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.


24 January 2005


Priorities for Gene Research
What priorities should guide the US
National Institutes of Health in allocating billions of dollars from the agency's budget?
"Two geneticists, Dr. Kathleen Merikangas of the National Institute of Mental Health and Dr. Neil Risch of Stanford University, have taken on this challenge by introducing an intriguing framework for setting priorities for genetic research. The best candidates for genetic research, they believe, are disorders whose emergence and course cannot be derailed by changes in personal habits or manipulation of the environment. Examples are autism, Type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease."

Commonly Prescribed Antibiotic Implicated in Autism
"In a study released this week, the antibiotic Augmentin TM has been implicated in the formation of autism. The study strongly suggests the possibility of ammonia poisoning as a result of young children taking Augmentin. Augmentin has been given to children since the late 1980's for bacterial infections. Composed of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium, Augmentin has proven a potent antibacterial, especially for ear infections which quickly become resistant to amoxicillin alone."

Benefits for Autism & Asperger's Syndrome With Essential Fatty Acid Supplementation
Nordic Naturals, Inc, a leading supplier of fish oil and essential fatty acid nutritional supplements, announced today the results of a successful pilot trial that showed beneficial effects of essential fatty acids (EFAs) on language and learning skills in children with autism and Asperger's syndrome. The study, completed in 2004, was conducted by Louise Patrick, a licensed speech and language pathologist, and Ronald Salik, MD at a pediatric clinic in Arizona. A report of the pilot trial can be found in the January/February 2005 issue of Autism-Asperger's Digest.

Is Autistic Artistic?
N. F. Karlins reviews a sophisticated group show at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery in SoHo, entitled "Autism/Asperger's/Art" which he declares is "a must-see for anyone who likes contemporary art."

Have bag, will travel: cross-country walk to raise money for autism
"If you see a guy walking down the street with a big bag of cement on his shoulder, give a honk of support.
It'll be Michael Coles, in training to walk from Halifax to Vancouver...."


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

United Family Congress calls for sweeping changes in disability services
In response to the discussion paper prepared by a core committee established by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to look at transforming services for people with disabilities, the Congress makes about 30 recommendations including the establishment of an umbrella ministry, branch or agency with the mandate of efficiently and effectively meeting all of the identified special needs of people with disabilities. The Congress also calls for the establishment of a Disability Advocacy Office with an ombudsperson to assist in identifying and designing solutions to complaints by citizens related to disabilities. [Report by Family Net]

Extend funding to those who leave home: SSAH Provincial Coalition
A person who has a developmental disability shouldn’t lose funding for support when he or she moves away from home, says Alison Ouellette, co-chair of the Special Services at Home (SSAH) Provincial Coalition.
[Report by Family Net] Read also the SSAH recommendations to the Ontario MCSS for its transformation of development services in Special Services at Home ‘helps to foster full citizenship’

Ottawa Resolution Service for Adults with a Development Difficulty
John and Anne Toft explain how this mechanism has helped their son Adrian to reach a residential placement, with supports, after experiencing great difficulty in various other placements. Click on title to read their account.

Dispute resolution services are available in all regions of Ontario. If you have experienced this service, please tell OAARSN about it. 
We'd like to produce a list of all the agencies providing this service.



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

March 18, 2005, in
Novi, Michigan
Epilepsy, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Behavior
Autism Society of Michigan's Annual Spring Conference 

Information on registration coming soon.

1. Participants will understand the different seizure disorders that occur with autism and the impact on autism.
2. Participants will understand the role of seizures in challenging behavior
3. Participants will learn how seizures affect sleep disorders
4. Participants will learn practical solutions for dealing with the individual with seizures and ASD.

Autism Society of Michigan has a most impressive program of other workshops and meetings in the first quarter of this year. Explore its website

Wednesday, March 30, from 7:00 in Kitchener
“My Sad is all Gone”:
Various therapeutic techniques for helping Autistic people

with Thelma Wheatley, author, teacher & parent
Kitchener Public Library, in the Schneider Room
In association with Waterloo Wellington Autism Services & Autism Society Ontario
Thelma Wheatley is described as the only Canadian parent of an autistic adult who has published a book about him. “My Sad is All Gone” was published in October 2004 and now you can meet the author and her son Julian. Thelma will speak about the specific drug protocol that helped her son control his violence and aggression, also about other helpful therapy techniques including music and art therapy.

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
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 to 10, 2005, in Toronto
"Living Well: Beyond Existing"
2nd ICE conference 2005 (Independence, Community, Empowerment):
At Travelodge Hotel in Toronto, Ontario at Keele and 401.
ICE Conference Committee includes members from Ontario March of Dimes, Speaking Differently, clinicians from AAC Centres around Ontario, and AAC users. The Ontario Federation of Cerebral Palsy is sponsor.
The ICE Canada 2005 theme is "Living Well: Beyond Existing" and key topics will be:
Recreation/ Leisure/ Travel
Sexuality/ Marriage/ Dating/ Relationships
Aging with a Disability
Spirituality/ Death/ Grieving
Advocacy/ Rights/ Independence
In keeping with ICE 2002 the Town Hall Meeting will again be playing an important role. During this discussion, which is chaired by an individual who uses AAC, only those who use AAC will be allowed to speak.
In addition, on Saturday night, Speaking Differently will be performing the play Broken Speech. This play is "about how one tries to survive in a world that is primarily based on spoken word. Broken Speech is a vivid, hilarious, and insightful commentary on how one person is able to regain his once lost voice."
For more information, please check out the official ICE website at: www.iceconference.ca where you will soon be able to find email addresses related to such areas as Registration, Attendant Services, General Information, and website feedback. There will be a mailout of brochures; you can register and pay on-line by mid-February.

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  



Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
Based in Vancouver, BC with affiliates across Canada, PLAN offers rich resources for families who seek good lives for their relatives or friends who are vulnerable because of disability.

Explore the rich resources of the PLAN website

"Peace of Mind"
- CD-ROM is now available for purchase.
"Connecting to Citizenship" focuses on the promotion of social networks for persons with disabilities and makes seven social policy recommendations to end the disability of isolation and loneliness.
Canadian Bar Association
proposes changes to improve the RRSP/RRIF Rollover Provisions by permitting an RRSP, RRIF or annuity to be held in trust for the person with a disability. Read the Proposal and accompanying Fact Scenarios
Ties That Bind website and find out how to order the film.
Law Reform Project:
Families face the question, "What will happen to my son or daughter with a disability when I die?"  A series of federal reforms, including a Disability Savings Plan, proposed by families in Securing A Good Life would help. See two new documents.
Read Winter 2005 issue of PLANfacts newsletter

The "Special Needs" Planning Group
The "Special Needs" Planning Group is an organization that is made up primarily of people who have direct links to the disabled community through family relationships and experiences. We feel that this is important since we believe that no one can just read a book and truly understand the feelings and concerns that parents have with respect to the needs of their sons or daughters with disabilities. We are experienced, knowledgeable professionals who understand the issues since we are living them. We use a team approach to planning using Planners, Lawyers and Accountants, all of whom specialize in planning for people with disabilities. In addition, we provide solutions which include more than just a will and a trust account. Many of the strategies developed by the "Special Needs" Planning Group are shared in:
Removing the Mystery: An Estate Planning Guide for Families of People With a Disability
As part of their Long Term Planning and Support Program, the Ontario Federation For Cerebral Palsy has developed a guide for families interested in planning for people with disabilities. It was written by Graeme Treeby, a founder of The "Special Needs" Planning Group. It represents an in depth look at planning issues which commonly affect families who have family members with disabilities. You will find this guide to be an invaluable resource for families, lawyers, accountants and planners. Removing the Mystery explores such topics as Selecting an Estate Planning Professional, ODSP Benefits and Entitlements, Wills and Trusts, Henson Trusts, Trustee Selection and Duties, Planning Giving, Probate Fees and much more. It is designed to benefit all families regardless of the disability of their family member. It can be previewed on the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy's web site by clicking here. In addition, it can be purchased in CD-ROM format from the OFCP for $9.95 or in paper format for $29.95.




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.

Speech Therapy for Adults with Autism: Appeal from a Speech-Language Pathologist
"I am a speech pathologist working with developmentally disabled adults and am being pressured into providing speech therapy for autistic adults who have extremely limited vocabularies.  Is there any research available to help me either learn about the best methodology to provide services or are there cogent arguments to be made that therapy is unsupported for someone who is fifty years old + and has a vocabulary limited to nouns and the simplest of verbs, such as "go" and "eat"? I am willing to listen to any advice you may have available."

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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