ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM 
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK 
NEWS BULLETIN
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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.

 

NEWS BULLETIN
17 March 2003
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AUTISM IN THE NEWS

The MMR Controversy: an investigation.
Three major articles by Melanie Phillips, first published in the Daily Mail, March 11-13 2003. 
From the first article:
"Autism is a poorly understood disorder, characterised by withdrawal and isolation from the world, along with strange habits and compulsions. These can include ritualistic hand-flapping, rocking, absence of eye contact, self-injury and consuming interest in inanimate objects. 
"But the symptoms displayed by children whose parents link their disorder with MMR also include serious bowel disease, loss of language, excessive thirst, recurrent respiratory problems, allergies and food intolerance. 
"Such a list goes far beyond our current understanding of either autism or bowel disease. And how these two conditions could be connected to one another, let alone to MMR, is one of the most vexed questions of all.
"What remains clear is that the level of suffering among the parents of these children is immense. Their lives have been turned upside down, and their efforts are nothing short of heroic. Some have given up careers to care for their children. Many have little sleep as their children are up for much of the night."

Canaries in the Mine: Oregon's Epidemic of Autistic Children. 
By Yvonne Buchanan in Brainstorm Magazine, March, 2003.
"My son has autism. Try these words on your tongue; see how they taste." Oregon's prevalence is quoted as one boy in 86 under the age of three years.

Families win lawsuit over MMR vaccine in Japan
The government and a research center affiliated with Osaka University have been ordered to pay a total of 155 million yen to the families of two children who died or suffered side effects after receiving the MMR vaccine.
The vaccine, which covers measles, mumps and rubella, has since been banned because of its high side effects rate. 

Heat-Killed Bacteria's Role In Inducing An Innate Immune Response And Its Possible Link To Autism
Linda Carlton and Mary Brauninger present the hypothesis that autism maybe the result of a disease created by humans due to the aberrant use of chemicals, drugs, vaccinations, environmental toxins and poor nutrition.

Mind the gap
Charlotte Moore's column in The Guardian, Wednesday March 12, 2003
"I have no idea how Sam and George will cope as adults but one thing I know - they'll never earn a living."
                           
Adult Farm Community is Goal
The Foundation for Adult Services for Today and Tomorrow (FASTT) has been founded in the Belleville Area of Illinois.

Judge overrules transplant ban, by Clare Dyer in The Guardian
A decision by doctors caring for an autistic teenager with acute kidney failure that he should not be offered a kidney transplant, but just given palliative care once dialysis became impossible, has been overruled by England's top family judge, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.

Teaching kids who are twice exceptional
Educators try to identify and help gifted students who excel in some subjects but have learning disabilities and require support. 

Disabled victims face an impaired justice system 
People who can't see, hear or think like the general population are denied civil rights by a criminal justice system that ignores developmentally disabled crime victims, law enforcement and victim advocates say.
According to some statistics, developmentally disabled people are raped, murdered and beaten at a rate 9.4 times higher than the norm, but their cases get prosecuted 14 times less often. As a result, researchers say, these victims learn not to report crimes. There is no point. No one listens. Criminals often go free.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS OF EVENTS OR SPECIAL PROJECTS

See details of more events on OAARSN Bulletin Board and Calendar

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 

new postings

Clinical Trial Evaluating The Effects Of Nutritional Supplements on Autism Research "Casting Call"
If your child is between 4 to 8 years old, diagnosed with autism or related childhood developmental disorders (Asperger's Disorder or PDD-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)), and generally healthy, your child may be eligible to participate in this clinical trial. This 10-week study will begin in late April 2003.
Participants will receive all study material, forms, and study supplements in the mail. All communications and follow ups will take place via mail, phone, and/or email with the research staff. Your child will be
randomized to either the group taking the supplements or the group taking the placebo pills. Total of 13 capsules per day will be required for both study groups during the 10-week study.
The study is being led by Dr. Jeff Bradstreet (a physician with a large autism practice in Florida), with the assistance of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences and Arizona State University.
For more information on the clinical trial please call (321) 953-0278 or email: ek@gnd.org

Autism Society Ontario: Peel Chapter meeting March 26: 7:30pm 
at Peel Board of Education, 5650 Hurontario street, in the Board room.
A panel presentation of Private Services for ASD.   For info call (416)390-9193 or email peelaso@sympatico.ca

West Coast Symposium Facilitated Communication
April 3, 4, 5, 2003, Whittier Hilton Hotel, Whittier, California, Phone: 562-946-0467, X15
DAY 1: THE IMPACT OF FC ON OUR EVOLVING VIEWS OF DISABILITY
Doug Biklen
Rita Rubin
Anne Donnellen
Sue Rubin
Soma and Tito
Bob Rubin
Peter Leibert
Gerard Porsche
Day 2: THE METHOD AND BEYOND:  TRAINING-INDEPENDENCE-USE OF SPEECH
Rosemary Crossley
Marilyn Chadwick, etc., etc.
Day 3:  FACILITATED COMMUNICATION AND QUALITY OF LIFE
Best.  Jeanne Willig

Waterloo County Chapter, Autism Society Ontario
a) Silent Auction on April 12th at Fairview Park Mall. 
We are highlighting collectible and antique  items.  We also have approx. 200
new items.  We are raising funds for summer camp for kids with ASD.
Donations or info. call our hotline at 742-1414.
b) Cycle for Autism on June 8, 2003 to raise funds for summer camp, education and awareness.  It begins and ends at Kitchener City Hall.  There are 5, 10 and 40k routes to be walked, run or biked. Again, same phone number.  

Autism Society Ontario: Summer Student Scholarships
ASO is pleased to announce the ASO Summer Student Scholarship Program to start in May 2003. The Scholarships (minimum of two per year) will support individuals conducting research in any field related to Autism Spectrum Disorders. The $4,000.00 Scholarship is to be applied towards the summer stipends for the successful applicants. Supplementary funds for the student from the researcher are recommended to ensure minimum recommended summer student stipends at the university/clinical setting where the student will be working. To qualify, the student must be returning to University as a full-time student during the fall.
See more details

Autism Society Ontario:Stimulus Grants for Graduate Study in Autism Spectrum Disorders
ASO is pleased to announce Stimulus Grants for Graduate Study in Autism at an Ontario University to start in eptember 2003. The grants (minimum of 2 per year) will support individuals conducting research in any field related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and are offered to attract students to this field of study.  
For more information 

May 5-10, 2003 at Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Five-Day ABCD RETREAT for 30 community leaders on asset-based community development. JUDITH SNOW of Toronto, founder of International Association for Inclusive Citizenship, is one of the trainers and describes the event as a "weeklong seminar where we can explore in depth both building contribution and quality lives with individuals from unique differences, and building diverse and peaceful communities from our assets."   See flyer for details 
   
Autism Europe site has information about the Autism Awareness Campaign 2003 and the International Congress LISBOA 

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ISSUES AND ADVOCACY

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

Ontario Court Case : Friends of Children with Autism
28 families from all over Ontario are suing the Province to legally recognize that treatment of autism is “medically necessary”, just like treatment of diabetes or cancer and to fund this treatment for all children diagnosed with autism. The case began over four years ago with one family that has twin boys with autism (now 11 years old). A court date has been set for April 23, 2003 in Toronto. The families are appealing to everyone concerned for children with autism to contribute towards the legal costs. 
 

CACL Hosts Policy Forum on Unpaid Caregiving:  
 Canadian Knowledge Networks for Inclusion 
 On February 18-19, government officials, policy makers, academic researchers and community
 partners  (including family members from various family-based disability organizations and
 caregivers in eldercare) gathered together in Ottawa to attend a policy forum on unpaid
 caregiving. CACL Vice-President, Zuhy Sayeed, Director-at-Large, Robin Acton, Executive
 Vice-President, Michael Bach, and Co-ordinator of Family Resources, Janis Douglas, participated
 in this event.  
 Background papers, looking at caregiving from the perspectives of eldercare and from family
 members caring for person with a disability, as well as one that emphasized a current litigation
 case, formed the foundation for the forum. The process of the forum supported the participants
 to identify key policy objectives and then to further identify who should be engaged, what steps
 should be taken and what information was needed. Participants discussed policy mechanisms and
 options to be explored such as: Labour Standards/codes (care leave); CPP; Tax Benefits, EI,
 Work place Benefits, Home Care, and Caregiver wage.  For further information or copies of the
 background papers, please contact Janis Douglas (jdouglas@cacl.ca

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HELPFUL RESOURCES

Visual Perceptual Problems
There is growing evidence, based on both research and personal reports, that many autistic
individuals see their world in a maladaptive, dysfunctional manner.

1. Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome and the Irlen Lens System
Written by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Autism, Salem, Oregon

2.  An Interview with Helen Irlen -- By Stephen M. Edelson
Click for a list of other resources by the Center
 

Choosing the Right Job for People with Autism or Asperger's Syndrome 
Click for article by Temple Grandin that begins: 
"Jobs need to be chosen that make use of the strengths of people with autism or Asperger's syndrome. Both high and low functioning people have very poor short-term working memory, but they often have a better long-term memory than most normal people. I have great difficulty with tasks that put high demands on short-term working memory. I cannot handle multiple tasks at the same time."

Autism Asperger Publishing Company is looking people to interview about how being on the autism spectrum affects their job choices in both positive and negative ways for a book on employment they plan to publish. If you fit into one of the jobs listed below and are interested in being interviewed, please contact Kate Duffy at Kduffee@aol.com for more information by March 22.

Good Jobs for Visual Thinkers
Computer Programming
Drafting
Commercial Art
Photography
Equipment designing
Automobile Mechanic
Aircraft Mechanic
Computer troubleshooter and repair
Heating and Air Conditioning repair
Small appliance and lawnmower repair
Web page design
Building trades
Computer animation
Building maintenance
Factory maintenance
Handicrafts
Machinists
Veterinary technician or animal trainer

Good Jobs for non-visual thinkers: for people good with music, math or facts
Accounting
Library Science
Engineering (electrical, chemical or electronic)
Journalist
Copy editor
Laboratory technician
Insurance Coder
Taxi driver
Inventory control
Bank teller
Clerk
Telemarketing
Language translator
Medical technician
Statistician
College instructor

Jobs for Nonverbal People with Autism or People with Poor Verbal Skills
Reshelving library books
Factory assembling work
Copy shop
Janitor jobs
Restocking shelves
Recycling plant
Warehouse loading
Lawn and garden work
Data entry
Plant care
Fast food restaurant (only cleaning and cooking jobs)

Owning and operating a small business is another way to go.  
Locksmithing and repair businesses are especially good. 

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FROM THE FRONT LINES: 
CALLING FOR HELP AND SHARING EXPERIENCES

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.

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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