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  8 August 2004

Idea of a day conference on

When? late April 2005, probably Friday April 29

Where? In Guelph, Ontario


  1. to inspire and nerve people to implement person-centred and self-directed plans
  2. to share a full range of creative individualized strategies that work
  3. to power a concerted and collaborative process involving all parties (persons, families, communities, agencies and Governments) concerned with support persons who are vulnerable because of disability 

Who should be interested?

Persons and families who live with autism and other challenging conditions (including physical disabilities, mental health, cognitive and sensory impairments), agency representatives, and community friends and advocates who care.

If we can obtain funding, we hope to reach those who cannot usually attend similar events, by:

  1. Assisting persons and families who could not otherwise afford to take part
  2. Making electronic and print resources that can be shared and studied by people who live too far away to attend. 


  1. Opening and closing plenary sessions—keynote and call to action
  2. Four concurrent workshops
  3. Poster sessions and brief presentations on a whole range of living supports from which persons and families may choose to suit their situations and needs
  4. Informal connections and discussion
  5. Video record of poster presentations and summary highlights
  6. Process of consultation and resources beforehand and afterwards through the OAARSN website

We plan a special contribution by making a record of the event and encouraging a process of consultation that will last into the months and years following the conference and extend far beyond those who attend.

Who is organizing the conference?
Guelph Services for the Autistic with OAARSN, and support from various other disability organizations, is w
illing to lead in promoting the event, making an application to Trillium, and handling local conference arrangements in a location which is fairly convenient within southern Ontario.

    • GSA efforts will be justified as persons and families feel empowered to move ahead in implementing their person-centred and self-directed plans.
    • We dedicate the meeting in honour of Malcolm Jeffreys (1944-2003) of Windsor Community Living, who encouraged our group of families as he helped so many others.
    • The conference builds on GSA’s experience with the ASPIRE project (Autism Support Project: Information, Resources, Empowerment) since 2002.

What you can do?

1. Read more about plans on this page
2. Register your interest in keeping informed by contacting us
3. Interesting any group or organization to which you belong in writing a letter of support, that may be used to apply for grants to make the conference accessible
4. Planning to share successful strategies and bright ideas that work, through the poster sessions and afternoon presentations
5. Prepare by reading Implementing Person-Centered Planning: Voices of Experience, edited by John O'Brien and Connie Lyle O'Brien (Inclusion Press, 2002). Click for more about this book
We hope our conference and associated processes can create an equivalent record for Ontario.


General Autism News

Scientists aim to demystify workings of the brain
A good account of Brain Awareness Week in Switzerland.
"The brain holds the answers to many of today’s least understood disorders, including stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, depression, stress, eating disorders, schizophrenia and autism."

Autism study willl look at lifestyle
Scientists in Britain are to carry out one of the most detailed studies into the links between autism and the environment, investigating how diet, pregnancy, infections, birth complications and genes contribute to the condition. New funds will be used to analyze data from the continuing Children of the 90s project that is following 14,000 mothers and their children in detail to trace links between their way of life and disease. The children are now aged 11 to 13. The new research follows concern among some parents that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, introduced in Britain in 1988, could cause autism and bowel disease in some babies. But the small sample is unlikely to provide a defnitive answer to this question.

In search of a cure for autism
A story about the Autism Intervention Research Trust, set up last month in Britain to fund research both to "halt the exploitation and the wasted time and money on inappropriate methods of treatment" and to find out what works. "Evidence-based practice has passed autism by," says Richard Mills, the research director at the National Autistic Society (NAS). "Only eight per cent of the research budget spent on the disorder is spent on interventions. As a result, there is no reliable guidance available to desperate parents. Doctors are just as much in the dark as parents and often less wise because they think they know all the answers."

Mercury to be banned from baby vaccines in UK
Doctors are also being told to switch from a live polio vaccine taken orally to an injection to avoid rare cases of contamination. But there is some concern that the present inoculations will be replaced by a five-in-one jab (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hib and polio) at two months of age.

How Krishna Broke Free of Autism
Krishna (33) was diagnosed as severely autistic at age 4. He and his mother have just published Quest, Search for Quality Life.  Earlier, his mother Jalaja Narayanan wrote From A Mother's Heart; A journal of survival, challenge and hope in which she described her traumatic life bringing up an autistic child and also the various techniques used to overcome autism. Krishna's first book was Wasted Talent; Musings of an Autistic.
Krishna wrote at age 24: 'To my parents, I was not dumb. In reality, I was never dumb. I knew the alphabet, I knew many words, and I knew how to fashion sentences. The tragedy of autism is being unable to communicate in words. An autistic's mind is normal, even brilliant, but complete absence of verbal expression makes his behaviour totally misunderstood. To the world, I was weird and insane, given to funny movements with no speech. To me, I was normal in intelligence, feelings and emotions, but afflicted with a debilitating disease that robbed me of speech and coordination, and endowed me with enormous tension and fear.'

Autistic man has become indispensable to City of Berkeley
Eric Keys, 41, is a drafting aide in Berkeley, CA's, engineering department, where he uses his extraordinary mind to perform infinitely complicated tasks that no one else could possibly do. "Before we got computers, all our maps had to be drawn by hand," said city engineer Jeff Egeberg. "Eric drew them all, and they are beautiful works of art as well as being absolutely correct, down to the tiniest detail. Now we're doing it on computers, but guess who puts all the information into those computers? Eric, of course."

The Turing Motor
An account of a new kind of motor by its "
Passionate Autistic Inventor" Rich Shull.

Horse riding sessions can help children with disabilities
A story about a child with Fragile X syndrome that illustrates how hippotherapy can improve balance, posture, motor skills, concentration and speech in patients with conditions such as cerebral palsy, Sensory Integrative Dysfunction and developmental delays.



NY Spectrum Magazine launched
GEM Media, Inc. (www.gemmediainc.com), a media group focused on the special needs community, and Spectrum Publications announce the launch of the first-ever publication for those living with and caring for children with autism and developmental disabilities.

Mindscape's Production's CD about Autism and Aspergers
More reactions to the new CD and how to order it. "....an informative, insightful and inspirational production to help educate parents, relatives, teachers and employers about autism and Asperger Syndrome. It features interviews, poetry and music from people who have Autism and Asperger's, educational and insightful interviews with parents and researchers as well as compelling stories of hope."

Novel's Sleuth Views Life from Unusual Perspective
A New York Times story about the success of Mark Haddon's best-selling first novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, including the reactions of people with Asperger Syndrome.




NEWS of MCSS Consultations – Immediate Action Required!
The Ministry of Community and Social Services is initiating a steering committee to advise the Minister on how to proceed with her "transformation" of Developmental Services in Ontario. This very important process will profoundly affect developmental services for many years to come. A Steering Committee is being formed. They will begin meeting in early August 2004 and create a "high level paper" by early September. This paper will be the basis for broad public consultations to be completed by Feb/March 2005. There is not much time. This committee and paper will also define the all-important terms of reference for the broader provincial consultations.

Advocacy organizations are concerned that the Steering Group is composed almost entirely of service providers, and are requesting that families and self-advocates be informed of the process and have at least equal representation at the table. There is nothing on the MCSS website about this very important process which should be transparent to those who will have to live with its decision.

For further information about the consultation process, contact Deputy Minister Kevin Costante, or Assistant Deputy Minister Andrea Maurice.

Kevin Costante, Deputy Minister  
Ministry of Community and Social Services
Hepburn Block
6th Floor
80 Grosvenor St
Toronto ON M7A 1E9
General Inquiry: 416-325-5225
Fax: 416-325-5240

Andrea Maurice, Assistant Deputy Minister, 416-325-3592


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: Wellington: Schedule for July-December 2004
Information about the new Resource Centre, support groups and workshops.

Aug 23-27, 2004, in Toronto

Geneva Centre for Autism  Presents:
The 20th Annual Autism Summer Training Institute

Aug 26: Designing Behavior Support Plans for Students Who Engage In Problematic Behaviors, by Dr.Cathy Pratt, Directore of the Indiana Reource Centre for Autism - Indiana University Click for more

Sept 13  2004, in Barrie
Shirley Sutton presents on
Visual-Kinesthetic Printing Skills: Preparing for Kindergarten and Primary level

Contact : Achimota Centre for Children with Autism (ACCA) Barrie 705-735-2336. achimota@vianet.on.ca

Oct 1/ 2, 2004, in Ottawa
Shirley Sutton presents on
Sensory Strategies,  Oral and Fine Motor Fun Make & Take.

Contact: Children at Risk Ottawa  carsup@magma.ca

Friday, 01 October, 2004, 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., in Woodbridge  

Early Diagnosis, Psychological Theories of Autism, The Extreme Male Brain, 
Teaching Mind Reading to People with Autism

Click for full information

October 15 and 16, 2004, in Toronto
Communication Disorders and the Whole Child 
See more information
Organization website

October 17-18, in Hamilton
Canadian National Committee for Police/Mental Health Liaison

3rd Annual Psychiatrists in Blue conference. Click for details

October 22, in Victoria BC.

Shirley Sutton presents on
Making Sense of Sensory Integration

Contact: Autism Awareness Centre Inc. wendy.casdc@shaw.ca

October 22, 2004 - in Toronto (Victoria College): 10am -12:30
Building Blocks for Gluten Free Living - workshop for professionals
helley Case RD, one of the leading experts in celiac disease, will present to professionals on Celiac Disease and the Gluten-free diet. Sponsored by Kingsmill Foods. Please click here for workshop brochure

October 23, 2004 - in Toronto (Victoria College): 9am to 4pm
Building Blocks for Gluten Free Living - our first customer workshop, sponsored by Kingsmill Foods. Shelley Case, dietitian and author is keynote speaker, followed by an esteemed panel of professionals--Dr. Peter Durie MD FRCPC, Shelley Case RD, Mary Barron MSc RD and Heather Butt PHEc--on the Top 10 Questions posed by our celiac customers. All registrants will get an information package, refreshments and lunch (made by Il Fornello) on the day of the event.  Please click here for workshop brochure. Registration is set up for all these events on "Shop On-line".  Space is limited for all our workshops, so plan to register early to secure your spot. This information is also available on www.SpecialtyFoodShop.com, on Shop On-line, then Workshops

Nov. 6, 2004, in York Region

Shirley Sutton presents on
Sensory Oral and Fine Motor Fun Make’n Take

Contact:  Autism Society Ontario- York Region. Lynda asoyork@axxent.ca

Geneva Centre International Symposium
is scheduled for November 10, 11, 12, 2004 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The Symposium 2004 brochure has been mailed out and is also available on our website.
This year you have the option to register on-line at www.autism.net




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

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