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. 

15 March 2004



Andrew Foster of Cambridge attended the Individualized Funding Coalition's recent conference in Toronto, representing adults and families who live with autism in the Waterloo-Wellington region of Ontario. 
Read his report.

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

Toonie for Autism Day 2004
Information from the Autism Society Ontario

General Autism News


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.

One of Largest Ever Genetic Studies of Autism Launched
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), in collaboration with the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, has launched one of the largest and most comprehensive molecular and genetic studies ever conducted on children. Click to read

Mapping Autism Research
UK research into the causes and treatment of autism is seriously behind that of other countries, accorfing to a report by Dr Tony Charman and Pippa Clare who combined the opinions of 200 scientists and 130 parents with an autistic child. The first-ever comprehensive overview of the UK research field outlines a surprising lack of research into the causes of autism and successful interventions compared with other countries. It also concludes that research into how families cope and into autism support services is extremely scant. Read a related story by the BBC

Toxic Tipping Point
Are the CDC, the FDA, and other health agencies covering up evidence that a mercury preservative in children's vaccines caused an epidemic of autism? A major review of the mercury/vaccine/autism controversy by Andrea Rock in Mother Jones Magazine.

Men, Empathy and Autism

Simon Baron-Cohen's theory, expressed in The Essential Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain (Perseus Publishing, 2003), that autism represents an "extreme version" of the male brain. 


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. 

Studying Hyperlexia May Unlock How Brains Read
Children With Rare Disorder Have Heightened Reading, Learning Skills

Doctor's diary: a jab in the dark

The truth about MMR must be revealed, says Dr James Le Fanu
New approaches for stabilizing autistic behaviors.
Andrew Martin, 17, a student at South Kingstown's Farm School, which his mother co-founded has seen vast improvements since he was first diagnosed at the age of three. Read the story

The Hidden Gift
Dr Cheri Florance has written 'Maverick Mind: A Mother's Story of Solving the Mystery of Her Unreachable, Unteachable, Silent Son' with Marin Gazzaniga (Putnam, $23.95).

Farm would serve autistic adults
A story about the Carolina Living and Learning Center, a residential and vocational training program, pioneered by TEACCH. 

On a Role
Benefits of a drama class for children with Asperger’s.


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 and Family Support Meetings, Winter-Spring 2004

Click for full information on Kerry's Place events in Guelph-Wellington
To register please call J. Timmins @ 519-763-5812. 

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

March 25, 2004, from7:30 pm, in Toronto 
Free presentation on
Strategies and tips for applying for Ministry funding
(such as Special Services at Home, Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities, and others)
Geneva Centre (112 Merton Street) in Toronto
Sponsored by the Toronto chapter of the ASO.
Presented by ASO Regional Support Leaders Liz Cohen and Lynda Beedham.

March 26 and 27, in Calgary
Breakthrough Autism and Aspergers Conference
featuring speakers Stephen Shore and Lisa Lewis

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

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 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 6-8, 2004, in Perth Ontario
'Music Therapy in the the Spirit of Community'
The Canadian Association for Music Therapy hosts its 30th annual conference
Click for information about the conference and registration materials 

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

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



We are the co-authors of  "From Struggle to Strength: How Mothering a Child with Special Needs Transforms Your Life" to be published by Woodbine House in 2005. Recently, we posted to groups like this one, in order to invite mothers of children with special needs to contribute to our research. The response from women across North America to our previous questionnaires was overwhelming. We have been unable to respond to everyone individually but would like to thank all of you who completed our questionnaires. Your insights have been very helpful. We are now researching for a final chapter on how mothering a child with special needs personally transforms you.  In this chapter, we are looking to mothers of adults with special needs (over age 18) to share their experiences and advice. If you have an adult child and would like to contribute, please fill out the questionnaire online at www.amybaskin.com
Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Heather Fawcett hfawcett@sympatico.ca
Amy Baskin abaskin@sentex.net



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

Breaking The Barriers is now officially online!

A declaration with and for people who are often misperceived as being incompetent or less able because they do not speak. The vision: That all people with disability labels, who do not communicate through speech, have means of communication which allows their fullest participation in the world; that people can communicate using their chosen method; and that their communication is respected by others. And that Facilitated Communication will be accepted in practice and policy as a legitimate augmentative communication method. "We need support and help to clear away the barriers that make it hard or impossible for us to communicate and to actively participate in decision-making and public policy that affects our lives. We want to work collaboratively with other advocates to gain support for the right to communicate."


The  website of the Individualized Funding Coalition of Ontario carries more material about the February conference in Toronto.
Click to read:
Summary: The Time is Now!
It's time for the province to act
Read report by Andrew Foster



David Bornstein's new book, "How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas" is being launched in Vancouver on April 14. Read more about it: 
Link 1: a review
Link 2
Link 3

DOOR (Disability Ontario Online Resource) To Adulthood
“Transition Ontario” is a large, ongoing project to develop and evaluate an online resource service for the transition to adulthood, to support young people aged 16-19 years. The project uses a participatory-action research (PAR) approach, in which all participants consumers, researchers and professionals collaborate and join in the development, implementation and evaluation process. The overall outcome of “Transition Ontario” is a consumer-driven, community-based and interactive online resource called “DOOR (Disability Ontario Online Resource) To Adulthood” that meets the needs of people in Ontario who are interested in the transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities. The “Transition Ontario” project will improve access to quality information and will facilitate communication and networking about the transition to adulthood for youth with disabilities in Ontario.

"The “DOOR To Adulthood” website is going to be accessed through Ability Online. We would like to know what you would like to see on the website. We are holding focus groups to serve as discussion boards for participants to share ideas in developing the information for the website. We are also connecting with people via email and our listserv. We want to hear from people from across Ontario" Click to read more
If you want to help with Transition Ontario, or want more information about the project, please call toll-free (800) 363-2440, or (416) 425-6220, ext. 3207, or e-mail transitionontario@ablelink.org

A verbal reinforcement door alarm for autistic children who are runners.
The mother of an 11-yr old son with autism tells us about a portable door alarm by Stanley that allows you to record a verbal reinforcement message that plays when the door is opened. Now when her son opens the door, my recording plays "Alex, Stay In The House," and then the alarm notifies me that he's attempting to exit. Product information, including a video clip showing how the TABS door alarm works is available at www.autism-ally.com

Where to turn for gluten-free info
from article in The Toronto Star by Susan Sampson about the Organic Oven bakery business in Brampton. Includes tips for shopping in the Greater Toronto Area.

ORDER VHStape or DVD of 2-day workshop highlighting 
Biomedical Treatments for Autism
Are diet and autism linked? 

Some articles from the CAIRN website.
Article 1: Gluten- and Casein-free Diets in Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Article 2:  Autism and gastrointestinal disorder 

Vote in the CAIRN poll: How important do you think diet is in alleviating the symptoms of autism?


Visit Temple Grandin's website

Tourette Syndrome Association of Ontario (TSAO)
Some people have both autism and Tourette's 
TSAO Niagara Chapter

Ten Tax Tips for the 2003 Taxation Year
by Harry Beatty, Barrister & Solicitor, Consultant in Disability Law and Policy
Once again, it's tax time! Returns for the 2004 taxation year must be filed by 30 April 2003. See link below for advice for persons with disabilities and their families as to how to complete their returns. This is general advice only – it's not meant to cover every point in detail. If you have questions, you should consult Canada Revenue Agency officials or publications, or your own tax advisor. ("Canada Revenue Agency" is the new name for the "Canada Customs and Revenue Agency," which before that was called "Revenue Canada;" "Canada Revenue Agency" is abbreviated to "CRA" in this article.) See Mr Beatty's article entitled "Disability-Related Income Tax Provisions," as well as an in-depth article by ARCH Staff Lawyer Bill Holder entitled "Introduction to the Disability Tax Credit" available on the ARCH website.



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

Permuted Predictions
Brian Henson's poem expresses his feelings of deep disappointment towards others at their attempts to encourage him, when there seems to be no guarantee that hope, alone, will always give a positive answer. Brian also writes a weekly column for the new AutisticSociety website in England. Click to read his columns
They told me not to worry;

They said, "Hey, take it easy!"
But inside was a warning
That this would not work out.

How could a person tell them
That things were not that certain;
That there was still, in earnest,
An element of doubt?

They said, "Just trust us!" (ahem);
They said, "For sure, 'twill work out!"
But this, to me, was 'kin to
The tossing of a coin.

I saw it: fifty-fifty,
And confidence was waning
From that bemoaned "gut" feeling
Way down inside the groin.

It suddenly but landed,
The coin against the tile,
And yet, again, they stated:
"You must have faith you'll win!"

But when I saw the verdict,
The coin was not as hoped for;
I felt like I was hell-bound,
For some immortal sin.

The sin of not accepting
The truth that one does not know
The verdict 'till it happens,
Before us, plain and clear.

That's why I don't predict it:
My future in the present,
As one cannot fulfill it
In the moment, now and here.

 -Brian Henson ©2004


{return to the OAARSN Bulletin Board}