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26 February 2005

Guelph Spring Conference:

Calling…. persons and families who live with autism or other challenging conditions (including physical disabilities, mental health, cognitive and sensory impairments), as well as agency representatives, support workers, community friends and advocates who care:
A gathering of Ontario people who want to be creative in supporting good lives with and for adults who are vulnerable because of their disabilities. Guelph Services for the Autistic and the Ontario Adult Autism Research & Support Network are taking the lead in this event, with expressions of support from a dozen other provincial and regional associations and agencies.

The conference program includes:

  • Opening keynote address and closing call to action by John Lord
  • Four concurrent workshops led by Judith Snow, Barbara Leavitt, Peggy Hutchison, Marlyn Shervill and Michelle Friesen
  • Poster sessions and brief presentations illustrating a range of living supports from which persons and families may choose to suit their situations and needs
  • Informal connections and discussions
  • A record of the conference event to encourage a lasting process of consultation and implementation that will also reach those who cannot attend

Click for more detailed information including registration
Register by March 11 to take advantage of lower fees.


Planning New Initiatives
The experience of sharing in the process of building community by, for and with people on the autism spectrum has prompted Brian Henson to think deeply about how innovations are developed.

Please click for a first statement of Brian's ideas  with a link to an interesting conceptual diagram.



Transforming Ontario's Developmental Services
The decision of the Ontario Government to commence a process of transforming services it funds for people with developmental disabilities is an opportunity for all concerned about present inequities and, more positively, for all to plan and implement better lives in people's home communities.
Click for reports and links from 2004.

The Ministry is hosting a series of six expert policy forums on the transformation of developmental services in Ontario in conjunction with various partners. These forums are taking place between October 2004 and March 2005.

  • Specialized Resources
  • Residential Options
  • Citizenship and Advocacy
  • Quality Assurance
  • Funding Models
  • Supporting and Strengthening Families

The developmental services transformation draft should be complete by summer 2005 with the final blueprint and implementation occurring in fall 2005.

Autism Society Ontario is taking part in these forums and other discussions.

ASO's Submission to the Preliminary Discussion Paper, 2004

Policy Forum on Citizenship and Advocacy
reported by Nancy Cherry of Waterloo

Policy Forum on Residential Options

reported by Lynda Beedham



Autism is the cover story in the February 28 issue of Newsweek, with this article of adult interest:
My Mind Began to Wake Up
Lost and found: One woman's remarkable transformation.
The story of Sue Rubin who also wrote the text for the 40-minute film Autism Is A World that has been nominated for an Academy Award. Autism is a World will broadcast on CNN Presents Sunday May 22, 2005 at 8pm EST.
Distribution of the film will begin on the day of the broadcast at that time, you can go to www.autismisaworld.com if you are interested in obtaining a copy of the film. Also, at the time of the broadcast, the website and CNN.com will include additional resources on autism and how to use the film for discussion in a community screening.

The Washington Post on February 21 published a mainly sceptical account of facilitated communicating, the controversial technique that Sue Rubin used to convince her family and friends that she is intelligent. However, Dr Margaret Bauman is quoted as convincecd that what Sue types is her own. Bauman, who runs a large clinic for autism and related disorders, said that to her mind, facilitated communication "was oversold in the beginning," and then rejected too thoroughly: "The baby was thrown out with the bath water."

Key to intelligence questioned
"Thought might not be dependent on language, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A UK team has shown that patients who have lost the ability to understand grammar can still complete hard sums. This suggests mathematical reasoning can exist without language.The study undermines the assumption that language is the key quality that makes our thought processes more advanced than those of other animals."

A genius explains (Interviewed by Richard Johnson for The Guardian)
Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. He speaks seven languages and is even devising his own language. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism. Ever since the age of three, when he suffered an epileptic fit, Tammet has been obsessed with counting. Now he is 26, and a mathematical genius who can figure out cube roots quicker than a calculator and recall pi to 22,514 decimal places. He also happens to be autistic, which is why he can't drive a car, wire a plug, or tell right from left. He lives with extraordinary ability and disability.

Anthropologist of the Everyday

Gregory Blackstock's visual lists catalog all the stuff under the sun. A story from Seattle.

National Geographic for March 2005 features THE MIND
Some autism research is cited. See page 22 for a short story about Tito.

Autism First-Hand: An Expert Interview With Temple Grandin, PhD
As a child, Temple Grandin, PhD, like many children with autism, couldn't speak and raged for no identifiable reason. Yet she grew up to earn a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois; pioneer humane ways of treating cattle using knowledge gleaned from her disorder; and write on the sensory and cognitive experience of being autistic.

Autism Services Needed for Adults
A story from Louisiana.

People With Autism Living Productive Lives
An account from central Texas.

The Age of Autism: Absolutely Different?
A review of the early diagnoses by Kanner and Asperger in the 1940s, as part of a discussion of the questions: "Is autism a new disorder?" or "Have there always been people with autism, just not recognized?"

Health: When Does Autism Start?
Scientists are now looking for the earliest signs of the mysterious disorder as desperate parents hunt for treatments that may improve their children's lives. Click The Hidden Epidemic for details of the special programming on MSNBC and NBC News for the rest of February on autism issues.
NBC Attacks Autism With “Autism: The Hidden Epidemic?”
A Week Long Series On The Networks of NBC News
“Today,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” CNBC, MSNBC, NBC Owned
and Operated Stations, Telemundo and MSNBC.com will spend the week of
February 21 - 26, 2005 looking at autism from all angles.
Feb. 21:  Children in the grip of autism
Feb. 22:  What's behind the increase?
Feb. 23:  Inside the treatment maze
Feb. 24:  Coping strategies for parents
Feb. 25:  Video games take on autism
RELATED STORIES AND RESOURCES All of MSNBC.com's coverage and the scripts and interviews from the “Today” show and “Nightly News” available at http://www.autism.msnbc.com

OAARSN has also received this information, but we're not really sure if it extends to Canadians. It's worth a try?
Autism Speaks Offers Free DVD of NBC/Universal Autism Programming
To receive a complimentary DVD containing all of
NBC Universal's autism-related programming listed here, please send an e-mail to info@autismspeaks.org. Include your full name and shipping address.


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

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 5, 2005, 8:30 to 4:30, in Guelph
Family Initiatives Project presents

Coming Together to Create Change
2nd annual conference for family members and those providing support
to individuals with mental health issues

Sat. March 5, 2005, in Waterloo
Adaptive Technology Workshop for Parents
(sponsored by NLD Waterloo)
Hands-on introduction to voice-to-text, text-to-voice, graphic organizer software
Dragon Naturally Speaking V.8 - Kurzweil 3000 - WYNN Wizard - Inspirations
United Way Board Room, 20 Erb St. W. Waterloo, Ontario
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Cost : $20.00
Each participant will be provided with their own laptop to experience the different software packages being presented.
PDA handhelds, with appropriate software, will also be demonstrated.
Contact info@NLDontario.org to register
Workshop presented by NLD Waterloo in partnership with Global eText (Toronto)

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.

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

March 22nd and 23rd, 2005, 9am-4:30pm
Are We Doing What We Say We’re Doing?
Evaluation Workshop

At The Elmhurst Inn, Ingersoll Ontario
Click for flyer and registration form
This interactive two day workshop will teach you:
  • Practical, hands-on experience in completing an evaluation of services
  • How to use the Are We... evaluation tool
  • The art of evaluation
  • How to conduct an internal and peer review
  • Develop the right questions
  • Interviewing skills
  • How to review your data to find common themes, consolidate and summarize your information.

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.

Friday, April 8,
9am to 4:30 pm, in London
Art Sheil Workshop
Suicide Recognition and Response
Howard Johnson Motel, 1170 Wellington Rd. S, London
Registration begins at 8:30am. Deadline for registrations is March 25.
Workshop is open to a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 participants. Cost $79.00.
Register on-line at
www.artswork.on.ca/training selecting this workshop.
Phone 519-294-6814 E-mail  art@artswork.on.ca Box 690, Parkhill Ont. N0M 2K0

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, accommodations, costs and directions.
contact the Upper Canada Chapter for a brochure dkeillar@sympatico.ca

April 8-10, 2005, Horseshoe Valley
Family Alliance Ontario and Integration Action for Inclusion proudly present the
Annual Family Conference 2005
"Beyond Citizenship"
Citizenship that recognizes equality, inclusion, human rights and our contribution.
An event for the whole family
Click for conference information

Friday, April 29, 2005
in Guelph
Guelph Services for the Autistic and OAARSN invite 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, learning 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  Register by March 11 to take advantage of lower fees

April 28 – 30th 2005 in Ottawa

National Safety Symposium: Crime Prevention and Independent Living

The Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC) is holding a National Symposium, April 28 – 30th 2005 in Ottawa.  CAILC will partner with the Ottawa Police Services, who are celebrating their 150th anniversary in 2005.  The funding for this project is through the National Crime Prevention Initiative.

This Symposium will bring persons with disabilities together with municipal and provincial/territorial leaders, crime prevention experts, and first responders to discuss the issues and programs that affect the ability of persons with disabilities to live independently and safely in their own communities. It will foster an integrated and comprehensive approach to crime prevention and Independent Living.

We will showcase crime prevention and Independent Living strategies and highlight programs from across the country.  There will be time to share ideas and expertise, create awareness and educate, and facilitate activities and partnerships from all areas of Canada.

Watch for announcements and registration information on the CAILC website in November at www.cailc.ca

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  



Autism Awareness Centre Bookstore
Five titles on adult issues, employment and college. View details of many other books that can be ordered online at www.autismawarenesscentre.com
How Can a Parent Help?
Mothers and fathers can do a lot to ensure a safe landing in early adulthood for their kids. Even if a job's starting salary seems too meager to satisfy an emerging adult's need for rapid gratification, the transition from school to work can be less of a setback if the start-up adult is ready for the move. Here are a few measures, drawn from Dr Mel Levine's book Ready or Not, Here Life Comes, that parents can take to prevent what he calls "work-life unreadiness".



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.

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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