ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM 
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK 
NEWS BULLETIN
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

See our archive of past OAARSN news bulletins.

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
11 August 2003

OAARSN NEW CONTENT

Adult Autism Issues in Waterloo-Wellington 20 (Summer 2003) has been added to the website.
Click to read it in PDF format

Please note the wealth of news, announcements and other links in our weekly OAARSN News Bulletins that are archived on our website. Click for the list of earlier OAARSN bulletins
and find the most recent: 
June 19, 2003
June 29, 2003
July 12, 2003
July 21, 2003
July 28, 2003

Adults and their families in Waterloo-Wellingon-Dufferin region of southern Ontario:
Click for the latest  ASPIRE update (August 2003)
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AUTISM IN THE NEWS

CANADIAN NEWS

Ottawa Valley Autistic Homes update
The last eleven residents were removed from their group homes on August 7. This follows the OVAH Board's decision to close its homes, after the Ontario Ministry of Community, Family and Children's Services found "financial and management issues" in its review of Ottawa Valley Autistic Homes. Click for the staff union's position

Ontario's new BRIDGES program for autistic children past 6 years
The Government's news release on its promise to help older children with autism. It claims that Ontario is the first province to develop a program aimed at meeting their unique needs for social, communication and behavioural skills at home, school and in their communities. The new program will be introduced at a demonstration site in London by October 2003, and evaluated before being extended elsewhere in Ontario. BRIDGES will provide children with a two-hour per week, group-based program that is intended to support and complement other community services or activities with which the child and family are involved. BRIDGES will be offered in two 16-week sessions per year, in the fall and spring. By 2006/07, the news release states, Ontario will spend almost $100 million on new programs and services for children with autism compared with 1999.
Read The Sun's story

Special education pilot project in Peel Region of Ontario
"Beginning in September, the standards for programs and services delivered to autistic students will be implemented in ten school boards to evaluate these new benchmarks." 
 

GENERAL AUTISM NEWS

Comprehensive update on autism
Why is autism, a once rare disease, now afflicting more than 1 million people in the U.S.? 
Online eBriefing by New York Academy of Sciences.

Mapping the autistic mind
An Observer Focus survey from The Guardian in Britain.

Some autistic children make remarkable progress with early intervention
Report of a study of the effectiveness of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for 8 children by Ohio State University researchers.

Family turns trauma into educational opportunity
A good account of life with severe autism from Salem, Oregon.

News of a CD of "autism inner world" 
"Practical Growth, Inc. offers a unique media experience and a NEW PARADIGM FOR UNDERSTANDING AUTISM. Animations document one person's understanding and overcoming incurable and mysterious autism, Asperger Syndrome, and the Savant Brain via a new website: Cosmic Conniptions (www.conniptions.com) offering CDs of autism's inner worlds." Read part of the story behind the CD from Autism Today

Autistic teen so wanted an ordinary life
Ashton Smith's world, ..."full of confusion and frustration", became too much for him to bear. 

Household Products Database
The National Institutes of Health unveiled a consumer's guide that provides easy-to-understand information on potential health effects of more than 2,000 ingredients contained in more than 4,000 household products. The Database can be viewed at: http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS OF EVENTS OR SPECIAL PROJECTS

See details of more events on OAARSN Bulletin Board and Calendar, and our archive of past OAARSN news bulletins.

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
 

this week

August 16 & 17, 2003, in Calgary, AB
Biomedical Interventions for Autism and Related Disorders
Coast Plaza Hotel
Register on-line at www.greatplainslaboratory.com/calgary
Speakers are Dr. Stephanie Cave, Dr. Vijendra Singh, Dr. Mary Megson, Dr. David Geier, Dr. William Shaw, Dr. Woody McInnis, Dr. Michael Brown, and Dr. Mark Geier.
Take home practicalities for parents and therapists. Science for clinicians. Your chance to listen and ask questions to the world's top experts on cutting edge treatments for autism. 
 

this month

CYCLE FOR AUTISM : Help Solve the Puzzle 
John Keating and Luc Vandermeeren, both fathers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), are halfway through their bicycle marathon from one end of Canada to the other. They began the cycle in Vancouver, British Columbia and will end in Halifax.  The goal is to promote awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and raise $1,000,000 in Canada for ASD research. Fundraising events in various cities across Canada will also increase public awareness. Please click for the Cycle for Autism website to find out about local events in Ontario cities and encourage your family and friends to get involved in their own communities. Information can also be found on the ASO website under What's New? www.autismsociety.on.ca

ASO Wellington Chapter announces:
Wednesday 27 August: Family Fun Day at Sportsworld Waterpad, from 2 pm.
Call (519) 822-0279 for more information and to reserve tickets.
 

looking ahead

Kerry's Place Autism Services: Workshops in Central West Region
July-December 2003  Click for more information about all these events
Events are free and most will be held in the KPAS Resource Centre in Brampton, unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday, September 9 in Guelph
Guelph Services for the Autistic announces 
PATH workshop, facilitated by Beth Hancox of Waterloo and Jan Cooper of Guelph, 
to explain and demonstrate how a facilitated PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) can help families, with their sons or daughters with autism and their friends, to plan a good life now and a more secure future. More information may be found on the  ASPIRE page

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Official launch of New Autism Collection at Kitchener Public Library
A good-sized collection of books, videos and other information about Autism Spectrum Disorders has been made possible by a generous grant from Waterloo Wellington Autism Services. The official launch is planned for Ontario Public Library week. After that date, borrowers from outside Kitchener can request a Limited Access Borrower’s card to borrow from the Autism Collection. Materials may also be requested through Inter-Library Loan. OAARSN's Elizabeth Bloomfield has advised on this project. 

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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

Nancy Cherry's campaign to find or develop a tracking device system for Ontario persons with ASD
Nancy, Waterloo advocate and mother of two teenagers with special needs, invites other parents and advocates to join her efforts. This story from FamilyNet.

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HELPFUL RESOURCES

Puzzles and Co-operative Games
Puzzles and some games can appeal to people with autism who may have very good visuospatial and tactile skills and a passion for order and sequence. Playing games and solving puzzling with family and friends can provide great experience in social interaction and also provide some simulation of working out strategies to solve problems in real life. 
But commonly available games and puzzles may not be so good for teens and adults with autism and no speech. There are few age-appropriate puzzles with enough geometric and spatial interest and challenge. And conventional games that usually require speech and a strong competitive spirit among players tend to exclude those with autism. 
We are pleased to recommend two lines of games and puzzles that appeal strongly to Andrew, who has autism and says "games and puzzles are my life." 

  • The co-operative games invented by Jim Deacove and distributed by Family Pastimes of Perth, Ontario since 1972. Why didn't we discover these years ago? 
  • The clever and beautiful puzzles made by Imagination Project  (I-Project) that has been developing fun, unique, award-winning products since 1994. We specially like the puzzles derived from brilliant designs by M.C. Escher.
Recent Books on the Autism Spectrum

Autism Society Ontario announces its second manual (in a series of five): Children Diagnosed with Autism, What to Expect and Where to Get Help... See ASO website.

In The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family, Paul and Judy Karasik tell the story of growing up in Chevy Chase, Md., with their parents and two brothers, Michael and David. David, the oldest, is autistic and mildly retarded, and the book follows him as he grows from infancy to middle age. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (David Fickling/Jonathan Cape, 2003): ..."beautifully written – and beautifully published,  about Asperger's, suitable for 11-year-olds and up.”

What kind of brain do you have? Really big differences between the male and female brain could help explain conditions such as autism, says Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University, in The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain (Penguin, May 2003).

Treating Autism: Parent Stories of Hope and Success, edited by Stephen M. Edelson and Bernard Rimland, “in-depth stories by parents and doctors who have used the rational, non-drug Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) biomedical treatments”. Order for $22 US from AUTISM RESEARCH INSTITUTE, 4182 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116 • Fax (619) 563-6840

The Drawings of a Boy with Autism by Jonathan Lerman (George Braziller, 2002). 

A Wizard Alone: The Sixth Book in the Young Wizards Series by Diane Duane (Harcourt (2002). 

The Natural Medicine Guide to Autism (The Healthy Mind Guides) by Stephanie Marohn (Hampton Roads, 2002).

Demystifying the Autistic Experience: A Humanistic Introduction for Parents, Caregivers and Educators by William Stillman (Jessica Kingsley, 2002). 
 
American Normal by Lawrence Osborne (Copernicus Books, 2002).  Asperger's syndrome.

Martha Kate Downey has written several books on aspects of Asperger Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism and PDDNOS, including TAP DANCING in the night, If you've ever wanted to crawl in the closet with an OREO... and What Do I Do About Hitting? See her website

Marianna Csoti of Wales writes books to help children, young people and adults with social challenges. Assertiveness For Young Adults (1998); People Skills for Young Adults (2000); Social Awareness Skills for Children (2001); Contentious Issues: Discussion Stories for Young People (2001); The People Skills Bible (2002); School Phobia, Panic Attacks and Anxiety in Children (2003); Emotional Rescue (2003). Several are published by Jessica Kingsley. Click for more details

Dennis Debbaudt Newsletter: Volume One, Issue Number 3, June 2003. To subscribe, contact Dennis Debbaudt at ddpi@flash.net 
Look up also the Autism Risk Management Project website and The Police and Autism: Avoiding Unfortunate Situations 

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FROM THE FRONT LINES: 
CALLING FOR HELP AND SHARING EXPERIENCES

News about adults with autism is usually negative. OAARSN receives 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.

Mothers of Children with Special Needs 
Amy Baskin and Heather Fawcett, mothers of children with ASD, invite you to share your thoughts and experiences. They are writing a book with the working title From Struggle to Strength: How Mothering a Child With Special Needs Transforms Your Life to be published by Woodbine House in 2005. More information and a copy of the questionnaire form may be found in the OAARSN news bulletin for 4 August 2003. 

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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