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.



30 December 2004

In the midst of our other preoccupations, we join in deep concern and compassion for all affected by the tsunamis this week in south Asia. We have heard directly from Autism Sri Lanka, a member of our OAARSN network. Please give generously to humanitarian campaigns such as Christian Aid, Oxfam, UNICEF, Care International, World Vision and others.


To Treat Autism, Parents Take a Leap of Faith
A review in the New York Times by Benedict Carey of various treatments for autism and their effectiveness. It begins: "... more than 60 years after it was first identified, autism remains mystifying and stubbornly difficult to treat. About the only thing parents, doctors and policy makers agree on is that the best chance for autistic children to develop social and language skills is to enroll them in some type of intensive behavioral therapy."
We note that some advocates of ABA/IBI interpet this article as critical of this form of early intervention.

One Boy's Journey Out of Autism's Grasp
The story of James during six years of intervention since his diagnosis at age 2.

Autism’s fogged-up mirror
A story from the
Université de Montréal News Digest that begins:
"People with autism experience less activity in the brain neurons that specifically trigger human empathy, according to a new study by UdeM researcher Hugo Théoret. The professor in the Department of Psychology is trying to understand the link between ‘mirror neurons’ and autism."

MMR parents win legal victory
Up to 100 families in Britain who allege that their children were damaged by the MMR vaccine are to receive legal aid to sue the drugs companies behind the controversial inoculation. The families allege the vaccine was responsible for their children developing a range of conditions, including Crohn's disease, arthritis, epilepsy and encephalitis - an inflammation of the brain.

Teen carves out future by overcoming barrier
From Danbury Ct, profile of a young man with Asperger's, that begins: "
Sit and talk with Larry Baker, and you notice how bright and articulate he is. He has an incredible memory, and can tell you about many experiences he had as a very young child. He might interrupt you a bit, but he will apologize afterward."



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

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

Thursday, March 31 (evening) and Friday, April 1, in Waterloo
2005 Spring LD Conference
Learning Outside the Box
“Piece by Piece: putting the LD puzzle together”
Waterloo Recreation Complex, Waterloo, Ontario
KEYNOTE SPEAKER Thursday evening:Dr Maggie Mamen, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Friday Breakout Sessions include:
Learning Styles / Multiple Intelligences
Written Expressive Issues
Auditory Processing Challenges
Social /  Emotional Impact of LD
Sensory Integration and Motor Deficits
Programming for the LD student
For more conference details, or to register on-line:
visit our website at www.learningoutsidethebox.ca (in January)
Or contact us at

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

May 29-31, 2005
in London
"Creating a Community that Works for Everyone"
Community Living Ontario 2005 - 52nd Conference
and AGM
Hilton London Hotel, London, Ontario.
Shirley Yuen, Conference Coordinator,
tel. 416-447-4348, ext. 226  



Bright Ideas from the
National Autistic Society (UK)

The Undiscovered Workforce
A campaign to raise awareness among employers, Government and employment professionals to recognise the skills that people with autism can bring to the UK workplace, as well as the support that they need to release their potential. An estimated 535,000 people in the UK have autism, however a NAS report in 2001 revealed that only 6% of adults are currently in full time employment. In addition, only 12% of people with a diagnosis of high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome (an estimated 211,700 people in the UK have Asperger syndrome) are in full time work.

'Autism Angels' - stories to celebrate autism this Christmas
You may have a carer, support worker, parent or friend  that you would like to tell others about. Or you may help and support someone with autism who is an inspiration to you. Why is  this person special to you? How have they helped or inspired you? And why  do they deserve to be called an Autism Angel?

Having a Befriender
Anyone who is affected by autism or Asperger syndrome can apply to have a Befriender--Adults and children with an autistic disorder; Siblings; Even mothers and fathers.


The Autism Awareness Centre
 in Ottawa
believes that "education is the key to success in assisting individuals who have autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger’s Syndrome and other disorders such as Tourette’s Syndrome,Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). With numerous social, communication, and behavioral intervention methods and the more recent field of biomedical interventions, it is important to keep parents and professionals on the leading edge of new information. By hosting workshops across Canada and providing resource support both in Canada and abroad, the Autism Awareness Centre is committed to ensuring information reaches all communities."

Book reviews by Maureen Bennie, Director of AACI:
The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations  by Brenda Smith Myles, Melissa L. Trautman. Paperback 76 pages, 2004 Inventory Number: H140

Tasks Galore for the Real World
by Laurie Eckenrode, Pat Fennell, Kathy Hearsey. Spiral Bound 67 pages/ 2004. Inventory Number: T120

The Mind Tree
by Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay, Arcade Publishing, 2003.

The Autism Awareness Centre carries over 200 books and items that will enhance and support Autism Spectrum Disorder programs and therapies. The selection of resources is updated monthly with new titles on topics such as sensory integration, behavioural methods, biomedical interventions, communication, social skills, personal stories, adult issues and classroom inclusion. We also have information on Down’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), dyslexia, Nonverbal Learning Disability, Tourette’s Syndrome, and learning disabilities (LD).   
Click for the full AACI book catalog


Understanding Autism: The Physiological Basis and Biomedical Intervention Options of Autism Spectrum Disorder
From the Children’s Biomedical Center of Utah, a clinic that is using strategies developed by doctors, many of whom have autistic children. Much of this approach is known as the “Defeat Autism Now!” or DAN! Protocol. Nancy Miles also recommends these links for strategies being studied formally at Harvard Medical Centre where they have resultes in improvements in autistic children. 
http://www.autismnwaf.com/harvardproject1.htm   introduction
http://www.autismnwaf.com/harvardproposal.htm   proposal – detailed aims of this research study
http://www.autismnwaf.com/harvardproject2.htm   early clinical findings that lead to development of proposal


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. From the website you can download the petition in either official language. Just get a minimum of 25 signatures and send it to your MP.

OAARSN supports freedom of expression and encourages everyone to try to see all sides of issues and to understand the viewpoints of others.
We have learned of a counter-petition by three autistic Canadians that is very critical of the petition noted above. It begins by pointing out that "autistic Canadians do not suffer from autism, which is integral and essential to ourselves, but from the wide array of obstacles we face as autistic people in a world that is willfully ignorant of our needs and strengths as autistic people, and from the disrespect and defamation of ourselves propagated by non-autistic Canadians presenting themselves as socially and otherwise superior."  This counter-petition opposes "attempts… to have one specific autism treatment (or at least approach to treatment) designated as ‘medically necessary’ for all autistic persons [as] this treatment has among its stated goals the extinguishing of essential autistic abilities and characteristics, ‘recovery’ from autism, and [making] a person ‘indistinguishable’ from his typical peers…”

We encourage you to read the full text of both petitions, in order to understand the points of view. Please note that OAARSN  posts announcements and links for information and discussion and does not endorse or support any particular opinion or intervention.




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 you wish, we will not print 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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