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. 

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. 
 

NEWS BULLETIN
29 February 2004

Celebrating four years since we launched this website! 

At first we intended it simply as a means of exchanging minutes and memos among Board members in one region of southern Ontario, Canada. But OAARSN took off and now has members and contacts all over the world. 

Since we began, the volume of autism news and features has increased exponentially. There are now many websites and lists concerned with autism spectrum disorders in some way.

We are still distinctive with our focus on autism in adults, and on strategies to help each person with autism have a good life in which her/his thoughts and wishes are respected.

We welcome news and comments by persons with autism and by family members, friends, support workers, professionals and administrators who care about them.   

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NEW CONTENT ON OAARSN'S WEBSITE

Click for the latest AAIWW newsletter in PDF format
It includes:
-"Hearing the Words at Last" by Dr Jeanette Holden about her brother Jim
-Lessons learned from Andrew's Life about preparing for and realizing a good life
-ASPIRE Update
-Two poems by Brian Henson
-Bulletin Board

Kevin's Empowerment Group
Kevin was diagnosed with autism at age four. Thirty-six years later, his family and friends celebrate his first year of living semi-independently in his own home with the support of a microboard.

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.

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AUTISM IN THE NEWS

PREVALENCE AND POSSIBLE CAUSES OF AUTISM

Lifting the veils of autism, one by one by one
A very good overview. (Free) subscription necessary to The New York Times. 

US to pay for study of causes of autism
The Autism Birth Cohort, led by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, will follow 100,000 babies in Norway and their parents for five years, to identify biological and environmental factors that could combine to cause autism and other developmental disorders.

LIVING AND COPING WITH AUTISM

New study suggests brains of autistic children can be trained to recognize faces
Two University of Washington researchers suggest that the difficulties autistic persons have recognizing faces may be due to a lack of practice, rather than to abnormal functioning of the affected region of the brain. 

Look away when I speak to you
For years, parents and teachers have ordered children to 'look at me when I'm speaking to you'. Children who dared turn away were accused of being rude or of failing to pay attention. But now a report suggests that rather than being rude, children turn away to help them think. 

New Knoxville group to help adults with autism
The Breakthrough Corp. is planning a campus-like setting where autistic adults could live, attend day programs and get services, with each individual interacting with the rest of the community at a comfortable level. 

Autistic Man Honored 
Delaware Autism Program names facility after the late Mark Galle who died four years ago and was one of the first students 22 years ago. The program now helps about 400 children and young adults learn to be as independent as their disability allows. 

Marshall University program helps autistic students

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ANNOUNCEMENTS OF EVENTS
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

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Kerry's Place Autism Services - Guelph-Wellington Area Social Groups
Please call 519-763-5812 for more information or to register.
Click for full information on Kerry's Place events in Guelph-Wellington

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
CHOICES, OPTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES: GETTING TO THE PLAN
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
 

2 - 3 - 4 avril 2004
TED sans frontières
Congrès international francophone sur l'autisme et les TED à Laval, Québec, Canada
Click for information
 

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

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HELPFUL RESOURCES

Allow Me!: A Guide to Promoting Communication Skills in Adults with Developmental Delays by Irma D. Ruiter (The Hanen Centre, 2000).
"This beautifully illustrated book describes the many interactive strategies that help adults with developmental disorders engage in communication during daily routines, leisure activities and in vocational contexts. It addresses a wide range of communication levels -from nonverbal and nonintentional to verbal and intentional - and includes information on augmentative and alternative communication systems. Allow Me contains easy-to-use observation charts and individualized action plans."
Chapters:
-Slow Down and Capture the Moment
-Allow Your Partner to Lead
-Adapt Activities So You and Your Partner Can Share Then
-Get The Conversation Going And Keep It Going
-Add Information And Experience: Help Your Partner Become a Better Communicator
-Encourage The Use of An Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) System During Interactions
-Create Activities With A Purpose
Click for more details and how to order 
 

THE MUSIC OF BEINGNESS.... 
why being a master of calm can be more effecting than using force.
by Donna Williams  www.donnawilliams.net 
Here's what I've been doing with some parents....

A very cheap home made self calming strategy that is great modelling and good medicine to others in the household.
I hold up my fingers and ask the parent to show me where on that scale of 1-10 they think their own adrenaline level is.  Its often up around 9-10.
Then I ask, what happens to your body when you listen to calming music.
Then I ask what happens if you listen to raging, excitable music.
I tell them that their child feels their own adrenaline levels and picks this up like music, so they pick up on and take on the anxiety/adrenaline state of those around them.  Just like animals do.
 
I tell them I need them to change the music in their own body, for their own health and also to model such self calming in a non-invasive indirectly confrontational way in the household so their child can pick up these patterns (but NEVER forcing the child to do so, it is modelled as though for the parent's own benefit, and it HAPPENS to have an hypnotic and calming effect on others who are around).  

As I talk, I start off where they are but I gradually soften and slow down my voice till their body has relaxed.  
I ask them, are you feeling calmer now?
They notice they are and wonder how this happened.
I show them what I did with my voice.
I then tell them I'm going to count backwards from 50 and I want them to eventually join in.  A start and at 40 I have them join me.  We progressively get slower and softer at each interval of 5 so at 35, at 30, at 35 etc the pace slows and the voice softens.  
Several parents have now managed to notice their own adrenaline levels and 'count these back down from 10/10 to 5/10 and they've done this in the presence of raging children who have become much calmer.  One fell asleep snoring after the mother did this 'for herself' twice back from fifty then once from 0-529 at which point he was snoring his head off.
Other sequences can be used instead of numbers, alphabet, lists of countries, types of furniture, names in a telephone book etc.
... Donna Williams
 

Infomercial - "Asperger's:  Millions Undiagnosed" has been airing in February.
This 28 mins and 30 second spot stars Tony Attwood,  Carol Gray, Jerry Newport, and Jeanie Mcafee speaking on various aspects of Asperger's Syndrome, sponsored by Future Horizons. 
Their goal is to inform people about the traits, difficulties, and attributes of people with Asperger's syndrome. If you would like a DVD copy of  "Asperger's: Millions Undiagnosed" --either for your organizational use or to disseminate to your local station or educational institution to be used as a program for public or educational service- they will give you the DVD FREE. (Shipping and handling fee of $8.00 applies) Just email your name, address and phone number to teresa@futurehorizons-autism.com
 

New video about ASD entitled "Autism: Now What Do I Do?" 
is in all public libraries in BC.  
The price is CA$24.95. Click for more information 
 

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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.
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

Brian Henson of Brantford writes a column for the new AutisticSociety website. 
Click to read his three columns so far
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