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. 

Please note that this service is for information and awareness. We cannot endorse or be held responsible for the validity of any information or the value of any therapy or service. 

10 February 2004



Please note the wealth of news, announcements and other links in past OAARSN News Bulletins that are archived on our website. Click for the list of earlier OAARSN bulletins.



Canadian News

Province Told To Pay In Autism Case
An Ontario judge has ordered the province to pay several thousands of dollars to 29 parents of autistic children because it failed to produce evidence at the heart of a 10-month-old trial. The parents are trying to get the Government to fund early intensive behavioural intervention for children with autism past their sixth birthdays. 

Family Net features a Day-in-the-Life of the Vigneault/Graymar family of Angus, Ontario. Carter, one of four-year-old twins, has autism. Read this 4-part story. 

General Autism News


Autism: An Online Conference

A detailed investigation of this major health controversy by RFD Columnist, F. Edward Yazbak, MD. Click P1

The possible reasons why a special diet had such a profoundly positive effect on  a child who was severely autistic at age two, by Vivian McKelvey. Click P2

Separating Fact From Fiction
by RFD Columnist, F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP. Click P3


5. AUTISM SKYROCKETS IN QUEBEC: A SECRET NO MORE, by RFD Columnist, Dr. F. Edward Yazbak Click P5

Autism reaching "epidemic" levels
"...Some scientists believe the increase is due to an expansion of diagnostic criteria and better identification of children with autism. However, a study commissioned by the California General Assembly concluded that the increase cannot be explained away by better data or past misclassification." 

More and more autism cases: Yet Causes Are Much Debated
No one disputes it. Cases of autism, the baffling and often devastating neurological disorder that strikes in early childhood, are rising sharply.

Autism in the United States: A Perspective
F. Edward Yazbak, M.D., F.A.A.P. in  Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 8 Number 4  WInter 2003. ABSTRACT
"Once rare, autism has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The increase cannot be attributed to changes in diagnostic criteria, which have actually become more restrictive. Already a heavy burden on educational facilities, the increasing number of patients afflicted with this serious disability will have an enormous effect on the economy as the affected children reach adulthood. Studies of all possible causes of the epidemic are urgently needed. To date, studies of a potential relationship to childhood vaccines have been limited and flawed."

New Research Suggests Link Between Vaccine Ingredients and Autism, ADHD
A study released last week suggests that the rapid increase in the number of children born with autism may be partly due to  a preservative ingredient contained in a number of common vaccines. Thimerosal, a preservative ingredient in the flu vaccine, was found to inhibit the regulation of gene expression--a process crucial to cerebral development and necessary for the development of dopamine, a chemical that affects the capacity for attention. A number of vaccines containing thimerosal, including those for hepatitis B and the diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT shot), were routinely administered in the U.S. and Canada prior to 2002. Though some recent studies have discounted this link, the new research is prompting calls for more study, for example by the Institute of Medicine. Of the many articles about this news, here are several examples. 
Link 1   Link 2  Link 3    Link 4
Link 5    Link 6    Link 7 

DTP Vaccines: Alum Deemed To Be Safe
A new study has concluded that DTP vaccines containing aluminum are safe.

MMR-Search for a New Vaccine
Private Eye story about efforts in Ireland to develop a new MMR vaccine which avoids the use of three live viruses.


A World Apart from Autism
Asperger syndrome challenges experts to distinguish its symptoms and treatments.

Luke Jackson, columnist on Aspergers/Autism for the BBC's Ouch! website 
Luke Jackson is fifteen years old and has Asperger Syndrome. He and his family appeared in the BBC documentary My Family and Autism, broadcast at the end of July 2003. So far, Luke's columns are on "Back to School" and "Christmas".

Artism: Art By Those With Autism
BookSurge Canada, in conjunction with BookSurge LLC, has awarded $25,000 in marketing support to Autism Today and its most recent publication. The book is the brainchild of Karen Simmons, CEO of both CARE (Canadian Autism Resources & Events) and Autism Today. It is more than just an artist's showcase. It is a model designed to shed new light onto the often misunderstood world of autism, and to inspire others to share their uncommon experiences and true gifts with the world. The talents of Donna Williams, Mark Rimland, Amin Collins, and 41 other inspiring artists are represented. Autism Today is offering ALL THREE of Autism Today's latest publications (the Peace of Mind for Autism CD and The Autism Experience: Stories ofHope and Love) for a 33% discount on the whole bundle. Click for more information and to order

Autistic artist brings a methodic intensity 
"Gregory Blackstock (58) says he speaks 12 languages and is happy to prove it, bellowing greetings in a rapid succession of diverse tongues. Not only does he have perfect pitch, he can play any instrument he picks up but prefers the accordion, because it's loud.... His drawings are wonderful. He uses paper and pencil to make visual lists of what fascinates him: varieties of baskets, nuts and fish, flowers and tools, ships and planes, shoes and jails."..... 

Finding Effective Interventions
and Personnel Preparation Practices for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders
An article in Exceptional Children by distinguished researcher Richard Simpson, whose motivations and attitudes were shaped in part by the poor educational experiences of his sister who was mentally ill. He considers that "there os no single, universally best suited and effective method for students with ASD. Increasingly, it is clear that the best programs are those that incorporate a variety of multidisciplinary best practices based on individual needs.

Bracelet provides security for wanderers
Story from Richmond, Virginia, about an ID bracelet containing a personalized radio transmitter that emits an automatic tracking signal every second, 24 hours a day. It is provided by the Sheriff's Office and Project Lifesaver, a program that uses technology to assist those who care for victims of Alzheimer's or autism who tend to wander.


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


Kerry's Place Autism Services - Guelph-Wellington Area Social Groups
Guelph Children Ages 5 – 9
Social Group on Thursdays, starting February 5th for an 8-week period ending March 18th.  The children will meet at 275 Eramosa Rd. from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Children With Aspergers Social Group & Parent Coffee Time
Every second Tuesday: Coffee Time for parents and social time for children in Mount Forest in Saugeen Valley Nursing Home's Oak Room at 465 Dublin St., Mount Forest,  6:30 - 8:30 pm.

Teen Evening
With FCSS: Asperger’s Teen Night the 2nd Wednesday of each month, Zehrs Community Room on Imperial Street from 7 – 9 pm.

Wellington Adults
Adult Social and Resource time, the first Monday of the month between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. in North Wellington, location to be announced.

Guelph Adults
Adult Social Group the 3rd Monday of each month, 4:30 – 6:30 pm, at Community Living rooms, 275 Eramosa Rd. 

Please call 519-763-5812 for more information or to register for any of the above groups.
Click for full information on Kerry's Place events in Guelph-Wellington 


February 18, 2004, 7-10 p.m., at North Toronto Memorial Community Centre 
Toronto Family Network seminar: Education Law & The Ontario Human Rights Code:
A Review of the Ontario Human Rights Commission Report on Education
Click for flyer

February 20 to 22, 2004 at the Inn on the Park in Toronto.
"Expanding Individualized Funding: The Time is Now!"
The goals are:
- To develop an action plan for implementing IF in Ontario; and
- To develop strategies for building the capacity of families & communities for citizenship & IF.
Key stakeholders from all parts of the province are invited to think carefully about who needs to be invited in order to create and train a diverse, energetic and motivated leadership team. 
Click for updated information
Email abarbara@communitylivingontario.ca or call Barbara in the Individualized Funding Coalition office at (416) 447-4348
Click for IFCO website
Interview with Judith Snow
Interview with John Lord

February 23, 6:30 – 9 pm, in Fergu
Asperger’s Syndrome & Support Strategies
Kerry's Place Autism Services Workshops 
at Groves Memorial Hospital, Training Room, 235 Union St. E., Fergus. 
This workshop is open to any individual/family member/support provider. The session will contain a blend of basic information and educational support strategies and will primarily be of interest to those where this diagnosis is relatively new.  For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812
Click for full information on Kerry's Place events in Guelph-Wellington 

Tuesday, February 24, 2004, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m, in London
Preventing the Crisis Before It Occurs: 
Ed Mahony, is a Special Education Resource
Specialist, Hamilton Catholic District School Board, and Rethinking Restraints Trainer – a form
of nonviolent crisis intervention.
This session will focus on the importance of maintaining the safety and dignity of individuals
through understanding behaviour/communication and concentrating on changing the
environment, not the person. 
The Hilton London, 300 King Street, London, ON
IAI and LFN are pleased to co-host this session with the London Chapter
of the Autism Society Ontario

February 25 Guelph 7-9 pm 
Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812 

March 6, North York, 9am-12pm
New Approaches in the Treatment of Autism
Hosted by: Integrative Nutrition Solutions 
Speakers:  Dr. John Hicks, and Betsy Prohaska. 
Theories & studies behind the autism epidemic
The link between your childs immune, detoxification and gastrointestinal systems
Latest breakthrough methods in his medical practice 
$65.00 adv by Feb 15
1000 Finch Ave West, Ste. 811 (NYCC office) Arlene Moshe, RD
See more details at www.integrativenutrition.ca
Register by email integrativenutrition@rogers.com or phone  416 250-7547  press #1

March 17 Mount Forest Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 

March 24 Guelph Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 

Saturday March 27, 2004, in Toronto 
Promoting Functional Speech in Children with Autism with Emphasis on the Kaufman Assessment and Strategies ... from Brookfield Programs
 More information

March 19-21, 2004, in Syracuse NY
Ableism? Classism? Racism? Homophobia? Sexism?
How can we address all of these issues without add-on programs and disjointed initiatives?
Common Solutions: Inclusion and Diversity at the Center
An exploration of how schools and communities can address social justice issues in integrated ways through curriculum, pedagogy, school climate, teacher/staff training, advocacy and policy-making. 
Keynote speakers: James Banks and Norman Kunc
Also post-Conference sessions on March 21.
Click for flyer

Saturday March 27, 2004, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., in London
This is a practical interactive forum with stories from families of people with disabilities who
are supported in non-traditional ways, to have lives of their choosing after leaving high 
school, and how they do it. You will learn to put together an individualized personal plan for
your family member, outlining their desires for the future, along with the individualized
supports required (including funding) to facilitate their continued success in the community.
Hosted by London Family Network and other local community organizations.
Community Living London, 190 Adelaide Street South, London, ON
For more information contact Realizations Training & Resources 519-433-2387

Tuesday. March 30, 2004, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., in London
The Individual Education Plan: 
Kathy Schaffer – Education Officer, Ministry of Education will explain the Ministry of Education IEP standards and how the plan should be written to most effectively support students to be successful in their learning.
3rd Floor Boardroom, Siskinds, The Law Firm, 680 Waterloo Street, London ON
For More Information and/or to Register  - Call Angie Kehoe 519-672-2251, ext. 363

Friday, April 23rd, 2004, in Toronto
The 5th Annual New Haven Learning Centre Conference
Manulife Financial Building, 200 East Bloor St.
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Patricia Krantz, Executive Director, Princeton Child Development Centre
Other presenters will include Dr. Joel Hundert, Dr. Len Levin, and Dr. Bridget Taylor.
Registration information to follow.

April 28 Guelph Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services. For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 

April 30 - May 2, 2004, at Gananoque
The Art of Advocacy: Every Parent is an Advocate
FAO/IAI  Annual Conference
Key Note Speaker:  Judy Finlay on "Why a strong family Voice is Essential to Advocacy
in Ontario."  Click for full details

May 19 Mount Forest Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services. For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 

May 26 Guelph Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services. For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 

May 27 – 30, 2004, in Chicago
Autism One 2004 Conference "the Most Comprehensive Conference on Autism Ever Assembled" Click for more informationClick on website

Monday, May 31, 7 – 9 pm in Fergus by Kerry's Place Autism Services. 
Workshop: Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder 
For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812.
Click for full information on Kerry's Place events in Guelph-Wellington 

June 23 Guelph Family Support Group by Kerry's Place Autism Services. For more information, or to register, please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 



Urgent Appeal for Young Children with Autism to Join Nutrition Research Study

Currently, a research study examining differences in nutritional status among young children with autism (2-5) years is underway in Guelph, Ontario. Additional participants are URGENTLY needed.  This research will help identify/address the question of whether children with autism have unique nutritional needs..  All interested parents of children with autism between the ages of 2-5 years are urged to contact the principal researcher, Dr Joan Jory, for more information.  Joan Jory, MSc, PhD, RD, can be reached directly at 519-829-5514, or through email at jj_guelph@hotmail.com.  Please help to move the science forward! 
Click for more details and how to reach Dr Jory



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

Help Ontario clean up its disability act
Minister seeking input from public
From the Toronto Star, Feb. 7, 2004
If you were a provincial lawmaker, what would you do to make Ontario a truly accessible province, one in which people with disabilities can get the education and experience they need to contribute their talents to an enhanced quality of life for all? 
What would you do to tear down the barriers that ostracize anyone who moves, communicates or processes information in a unique way? 
What are your top three suggestions to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), brought in by the former Conservative government, more meaningful? 
There's no limit to the number of suggestions or comments you can submit but to simplify the process, the ministry suggests boiling things down to your top three suggestions for making the ODA more meaningful. "These can be changes to the ODA itself or suggestions for things that be done without changing the law," it says. 
So get going. The whole point is to include everybody. There's no reason to hold back. 
Write: Helen Henderson, Life Section, Toronto Star, One Yonge St., Toronto, Ont. M5E 1E6. Please include your telephone number. E-mail: hhenderson @thestar.ca.
Read a Family Net article on this subject 

10,000 Letters to the Premier 
Bradley & Cynthia Boufford invite everyone concerned with ASD in Ontario to join their campaign to send 10,000 letters to the Premier of Ontario. Please direct your letter to them at 15 Leicester Crescent, London Ont. N6C2Y3.  Several families will then personally deliver these letters to the Premier. 
The Bouffords have a young son with autism. They write: "Jordan spoke very few words and then only to label items, ignored other children, screamed all day long, was self-abusive, and isolated. He did wait for over a year to begin treatment and received only half of the recommended hours of treatment.   Now, our son speaks sentences, plays with children, interacts with everyone and rarely self-injures.  We have experienced a miracle; there is just no other way to describe this incredible transformation.  Of course it was achieved with a lot of prayer, hard work and advocating.  We would like all persons with Autism to have access to treatment, which will significantly improve their lives and that of their families."

The Bouffords recognize that families whose sons and daughters with ASD are older will have other experiences, needs and priorities.  Click for a standard letter to sign, should you not wish to write your own. "We respectfully request that you also provide this information to other families who may wish to sign letters or collect signatures.  Any assistance you can provide would be truly appreciated by all of the families who are fighting this battle including ourselves.  Discharges from this therapy program are occurring daily as children turn six.  These children may regress and then the tax dollars invested in their therapy programs will have been wasted. There are basically no services for adults with Autism. Providing your support to this letter campaign will ensure that the Premier receives the message that as citizens of Ontario, we all benefit from providing appropriate services to people with Autism and we expect our Premier to act with compassion and fairness.  Thank you for your consideration, we look forward to hearing from you."



Augmentative Communication Inc.
Augmentative Communication News (ACN) and Alternatively Speaking (AS) provide the latest information on hot topics in the field, discussion of vital issues for AAC stakeholders and news from the AAC community. The just-published, Winter 2003, issue of Augmentative Communication News represents an effort to clarify the rationale for, and impact of, using a broad range of augmentative communication strategies to improve the communication outcomes of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). See more information and how to order

Online Training for Parents
WebEd provides fee-based online autism courses to educators. In collaboration with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, these same professional courses are available at no charge to parents of children with autism or related developmental disabilities. Current courses include Navigating the Maze of Special Education, A Family’s Journey into Autism, An Introduction to Autism, and Young Children with Autism: Educational Perspectives and Practical Strategies. 

Advocacy Advice on FamilyNet
"Thinking back to when my daughter was diagnosed, I wish now someone had provided my husband and I with a course on our new role as our daughter's advocate. Most of what we have learned has been by trial and error. I have have been very inspired by the commitment that I have seen from other parents. Truly the best teachers."

Respite Service for Young Adults with ASD
A Guelph family is thinking of offering respite, depending on the interest by other families and caregivers. This is an outline of tentative plans:
"We would offer overnight Friday to Sunday at first.  For men about 17 to mid 20's, without aggressive behaviour and with no lifting required. It would be a 3 to 1 ratio with 1 to 1 as needed. It must be stated that there are cats in the home. Activities would include almost anything men would choose to do, including kareoke machine, several TV 's, PC and tape recorder use. We'd be open to each individual's needs. One parent was a nurse and they have fostered various ages. and we have experience with ASD, FAE, ADHD, CP and other special needs. Fees would be comparable to other respite homes."
Contact ron.haineault@sympatico.ca

Transition Ontario Project 
January 2004
Please help us create an important online resource. We want to make the transition to adult life for youth with disabilities (16-29 years) easier. We are making a website for the province of Ontario with the latest news about transition to adulthood.  This will include a listserv where people can talk and share information. People with disabilities, parents and service providers are working together to make the website and the listserv.  We hope everyone will be able to use this resource as well. 
This project was started by a group of service providers, parents and youth with disabilities in 1999. They learned that we need an information resource in Ontario that has all of the information you would like about transition, as well as giving you a chance to share your experiences and asking other people questions about transition.
Click for full bulletin

Emergency Response and Crisis Intervention: 
Project Overview by Nancy Cherry of Waterloo
During most of 2003, Nancy Cherry of Waterloo worked on a project of great importance to the autism community. Its goals may be summarized as:
1. Developing a template for calling 9-1-1 should the primary caregiver be unable to make the call
2. Registering with the police so that when a 9-1-1 call is placed there is an electronic alert displayed that gives background information 
3. Registering with the local hospital or crisis clinic to avoid the intake procedure when dealing with an out-of-control individual who has special needs and may be non-verbal
4. Finding a tracking device to monitor children who regularly wander (and adults who want to develop more independence of movement). 
Nancy offered Autism Society Ontario members the opportunity to subscribe to a service with all or most of these features. But there too few takers. We are very sorry to report that this cannot go ahead as an ASO project. 



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.
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

"Hearing the Words At Last"
by Dr Jeanette Holden in the ASD-CARC Newsletter (Volume 3, issue 1, 2004). We appreciate permission to reprint here. 
"The article describes an FM system - with good headphones - that helps Jim to concentrate on language and not on all the other sounds around him.  Now that he knows what to listen to, he listens to every word we say, even when he is not wearing the set!  I think that he finally knows what is important and what are background sounds - so he knows what to focus on." Jim's experience suggests the likely value of a small research study to test the usefulness of this system for other adults with autism and possible hearing loss. 
Jeanette J.A. Holden, PhD, FCCMG
Principal Investigator, ASD-CARC 
(Autism Spectrum Disorders - Canadian-American Research Consortium) 
Professor, Dept. Psychiatry & Physiology, Queen's University 
& Director, Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Program
Ongwanada, 191 Portsmouth Avenue
Kingston, Ontario, K7M 8A6
TEL:    613-548-4419, ext 1165
ASD-CARC FAX: 613-548-8385
Kingston Foundation for Autism Spectrum Disorders www.kingstonfoundationforautism.ca


Through the Prism of Autistic Experience
We are privileged to publish electronically two poems by Brian Henson who was diagnosed with autism in middle age. He is also a talented photographer and dreams of producing a book of poetry matched with photographs.

The Leaves : for those who feel left out 
For the fallen few
    Forget the flight
        That brought them to the ground;
They feel no breeze,
    Except the drift
        That moves them all around.

They've done their task
    With sun and air,
        And as the air cools down,
They're laid to rest 
    On the forest floor,
        Like a golden carpet gown.

But the wind's still there,
    And whips them up
         Far 'way from where they fell;
They've got a tale
    Of movin' about--
        A legend ripe to tell.

But they are raked
    And packed in bags
        By many folks who see
These leaves as blights
    Againt their sights
        Beneath the barren tree.

Some just manage
    To hide near fence 
        Or bush or other cove,
Alone to bear
    The winter out,
        Against the forest grove.

And when the spring
    Returns with growth,
        These tiny leaves do serve
As nutrients
    For all nearby;
        A blessing--to preserve!
        -Brian Henson, ©2004

After The Meltdown
    The beatings grew, in weight and form,
      Akin to that ferocious storm,
    But no defence in sight, at all,
      Before the brutal, fateful fall.
    The absolutes--they must prevail;
      One makes attempt--to no avail,
    As fearsome winds cut off all hope
      And one cannot yet try to cope.
    The fall has come, and nought can do
      To resurrect the fallen few,
    They lay in anguish, as one tries
      To pray for life beyond the skies....
        -Brian Henson ©2004


Meet the Jordans 
Chris has multiple disabilities.
His aging mother and father face serious illness.
The whole family must plan for an uncertain future.
Visit the family at www.nfb.ca/tiesthatbind and participate in a unique community engagement project. 

Inspired by PLAN, the National Film Board has produced a film documentary depicting the story of the Jordan family and their circle of support. While the film is being produced the NFB has created an interactive Internet documentary with regular updates, opportunities for sharing and feedback.

Join the conversation: log on and add your voice to this dialogue. 

PLAN Institute for Citizenship & Disability
Suite 260 - 3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5R 5W2
Tel:  604-439-9566
Fax: 604-439-7001

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