OAARSN offers a rich and expanding collection of up-to-date information and communication tools that can put you in touch with others. We can all benefit from the opportunities for mutual support, encouragement and information sharing. We hope that OAARSN's efforts to promote positive approaches and best practices in supporting adults with autism can help all who live and work on the front lines. Click on OAARSN's main page

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.


3 March 2003

1.  FOCUS ON VOLUNTEERS is a new section in OAARSN's Communications area
        Objectives of Volunteering with Adults who have Autism 
           Volunteers needed!! - current volunteer opportunities with GSA 
           Why Volunteer? - Catherine Ferguson's experience of volunteering
           Andrew's message - living with autism and why volunteers matter 
           Print or download a volunteer application form

????One of our network members has suggested the idea that a volunteer
might relate online with an adult or older teenager who lives with autism....
This could overcome practical and logistical problems of finding times to get together.
Some ASD people could find meeting online with a volunteer more comfortable.
What do you think?????

2. Past OAARSN News Bulletins are now archived on the OAARSN site, and their contents can also be reached through searches of our site.  Click for a list of links to archived bulletins.
                                       February 24, 2003 
                                       February 17 , 2003 
                                       February 10 , 2003 
                                       February 03 , 2003 
                                       January 27, 2003 
                                       January 20, 2003 
                                       January 14, 2003 
                                       January 6, 2003 
                                       December 20, 2002 
                                       November 29,2002 
                                       November 16,2002 
                                       November 7,2002 
                                       October 29 ,2002 
                                       October 22 ,2002 

3. PLN Bulletins are now being posted and will be archived on the OAARSN site. PLN LIST began two years ago for exchanging news and views about strategies of building and maintaining personal support networks for people with disabilities, and associated issues. PLN List came into being at the time Planned Lifetime Networks was incorporated in the Waterloo-Wellington region of southern Ontario. Members of the List are now distributed in communities across Canada, with some in other countries too. Click for the current PLN Bulletin



Is there more autism? Or just a new definition? 

Mercury in vaccines blamed for illnesses
Parents seek money for autistic children through class-action lawsuits
Mainly about the applications for class-action certification in British Columbia by lawyer David Klein,who has also filed on behalf of 100 families in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  A second account

B.C. Government blasted
for breaking a a promise of full funding for a treatment program. 23 parents of autistic children filed legal action last week against the B.C. government as part of a continuing effort to get court-ordered funding for Lovaas autism therapy. 

$11-million insult
Court orders BC's provincial government to cover ASD treatment costs for children aged 6-18 years, but parents say amount is woefully inadequate.

Newfoundland tries to thwart early treatment
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has gone to court to overturn a provincial  Human Rights Commission ruling requiring it to provide timely treatment to autistic children.

Noisy Brain Signals (video)
Fragile X syndrome is a type of mental retardation that affects children. Neuroscientists studying the brains of adult patients have found that there are extra connections in the Fragile X brain.

The brain in the gut
The gut has a mind of its own. Operating like the cranial brain and looking uncannily similar to it, the gut brain is continuously active, whether we're aware of it or no....

Can Long-Term Treatment With Antidepressant Drugs Worsen the Course of Depression? 
Read Abstract by Giovanni A. Fava, M.D.

Autism and Hyperlexia
Read abstract



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 
 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments 

See details of more events on OAARSN Bulletin Board and Calendar:

 Kerry's Place Autism Services – Central West Region
 One Year Contract position for 30 to 37.5 hours per week.
 Flexible hours required
 Start Date:  April 1, 2003 
 Location:  Based in Wellington Region
 See full details

new posting
Open Windows Essential Training: 
Opening Windows of Hope for Children with Developmental Disorders 
June 21 & June 22, 2003 
Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
The first conference of its kind in Canada ..... 
"Open Windows Essential Training" is presented by the International Child Development Research Center (ICDRC) in conjunction with the Autism Canada Foundation.

This conference will teach you how to integrate Biomedical, Behavioural, Nutritional and other effective treatment options in a "whole approach" therapy style, so that you can help maximize the potential of individuals living with Autism, PDD and Related Disorders. 
Guest Speakers include: 
    Dr. Jeffrey  Bradstreet, M.D. F.A.A.F.P 
    Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, M.D. 
    Karyn Seroussi 
    Stephen Shore 
    Dr. Lynda Thompson  .....  and more  .... 
In Open Windows Essential Training, Medical Researchers, Behaviouralists, Parents and Clinicians participate in an interactive learning experience designed to educate and equip you for the challenges presented by Autism and Related Disorders. 

Click any of the links below for additional information and to find out how to register 



1. DOGS WITH JOBS helping people with autism
Many people have told us about seeing the half-hour CTV program on Friday 28th. 
This is how to reach NSD:
National Service Dogs Training Centre Inc.
P.O. Box 28009, Preston Postal Outlet
Cambridge, ON N3H 5N4
Tel: (519) 662-4223
Fax: (519) 662-4697
Email: info@nsd.on.ca
Website: www.nsd.on.ca

2. Devices to track lost people
a) Putnam device that tracks lost people finds few takers.  Read article

b) Digital Angel holds promise of increased independence for adults with autism (as they walk their dogs in their neighbourhoods, for example) with peace of mind for parents and caregivers. Available and usable in the United States and Europe, Digital Angel does not yet seem to have adequate satellite support in Canada. Do any network members know more about the practical usefulness of this device? More about Digital Angel

3. Puzzles and Games
Quite a few adults and teenagers with autism are remarkably clever with the spatial skills required for puzzles and some games. But there are too few clever and beautiful puzzles that are age-appropriate for our people. Andrew recommends several puzzles made by Imagination Project that has been developing fun, unique, award winning products since 1994. He particularly likes two puzzles derived from brilliant designs by M.C. Escher. Check the I-Project website

4. Squeeze Machines and Steam Rollers
Temple Grandin is widely known for her achievements despite her autism. To give her body with the deep pressure it needed to deal with sensory challenges, she invented a hug (or squeeze) machine (or box). Her design went into limited production to provide sensory integration therapy for children and adults with autism. Are there any such devices in Ontario that could be visited to test their usefulness? A less expensive and more accessible alternative is Southpaw's Steam Roller (at $400 US).  Southpaw website

5. Autistic Spectrum Disorder Diagram
Included in the updated 'First Guide to Asperger Syndrome' by Sue Gething, Head of Southlands School. Available from OAASIS for 6 pounds (GBP). 
E-Mail: oaasis@hesleygroup.co.uk
Website: www.oaasis.co.uk
 FAAAS™    Families of Adults Afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome
PO Box 514 Centerville, MA 02632 USA

6. Autism Asperger’s Digest magazine
Gymnastics, Fast ForWord and Special Needs Trusts are featured in the latest issue for March-April 2003.
“Gymnastics is the ultimate sensory playground,” says author Gene Hurwin, who has designed movement programs for children with special needs for over 20 years. “It is a discipline designed to integrate and maximize the developing child’s promixal senses: proprioception (interpreting stimuli originating in muscles and joints, that give information about the position of the child’s limbs), vestibular (interpreting stimuli from the inner ear receptors regarding head position, movement and gravity) and tactile (interpreting light touch and pressure through skin contact/receptors.) These body-centered senses are the structural foundation by which more complex and mature operations, and therefore, occupations are scaffolded.” In his article, Gene explores how a gymnastics program can be structured for kids with autism, and its potential benefits in the areas of motor planning, organizational behavior, attention, problem-solving skills, self-confidence and self-esteem.
The Autism Asperger’s Digest is a 52 page magazine published bimonthly for the autism community, available by subscription only. For more information, visit www.autismdigest.com or call 800.489.0727.



See also: Funding Issues--in OAARSN Discussion Boards and Topics. Press the Communications bar on OAARSN’s main page then choose Discussion Area



News about adults with autism is usually negative. We receive many appeals for advice on where to turn for help--with diagnosis and assessment, advocacy, planning for the future, alternatives to approaches that are not working. There are virtually no obvious sources of help for isolated adults with autism and their caregivers.

We know that some adults and their families and caregivers are heroically using what resources they have to achieve some successes with their challenges. Some can report remarkable progress. We invite you, as an adult or caregiver living with autism, to share your problems and your success stories, if you think others might help or benefit.

A Journey with Autism:  Excerpt from Allison's Suncatchers and Chains by Kris Jones (Detselig Enterprises, 2002).

If you wish, we will not publish your name or email address. You may send a message to ebloomfi@uoguelph.ca for OAARSN. Or you might use the OAARSN Discussion Board, reached by pressing the Communication bar on our main page


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