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

This bulletin is best read in Netscape.

See our archive of past OAARSN news bulletins.

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.


17 May 2005


Autism conference reports advances in early diagnosis, role of immune system and more
Some 700 scientists from around the world who gathered in Boston this week shared exciting advances in understanding the causes of and treatments for autism disorders, which affect up to one of every 166 people. Autism is a brain disorder that can severely impair a child's communication and social skills, leaving them in apparent isolation from their families and communities. Among the advances reported by scientists were:
Early Detection: Identification of both potential biological markers in the blood (biomarkers) and behaviors that will allow scientists and physicians to identify autism in infants, and thus initiate early treatment.
Immune System:
Strong evidence that autism may be a disorder involving the immune system as well as a disorder of the brain.
Studies homed in on chromosomal regions implicated in autism. Exciting results came from looking at autistic-like traits.
Environment: Scientists documented overlap between environmentally responsive genes and genes associated with autism, and found evidence into the potential role of environmental toxins such as PCBs.

Discovery May Enable Early Diagnosis of Autism

The immune system responses of children with autism differ from those of children who do not have the disorder, according to a new study released at the 4th International Meeting for Autism Research. This is important evidence that autism, currently defined primarily by distinct behaviors, potentially may be defined by distinct biologic changes as well, say the researchers behind the work.

The Age of Autism: Series of articles in UPI by Dan Olmsted
who addresses intriguing questions of whether autism spectrum disorders have been always with us or
whether they appeared only in the 20th century. And if so, why? See links to earlier instalments.
The Age of Autism: The Amish anomaly
The Age of Autism: Julia

The Age of Autism: Sick children
Transcript of a United Press International interview with Dr Elizabeth Mumper, newly appointed medical director of the Autism Research Institute in San Diego, a group that suspects mercury -- and possibly some vaccines themselves -- are implicated in an alarming increase in childhood disorders.

The Age of Autism: A new approach
Second part of interview with Dr Mumper.

Links to earlier articles in the series:

The Age of Autism: Donald T. and Fritz V.  (9 February 2005)

Autism - Early failure to pay attention to faces, speech may influence later development
Dr Geraldine Dawson, a leading scientist trying to understand and treat autism, suspects that a failure to engage in such normal social activities as looking at a parent's face or listening to speech sounds early in life may help explain the profound impairments in social and language development shown by most children with the disorder.

Specific Behaviors In Infants Can Predict Autism
Canadian researchers at McMaster University have become the first to pinpoint specific behavioral signs in infants as young as 12 months that can predict, with remarkable accuracy, whether a child will develop autism. The preliminary findings, published this month in the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, were taken from an ongoing study of 200 Canadian infants, the largest study of its kind in the world. The infants, many of whom have been followed from birth to 24 months, are younger siblings of children who have been diagnosed with autism.

Canadian Study Indicates Autism Could Be Potentially Spotted Earlier
The two-year study of 150 children at several Canadian hospitals who were already at a higher risk of developing autism is reported in the April-May edition of the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience. Common behavioral traits were found in the 19 infants who actually went on to develop autism.

Low-Cost Therapy Shows Promise for Autism

A form of therapy that focuses on parents' interactions with their children could help treat autism at a far lower cost than other strategies for the disorder, according to researchers. Their study found that a therapy called responsive teaching, given over one year, led to gains in language and behavioral development among young children with autism or other pervasive developmental disorders — a group of disorders marked by problems in the development of communication and social skills.

Another story: Autistic Children Benefit Greatly from Relationship Development Intervention(tm) Program

Children's diet link to disorders
British children are suffering behavioural and learning disorders because their diets are deficient in vital nutrients needed for their brains to function normally, a study reveals today. Rigorous scientific research shows that the performance of underachieving children, some of whom were also disruptive, improved dramatically when their diets were supplemented with fish oils. The fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for brain development and function but are largely missing from modern processed diets. The study, published in this month's issue of the American journal Pediatrics and conducted by researchers from Oxford University's department of physiology, found that some 40% of the children made dramatic improvements in reading and spelling when given supplements high in omega-3 essential fats.



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

Sunday, May 22, at 8 pm
CNN Presents..."Autism is a World"
“Autism Is a World,” a co-production of CNN Productions and State of the Art Inc., will make its television premiere as a CNN Presents documentary on Sunday, May 22, at 8 p.m. (ET) The film, nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in February, is a candid and compelling look into the mind of Sue Rubin, a 26-year-old Los Angeles woman living with autism.The film is directed by Gerardine Wurzburg. “Autism Is a World” combines Rubin’s courageous writing with a sensitive, dramatic reading by actress Julianna Margulies. Brought to life through the powerful filmmaking of Gerardine Wurzburg, “Autism Is a World” offers a view of autism as it has rarely been seen—from the inside out.
Click for more about CNN Classroom Edition aired Monday, May 23, 4-5pm
Click for availability of the film

May 22-23, in Philadelphia
Making Sense of Autism
Practical Skills for Working with Autistic Children
Unique workshops by two clinicians, one with Asperger's syndrome and one autistic.

Free American Sign Language Classes
University of Waterloo, May 24th-July 11th
Once a week for an hour and a half on Tuesdays in PAS 1056 for 8 weeks.
Everybody is more than welcome to come and learn.

For more information, contact Doreen Siu dsiuca@yahoo.ca

May 26-29, 2005,
in Chicago

Autism One Conference in Chicago
Features four major tracks to help parents and professionals make the most informed choices and decisions:
Biomedical Treatments
Behavior / Communication / Education Therapies
Complementary / Alternative Treatments
Government / Legal / Personal Issue

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  

Aspergers Society of Ontario Workshop Series in Toronto, evenings
Monday June 20: Financial Planning for the Future, Mary Stokes
Click for more information and registration form
Note the new Canadian book on Asperger Syndrome from Jessica Kingsley Publishers: "Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome: Integrating Multiple Perspectives." For more information go to www.jkp.com

July 10-13, 2005
Toronto Summer Institute: Inclusion, Community and Diversity
The Assembly Hall - Humber College - Lakeshore Campus
“People working actively on the complex issues of inclusion and diversity in communities, workplaces and schools will want to attend this event. This Institute is for Thinkers and Doers. - for people who know there are no easy answers and who are seeking new ways of thinking and acting. This will be a unique adventure in building a learning community together. The faculty see themselves as a jazz combo who have a definite theme and a flair for improvisation - harmonizing with the participants.”
Jack Pearpoint & Cathy Hollands
Inclusion Press International & The Marsha Forest Centre: Inclusion•Family•Community
Tel: 416-658-5363 Fax: 416-658-5067
E-mail: inclusionpress@inclusion.com
Web: www.inclusion.com

July 18-22, 2005, in Hamilton

Accessibly Yours
Enhancing Environments for Wellness and Occupation
Summer Institute
McMaster University - School of Rehabilitation Science
Click for more


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

Woman wins struggle with Revenue Canada
Shirley Joris of Windsor has just won her appeal against Revenue Canada, arguing successfully that self-employed support workers are not engaged in insurable and pensionable employment while supporting her daughter Shannon who has autism.

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 has hosted a series of six expert policy forums on the transformation of developmental services in Ontario in conjunction with various partners.

  • Specialized Resources
  • Residential Options
  • Citizenship and Advocacy
  • Quality Assurance
  • Funding Models
  • Supporting and Strengthening Families 
Here are links to reports on most of these forums. The first three reports are by Nancy Cherry, our ASPIRE Advocate.

Policy Forum on Citizenship and Advocacy

Policy Forum on Funding Approaches for Developmental Services

Policy Forum on Supporting and Strengthening Families

Policy Forum on Residential Options

Policy Forum on Quality Assurance



"Autism information all
in one place"
The Public Autism Resource & Information Service (PARIS) is a new online service provided and managed by the National Autistic Society (NAS) in Britain.

ODSP Activism & Support Web Site
-easy access to all legislation and directives that directly affect ODSP recipients and applicants.
-an Advocacy center point for challenging ODSP legislation and policy that is unfair, restrictive, unconstitutional, demeaning, punitive, arbitrary, etc...
-a place where ODSP recipients can go to exchange ideas, seek assistance, get support, and find current information on ODSP changes and proposals
-Promoting advocacy efforts, provide information on current campaigns and advocacy groups

Reducing The Risk
Safety Strategies for People who Use AAC, including:
The Speak Up Project: Safeguarding People who use Augmentative Communication from Sexual Abuse/Victimization

Evidence of Harm Discussion List Starts Up
An Evidence of Harm email discussion list has been created in response to the growing interest in the book and the issues it chronicles. Here is the list description:
The purpose
is "to track and discuss the progress of events as told by David Kirby in his book... Loosely, we will try to pick up on events since ... November of 2004. Of keen interest to participants are the issues of government public health negligence and corruption and the various political efforts by parents to end the spectrum of epidemics that is being revealed as mercury poisoning, especially autism. This list is independent of David Kirby or the book publisher, or any commercial interests. Some material will be supplied by the Schafer Autism Report that has not appeared in the newsletter itself. The focus of this group is not vaccines, although it is a core element in these events." Here is how to subscribe (no cost): EOHarm-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Hosts Needed The EOH Discussion list is recruiting hosts. There is not much to this. There is no moderating of messages, aka censorship. But you may have to privately ask anyone being rude to cool it. If they don't you would ask them to leave. You could help keep conversations going, if so inclined. And you could submit interesting, relevant items for discussion. But that's
optional. Let us know: EOHarm-owner@yahoogroups.com

Other relevant lists:
For bio-med techies:
abdm@yahoogroups.com Autism Biomedical Discussion (abmd) is a group of parents and professionals dedicated to the exploration and pursuit of biomedical research and treatments for children with autism. This list has over 2000 members.

On issues of treatment for mercury and support, mostly:
autism-mercury@yahoogroups.com To discuss current issues related to the increasing incidence of autism the potential link between excessive mercury exposure via thimerosal in infant vaccines. Topics include: mercury detoxification ("chelation"), mercury-related issues/news, and
vaccination-related issues/news. Most members are parents of children with autism, aspergers, ADD, ADHD, PDD, PDD-NOS, SID, oppositional defiance disorder, apraxia, speech disorders, and/or other related symptoms. This list is just under 5,000 and is probably the largest autism discussion list.

For vaccinophobes:
http://www.909shot.com The best, level-headed vaccine information website is one by the National Vaccine Information Center. If you are trying to make a decision about whether to vaccinate yourself or your child we hope you find the information on our website helpful in making an informed decision. We recommend that you not only use NVIC's information in making a
decision but also talk to trusted health professionals and consider browsing through other vaccine information web sites, many of which are linked directly from this web site.




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.

A Rose, By Any Other Name...
If you had AS, just what would it "feel" like?
To me it's a rose bush all lavish with blooms,
And although many others do search out the flowers,
There's more to a rose bush than what one assumes.
For one thing, the rose bush is often quite viney,
And needs to be held back or grows out of shape;
But one thing that makes it quite awkward to handle
Is that it has thorns on it's bio landscape.
These thorns are a nuisance, and often cause scratches,
And while many feel they would like them to part,
Those thorns are a part of the rose's own makeup,
And one must take thorns with a feeling of heart;
But lest we forget all the petals and blossoms
That show all the beauty a rose can expose,
The one thing that makes this rose unique in essence,
Is non but the scent that it gives in one's nose.
So, AS is seen as the thorns and the blossoms,
But under the surface, the scent is the key,
And as there are so many types of rose bushes,
The AS is ladened with diversity....
                                            -Brian Henson©2005

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

{return to the OAARSN Bulletin Board}