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6 January 2005


Experiencing PATH: Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope
As part of its ASPIRE project, Guelph Services for the Autistic encourages persons and families to use PATH as a creative planning tools for the future. Here are some ideas about PATH and CIRCLES as planning tools for better lives and more secure futures, based on a PATH workshop and several PATH events for young adults with ASD. GSA has made it possible for these PATH experiences to be led and recorded by a pair of professionally skilled facilitators. CLick on title to read this feature which includes basic information and resources about PATH and CIRCLES, one family's account of a PATH experience, and answers offered by families who have had PATH events to these questions:

  • We don’t know anyone interested in helping in this way and doubt that any friends and family members we invite will want to come.
  • We hesitate to ask people to give up a large chunk of their time for a PATH meeting .
  • How can we find a time that will suit everyone interested?
  • We often feel so different from other families because our son has autism, we hardly dare to hope that others could understand what life is like for our son/daughter and our family’s situation and fears.
  • The guests sharing in our son’s PATH don’t know one another already. They might not be understanding and tolerant of each other’s attitudes.
  • We already know that the local service system offers nothing for adults like our son. How could a PATH meeting help us?
  • When, in a person’s life, is the best time to have a PATH meeting?
  • How many participants should be invited for a PATH?
  • Could a family and friends do a PATH by ourselves, without trained and skilled facilitators?
  • How realistic are our hopes of what PATH can do?
  • How is a Circle of Support developed?
  • Do I need a Circle of Support to do a PATH?

Autism and Community: Vision and Strategic Plan for a Farm Community & Regional Centre
Click on title to read summary report of a full-day workshop held on November 28 in Guelph.
Participants included four self-advocates, 11 parents of adults with ASD, five parents of children with ASD, six friends and supporters, and two professionals, one being our facilitator and reporter, Bruce Kappel.
Guelph Services for the Autistic and Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services co-operated in funding this event and two earlier information meetings.
Through this process, we:
  • Identified the Core Values that will inform what we develop.
  • Identified the Components of the Farm Community and Centre, including some principles related to each.
  • Decided to proceed with some development steps that will help us get some things done soon, develop some experience with various approaches, and provide the context for us working together toward a common goal.
  • Formed four working groups that will develop ideas further and report back to the larger group.
  • Agreed to continue to meet monthly to develop as a community and to continue our discussions.



Increased cases of autism probably due to improved awareness
Report of a Mayo Clinic study, described as one of the first "to measure the incidence -- the occurrence of new cases -- of autism by applying consistent, contemporary criteria for autism to a specific population over a long period of time... In doing so, the study accounts for improvements in the diagnostic criteria for autism, the medical community's improved understanding of this disease and changes in federal special education laws."

Even a GP can miss her son's autism
Despite eight years' experience, Dr Sylvia Bond missed all the signs in her own young son, [showing] her just how easy it can be for the professionals as well as lay people to miss the subtle signals. In a 2002 British survey 'GPs on Autism', four out of ten GPs said they didn't have sufficient information to make an informed assessment about the likelihood of a patient having an autistic spectrum disorder. Over one in eight said they would not know how and where to refer a patient with autistic spectrum disorder.

Brain Can Be Trained To Process Sound In Alternate Way
"UCSF scientists have found that the brains of rats can be trained to learn an alternate way of processing changes in the loudness of sound. The discovery, they say, has potential for the treatment of hearing loss, autism, and other sensory disabilities in humans. It also gives clues, they say, about the process of learning and the way we perceive the world."

Scientists pinpoint look of fear
A story about research findings, published in the current issue of Nature, about the difficulties of some people, including those with ASD, with recognizing and decoding facial expressions and emotion in others. An experiment with a woman of
38 who had suffered bilateral damage to her amygdala - an almond-shape part of the brain in the temporal lobe. - found that she is completely unable to recognise fear from facial expressions, unless she is explicitly instructed to concentrate on a person's eyes. This finding could lead to the development of helpful therapies.

Today Show - The Epidemic of Autism

The Today Show on NBC is dedicating the month of January 2005 to the "Epidemic of Autism."  Bob Wright, Chairman of NBC, has a 3 year old grandson who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has sent an e-mail out to all NBC/Universal employees to tell them about his grandson and to let them know that Autism is a hidden epidemic that takes an enormous toll on tens of thousands
of families across the country. He also said that his goal is to bring the best and latest information to as wide as possible an audience on the subject of Autism. Please check your local listings for the viewing times in your area.



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

Tuesday, January 18th, 7:30-9pm, in Kitchener-Waterloo
Depression...Beyond the Blues
Hear Dr John Heintzmann. Free admission. Click on title for poster with more details.

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  



D.O.O.R. 2 Adulthood
The Disability Ontario Online Resources website includes a database of services, resources and tips and strategies about the transition to adulthood; an e-discussion group for people to share ideas and network; and an e-newsletter with the latest information about transition in Ontario. The Transition Ontario website project is supported by Ability Online, Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre, CanChild Centre for Disability Research, Centre for Independent Living Toronto, Easter Seal Society, Erinoak, Family Net, Gage Transition to Independent Living Toronto District School Board, Ontario March of Dimes, Ontario Association of Children's' Rehabilitation Centres & West Park Healthcare Centre. Click for survey--your input will help this resource develop

Autism-Asperger's Digest
Celebrating five years of publication by Future Horizons. Click for details of the January 2005 issue, which you could
receive free of charge, paying only $2.99 shipping and handling.

The Role of Chiropractic in the Care of Children with Autism
"Chiropractic care should be the cornerstone of the sensory integration treatment plan for the PDD child. While it has regularly been associated with back pain or headache, increasing numbers of parents are seeking chiropractors for children and especially for children with developmental issues. Chiropractic care differs from many of the other therapies used with autistics in that it is directed to the heart of the problem: the lack of homeostasis in the body, which can, in turn, produce a disease state." From an article in the November/December 2003 issue of the magazine "Autism Asperger's Digest".

ARI: DAN! Internet Web Conference
Dr Bernard Rimland, Director of the Autism Research Institute announces the ARI’s first Internet Web Conference, featuring over 30 hours of video footage from the two DAN! conferences in 2004. The webcast, available for the whole of January 2005, includes the introductions and interviews of recovered autistic children, before an enthusiastic crowd of 1,200. The cost of the Web Conference has been reduced to $60 US, and all webcast subscribers will also receive a one-year subscription to the Autism Research Review International (ARRI) newsletter. Click on the title for more details.


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




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 perceptions, problems and success stories, if you think others might help or benefit.

The Turning Point
The sadness is there, and cannot be ignored,
The plight of the survivors is yet but deplored,
The horror and loss are too vast to be true,
But it is just there, before me, and before you...
We try to assess the unbearable toll,
But try as we do, it is beyond control...
The suffering, hunger, and shock are just words
For the ones that were treated as though they were herds.
The wall came on in and devoured their kin,
As though it was some retribution for sin.
And though just a few of them barely survive,
They wonder what's there but to keep them alive....
The minutes are hours, the days are but years,
And all of the losses are oceans of tears;
No one gave a hint of the horror ahead,
But now, all in hindsight, the predawn is dead...
The struggle is raging inside of those still
Alive from the tragedy; the question is: will
They manage to get all the aid that they must
Get into their systems before they are dust?
The world to the rescue--and food is the key
With water and blankets and shelter, but we
Know that this is just but the start of the aid,
And many more shipments of goods must be paid.
We do what we can, but the horror's still there,
And most of those caught in the gloom and despair
Are needing our empathy, ne'er so deep,
As this tiny tale shows we are just our own sheep...
As shepherds, we sense all the horror and shame
But, instead of succumbing to giving the blame,
We send out our soul to those sheep who are lost,
And do not withdraw on the basis of cost.
As some day we find ourselves in the same plight,
And pray for our shepherds to send us the light
In aid and in empathy--beyond belief,
As all of humanity stares by the reef...
                                             -Brian Henson©2005 

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