calming Technique with Children and Adults with Autism, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, February 2009, 80 pages, paperback, 978-1-84310-908-2, $14.95.

“Society depicts autism as a disorder, but at its core, it is a neurological difference in how we perceive the world around us. Autistic individuals have many unique gifts and talents,” write Deborah Lipsky and Will Richards. “Yet, with these gifts come some limitations. One of these limitations is termed a catastrophic reaction or ‘meltdown.’ It is not a temper tantrum. To the outside world, catastrophic reactions look appalling and much more frightening than they actually are. The key is to understand how an autistic individual perceives danger and to react in such a way as to de-escalate the situation."

In a chaotic or threatening situation, fear is the primary emotional response of an individual with autism. Often the initial physical response is to freeze. ‘Meltdowns,’ or brain overloads can be scary for the individual with autism, and for the person trying to help if they don’t know how to react in this situation. This new book offers strategies and practical techniques that will be a valuable reference tool to anyone in a first response position. The authors have created a training program to explain the autistic experience and mindset, and guide the interventions of first responders to individuals with autism in crisis.

Common coping strategies of individuals with autism, such as hand flapping or leg shaking, can be misperceived as being willful, noncompliant and uncooperative; and some techniques commonly recommended during times of distress or crisis, such as maintaining eye contact or using light touch, can be counter-productive rather than providing relief.

“Most written material regarding autism is composed by neurotypical (non-autistic) individuals,” write the authors. “This has resulted in portraying autistic learning styles as dysfunctional. A new and more fruitful approach is currently gaining acceptance. This conceptualization accepts an autistic cognitive style as different, with different gifts and different limitations. The purpose of this manual is to help explain the autistic experience and mindset and to guide the interventions of first responders."

Deborah Lipsky is a high-functioning autistic individual with substantial experience in emergency and trauma management, having formerly worked as a firefighter, emergency medical technician and reserve police officer. She is now a Continuing Education Seminar Presenter and Keynote Speaker, and is a consultant for schools, agencies and private parties specializing in meltdown management plans. Will Richards is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Maine.

Autism, Fire-Rescue EMS Training Video Release & Autism Risk & Safety Web Site Upgrade

March 16, 2009
Debbaudt Legacy Productions, LLC (DLP) is proud to release its latest training video Autism, Fire-Rescue and Emergency Medical Services. This video complements DLP’s Autism & Law Enforcement Roll Call Briefing Video. Information and promotional clips can be viewed at the upgraded website.
The Autism Risk & Safety web site now features new downloadable PDF resources, recommended Speakers/Trainers, new links and user friendly options including speaking text (for computers with speaking text capabilities), graphics free viewing option and enlarged text buttons.
See more at Dennis Debbaudt's Autism Risk & Safety Newsletter

SSAH Provincial Coalition’s March 2009 newsletter:
Spark of Brilliance
Links for activities North & Centre Wellington for March and April



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