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

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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. Nor do we necessarily agree with opinions that may be expressed.



23 December 2004

Season’s greetings and best wishes to all 
from the OAARSN team and from board members 
of Guelph Services for the Autistic 
and Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services.

During the festive season, persons with ASD are often made aware of their differences most acutely. Their sensory differences, food intolerances, difficulties with interpreting social cues, and sense of being short of friends may all be factors. For some tips for relatives and hosts of holiday gatherings who might need a crash course in what to expect from their guest with autism, click on Dear Family and Friends.


Autism and the railway: an unscientific meditation by Andrew Foster
Many people with autism are extraordinarily fascinated by trains and railways. Why? Is it that riding by train  helps people with sensory integration, especially of their tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular senses? Do the linear, predictably scheduled movements of trains provide a comforting sense of order in an otherwise chaotic world? Andrew Foster is an engineer who is also fascinated by trains and model railways; one of his friends has autism.


How About Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistics Are Pleading
A story in The New York Times from the points of view of teenage students at the experimental ASPIE school in the Catskills. This school's "program does not try to expunge the odd social behaviors that often make life so difficult for people with Asperger's: its unconventional aim is to teach students that it is O.K. to "act autistic" and also how to get by in a world where it is not... It is rooted in a view of autism as an alternative form of brain wiring, with its own benefits and drawbacks, rather than a devastating disorder in need of curing... The autistic activists say they want help... but would be far better off learning to use their autistic strengths to cope with their autistic impairments rather than pretending that either can be removed."

Don't look to courts for social justice

Prof. Allan Hutchinson of the Osgoode Law School laments Supreme Court decisions. "The fact that the Supreme Court has accorded constitutional status to tobacco corporations and denied it to autistic children should cause everyone to question the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Canadians Back Autism Funding From Provinces

A new Ipsos-Reid survey conducted on behalf of Families for Early Autism Treatment of British Columbia finds nine in ten (89%) Canadians believe that their provincial healthcare program should cover the costs of the Intensive Behavioural Treatment to treat children who suffer from autism.

Once informed that there was a recent decision by The Supreme Court of Canada that provinces are not legally responsible for covering the Intensive Behavioural Treatment, which costs a family approximately $60,000 a year and would save taxpayers 1-2 million dollars over the lifetime of an autistic child, and that while their province is not legally bound under the Canada Health Act to provide funding for this service they still can choose to do so out of their health budget, 84% of Canadians said that while not obligated to cover this healthcare cost, their province should do so anyways.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/Families for Early Autism Treatment of British Columbia poll conducted from December 14th to
December 16th, 2004. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1001 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

When asked whether or not they "believe that children who suffer from autism should be covered by their provincial healthcare program to receive an Intensive Behavioural Treatment, which has scientifically been proven, to effectively treat autism," 89% of Canadians say "yes." Just 6% say "no" and another 6% are unsure.

Eastern Canadians are more likely than their neighbours to the west to believe that their provincial healthcare program should cover the costs of the Intensive Behavioural Treatment: 95% of Atlantic Canadians, 90% of Quebecers, and 91% of Ontarians say "yes" compared to 85% of residents of British Columbia, 82% of residents of Alberta, and 80% of residents of Saskatchewan/Manitoba. Canadians 18-54 years of age are more likely than their elders to think that while not obligated to cover the cost of the Intensive Behavioural Treatment for children with autism, their province should do so anyways (87% vs. 77%).

For full tabular results, please visit the website at www.ipsos.ca.
News Releases are available at:

The National Autism Petition Campaign seeks to impress the Parliament of Canada with the extent of the need of autistic children for treatment. Please visit www.canadaautism.com. 
The website allows you to
download the petition in either official language. Just get a minimum of 25 signatures and send it to your MP. Read a story about Andrew Kavchak's advocacy efforts



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
 URL Link for more information/registration 

 Please Do Not Send Files Or Brochure Attachments

.....advance announcements....events in 2005...

Saturday, January 29th, 2005, 2:00-5:00pm, in Ottawa

ASO Ottawa presents...
Finding Work for People with High Functioning Autism,
Asperger's and Non-Verbal Learning Disorders

Finding a job for someone with ASD is probably easier than finding a job for you! Discover how to find jobs for adults & youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the hidden job market. Find out how ASD can actually open employer's doors. Learn tested methods of job development and practice tricks of the trade, taught by Gail Hawkins, owner of Mission Possible, a job coaching firm specializing in ASDs and based in Toronto. The workshop is suitable for adolescents and adults with HFA, Asperger's and NVLD, their parents, educators, support workers and other professionals. Preregistration required. For more information, click here or email Anita at anita_acheson@hotmail.com or Heather at hfawcett@sympatico.ca, or call Anita at 829-4723. 

March 4 & 5, 2005, in Ottawa

Autism Awareness Centre Presents
Jeanette McAfee, M.D. (March 4) on
Navigating the Social World
and Suzanne Murphy (March 5) on 
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - Practical Strategies and How to Use The
Find more and register on-line at: www.autismawarenesscentre.com
Please contact Wendy Benson at Toll Free 1-866-724-2224 or (780) 474-8355
Fax: (780) 477-8350 or (780) 447-5445 E-Mail: wendy.aaci@shaw.ca or maureen.aaci@shaw.ca

April 6-8, 2005, in Barrie
OADD 2005 Conference

The 16th annual conference on developmental disabilities will be held April 6-8, 2005 at the Kempenfelt Centre in Barrie, Ontario. Visit our conference section for information on submitting proposals for your workshop/seminar sessions and posters.

April 8-10, 2005, in Cornwall

Symposium on Raising an Adolescent/
Young Adult with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Hosted by Autism Society Ontario's Upper Canada Chapter
Click for program
Sample of presentations:
-Secondary School Transitions for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome (Richard Hales)
-Planning for Transition to Employment, Community & Post Secondary Education (Lindsay Moir)
-Panel Discussion On Educational Issues - Please come prepared to ask YOUR questions
-ASD Students in High School - Visual Supports for Meaningful Learning  (Sheila Bell)
-Sexuality and People with Developmental Disabilities (David Hingsburger)
Registration must be received ON or BEFORE MARCH 25, 2005.
Early Bird Registration before January 21.
For brochure with all the details about the seminars, accomodations, costs and directions.
contact the Upper Canada Chapter for a brochure dkeillar@sympatico.ca

Friday, April 29, 2005 in Guelph
Guelph Services for the Autistic and OAARSN are taking the lead in convening a gathering of Ontario people who want and need to be creative in supporting good lives with and for adults who are vulnerable because of disability. We particularly want to encourage self-advocates, families and friends to take part.
  • Our concern is practical--how to plan and implement the elements of a good life for each person and that we can learn from each other's effective strategies and success stories.
  • Our approach is comprehensive and holistic. We hope to put our minds and imaginations around various strategies, to show the connections among them, and to help persons and families think about and choose combinations that may work for them.
  • We plan a process of collaboration in discussion and sharing resources--during the conference and also beforehand and afterwards, using the OAARSN website and other media. Highlights of keynote, workshops and poster presentations will be recorded and edited into electronic and video resources to share with people and groups who cannot attend.  Click for planning updates and conference program


Featuring Autism Society Ontario

"dedicated to increasing public awareness about autism and the day-to-day issues faced by individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals with whom they interact. The Society and its chapters share common goals of providing information and education, supporting research, and advocating for programs and services for the autism community."

Various ASO chapters have websites of their own:

Autism Society Ontario: Dufferin Chapter website
Victor Brown, webmaster

Autism Society Ontario: Chatham-Kent Chapter

Autism Society Ontario: Halton Chapter

Autism Society Ontario: Ottawa Chapter

Autism Society Ontario: Simcoe County Chapter

Autism Society Ontario: Sudbury & District Chapter

Autism Society Ontario: Toronto Chapter


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

The National Autism Petition Campaign seeks to impress the Parliament of Canada with the extent of the need of autistic children for treatment. Please visit www.canadaautism.com.
The website allows you to
download the petition in either official language. Just get a minimum of 25 signatures and send it to your MP. Read a story about Andrew Kavchak's advocacy efforts




News about adults with autism is usually negative. We receive 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 Only
(by Paige, an 11 year old girl with Asperger's Syndrome)
    If only you could be me for just one single day
    Maybe you'd be able to see how hard it is for me to stay
    In control and out of trouble, my emotions running wild
    They say I’m dangerous, they say I'm bad but I'm only just a child
    With a mental illness that makes it hard to control my temper and
    actions as well
    They call it Asperger's Syndrome, but I just call it hell
    No friends to play with, their parents say no
    As if my illness could spread out of control
    Adults talk about me behind my back
    They say there's no illness, I'm just a big brat
    But I also have feeling's, though they don't always show
    Sometimes I hide them so no one will know
    How bad it hurts to be laughed at, how it hurts to be picked last
    To always be sad and lonely while the other kids are having a blast
    Never invited to parties, never invited to play
    Instead I stay at home and get on my knees to pray
    I pray to God to ease my pain to make people understand
    I don't try to be mean or difficult, I just want to be able to stand
    On my own two feet and say that if you were me for just one day
    Maybe you would stop and think before you treat me that way.
The End

What it’s like to be me

(by a man of 36 who has severe autism and uses a computer to speak)

I’m a bundle of sensations
I get the urge
to touch and pick
and I must follow my urges.
Can you see my urges?
I can’t tell you
I just show you.
I’m a bundle of nerves
and a jumble of thoughts.
I’m in constant motion
and my mind’s always going.
I wonder what it’s like to be you.
Do you wonder what it’s like to be me?
I’m a time bomb waiting to explode
And a tear waiting to fall.

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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