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13 August 2005


Adult Autism Issues in Waterloo-Wellington, 32, 2005


Education for All
The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy and Numeracy Instruction for Students With Special Education Needs, Kindergarten to
Grade 6
Link for complete report in pdf format

Mother's journal offers early look at child with autism

Tina Fougere of Stoney Creek recorded details of her pregancy and the development of her twins (now 12) one of whom, Nathan, was diagnosed with autism at age 3. The diaries, which also include brain scans and echocardiogram recordings, have been examined as clues to autism,  including possible indications of the condition in a child at seven months, long before typical diagnosis. Researchers, such as Dr Melissa Rutherford of McMaster University can see clear differences between the twins Tasha and Nathan, including language and social development and differences in eye contact and response to their names. Tina Fougere also founded the Canadian National Autism Foundation, and spends hours each day on the phone or e-mail offering advice to parents throughout the country. 



The Age of Autism: New in name only?
A series of articles by Dan Olmsted in 2005 has suggested that autism appeared only in the 1930s and may therefore reflect genetic or enviornmental factors of the 20th century. This idea has provoked a response from Dr Darold A. Treffert, past president of the Wisconsin Medical Society, a psychiatrist at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac, longtime autism researcher, and author of the book "Extraordinary People: Understanding the Savant Syndrome." Dr Treffert points out that Dr. J. Langdon Down in 1887 differentiated, in "developmental" disorders between early onset and late onset (regressive) autism. See posting "Dr. J. Langdon Down and Developmental Disorders" on the savant syndrome website at www.savantsyndrome.com Dr Treffert himself carried out a statewide study on the epidemiology of infantile autism in 1962, and confirmed the figure of 4.8 per 10,000 cases which, like Rutter's in England, is often quoted. He found that in that group only about 25 percent were cases of Kanner's classic autism, while about 25 percent  were cases of late onset, regressive autism. Dr Treffert sums up: "Dr. Down reported regressive autism 125 years ago (based on his 30 years of observations) and, without doubt, autism, like mental retardation, has been around as long as man has been around. Now we need to sort out this condition by its right names, sort it out into its several causations, and gently have "mainstream" medicine and "alternative" medicine come together, work together, respect each other and gradually forge out effective treatment tailored to specific etiologies."

The Autism Myth
Everyone knows this disturbing disorder is reaching epidemic proportions. But all may not be what it seems.
A readable commentary by Graham Lawton in New Scientist.

Complex Gene Interactions Account for Autism Risk
Using a novel analysis of the interactions among related genes, Duke University Medical Center researchers have uncovered some of the first evidence that complex genetic interactions account for autism risk. The Duke team found that the brain mechanism that normally stops or slows nerve impulses contributes to the disease. The team's findings implicate the so-called GABA receptor genes, which are genes that code for key components of "off switches" in the brain's neurons. GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid, is a neurotransmitter – a chemical that one neuron fires at receptors on another neuron to trigger a response – in this case an inhibitory response. GABA receptors are protein switches nestled in nerve cell membranes that are triggered by GABA to cause such inhibition. Importantly, the study found that the GABA brain system most likely exerts its influence via complex gene-gene interactions.
The current findings, and others that might result from the team's new approach, may ultimately point to methods for early diagnosis of autism, and perhaps new autism therapies, according to the researchers.
"Identifying the genes that contribute to cause autism has been challenging," said Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Human Genetics. "One explanation is that many genes are involved, none of which individually may have a major effect." At least ten genes – and possibly as many as 100 – are hypothesized to be involved in autism, she said.

Assault on Autism
An essay in Science News.
"Scientists target drugs and other environmental agents that may play a role.... Environmental agents under scrutiny in autism research include drugs, vaccines, viruses, and poisonous substances such as lead and mercury. Support is growing for the idea that immune system problems in a pregnant woman or developing child set the stage for autism."

Despite Better Training, Disabled Can't Find Work
After two decades... of special education, speech therapy, and training to make [them] employable, most disabled people still face a closed workplace door.
A story from the Miami Herald.
Click to read article--free, but you need to register



Job Posting: Adult Social Group Leader

The Aspergers Society of Ontario is currently seeking an Adult Social Group Leader, to lead and coordinate a community-based social and recreational group in the Greater Toronto Area.  The mission of the Aspergers Society of Ontario is to provide education, resources and support to individuals with Asperger Syndrome, their families, educators, medical and mental health professionals, employers, government and the community, to enable AS individuals to realize their gifts and engage as fully contributing members of the community.
Click for more information

Spectrum Art Shows
Shannon has been working for Kerry's Place in Kingston and surrounding communities to raise Autism Spectrum Disorder Awareness.  She and her team are working to do this through several art shows entitled Spectrum Art. Some have already been held. All the artists participating in the Spectrum Art Show have some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The goal is to demonstrate to the public that individuals with a developmental disability have skills and talents and lives beyond ASD.

Details of the two remaining Spectrum Art Shows are:

Thursday August 18: 9:30am-9:00 pm at the Quinte Mall located at 390 North Front St., Belleville
Tuesday August 30: 5-7pm at the Kingston Military Family Resource Center - as part of the Fun in the Sun BBQ - located at 32 Lundy's Lane

For more information, contact:
Shannon spectrumart@gmail.com
Community Education and Awareness Coordinator
Kerry's Place Autism Services - Kingston, Summer 2005
613-384-7800 www.kerrysplace.org


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

Wednesday, August 17 from 7pm, in Guelph

Workshop with Graeme Treeby of the Special Needs Planning Group
Key question: "How can families plan and act now so that the most resources possible are available to support the good life of our daughter/son after we can no longer do this personally?"
Likely to interest people in Guelph-Wellington, Waterloo Region and surrounding places. Offered free by Guelph Services for the Autistic, but space is limited. Please pre-register now, requesting an invitation and more information. Please send a message to Nancy Cherry <nancy.cherry@sympatico.ca>

The "Special Needs" Planning Group is made up of parents of people with disabilities.

Our focus is to assist families in preparing financial and estate plans that will ensure that their sons or daughters with a disability will enjoy a decent quality of life now and in the future. Our plans make use of Henson Trusts, Wills, Funding Mechanisms like family estates and life insurance programs and Life Plans which are designed to provide for our children after we are gone without affecting entitlement to ODSP benefits.
The SNPG does not charge any fees for our services, which means that everyone can take advantage of our knowledge and expertise no matter what their financial situation.  For further information, please visit our web based resource materials at  www.specialneedsplanning.ca

Thursday August 18: 9:30am-9:00 pm in Belleville
Spectrum Art Show
at the Quinte Mall located at 390 North Front St., Belleville
All the artists participating in the Spectrum Art Show have some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The goal is to demonstrate to the public that individuals with a developmental disability have skills and talents and lives beyond ASD.  For more information, contact: Shannon spectrumart@gmail.com

Sunday, August 28, registration from
Cambridge Chapter of Autism Society Ontario announces its
Second annual golf tournament in support of individuals with autism and their families

Grand Golf & Country Club, 1910 Roseville Rd, RR#2, Cambridge ON N1R 5S3, (519) 623-8811
Fee of $75 per person includes 18 holes of golf, a power cart, buffet luncheon and $20 charitable tax receipt. Please make cheque payable to “Autism Society Ontario–Cambridge Chapter” and mail to 160 Hespeler Road Cambridge, ONN1R 6V7no later than Friday, August 5, 2005.  We are limited to 144 golfers so please register early. For more information: Stacey at (519) 653-8056 thezoo@rogers.com

Tuesday August 30: 5-7pm in Kingston
Spectrum Art Show
Kingston Military Family Resource Center - as part of the Fun in the Sun BBQ - located at 32 Lundy's Lane
All the artists participating in the Spectrum Art Show have some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The goal is to demonstrate to the public that individuals with a developmental disability have skills and talents and lives beyond ASD.  For more information, contact: Shannon spectrumart@gmail.com

September 7 - 8, 2005
, 9am-4pm, Mississauga Convention Center
R.D.I. WORKSHOP "Going to the Heart of Autism"
Introduction to the RDI™ Program (CEU's Available).
Early Bird Registration deadline:
July 22, 2005. http://www.rdiconnect.com/workshops/TorontoCA/
Going to the Heart of Autism:
Remediating Autism through Relationships
Opening Doors to Reciprocal Communication,
Genuine Friendships, & School & Workplace Success

Overview: Based on the latest scientific research, discover how people with Autism, Aspergers and PDD can learn to communicate reciprocally, be genuinely interested in others, and not just tolerate, but enjoy change, transition and going with the flow.
The RDI™ Program is a parent-based, clinical treatment program designed to address the core deficits of autism which impact social communication, relationship building, motivation, critical thinking, abstract language comprehension, problem-solving and executive functioning.
Register online for the workshop:   
http://www.rdiconnect.com/workshops/TorontoCA/ or email: Kristin Adiska at adiska@rdiconnect.com or call toll-free: 1-866-378-6405, ext 119, for more information. Group discounts available.
Visit our web site: http://www.rdiconnect.com/
Steven E Gutstein, Ph.D.SteveGutstein@rdiconnect.com

September 9 - 10, 2005, in Nashua, New Hampshire
The Autism National Committee Conference

Honoring People with Autism
Brochure and Registration
For more conference information, please email Bccutler@aol.com
or call (781) 648-1813

Wednesday, September 14 from 7pm, in Guelph
Workshop with John Lord on Making Citizenship a Reality
The Role of Person-Directed Planning and Individualized Funding
In recent years, citizenship has become a goal for people with disabilities. To be a citizen means to experience self-determination and community. This workshop is designed for people who want to build a good life and community connections with a vulnerable person. With individualized funding growing in importance, the role of facilitation and the importance of building a support plan will also be explored.
Workshop leader is John Lord, who was the keynote speaker at the recent Guelph Conference on Creative Supports. This workshop will build on his speech at that event and give people ample opportunity to ask questions, and work with others on issues of common concern.
John Lord is a researcher, consultant, and parent from Kitchener-Waterloo. Some of John's recent publications on individualized funding can be viewed at www.individualizedfunding.ca

Likely to interest people in Guelph-Wellington, Waterloo Region and surrounding places. The workshop is offered free, but space is limited. Please pre-register now, requesting an invitation and more information. Please send a message to Nancy Cherry <nancy.cherry@sympatico.ca>

September 16 - 18th, 2005

MiniDAN! (Defeat Autism Now!)
Biomedical Treatments for Autism
2-day Parent and Practitioner workshop featuring
Dr Elizabeth Mumper, Dr Nancy O'Hara, Maureen McDonnell RN.
Guest Speaker - Dr Andrew Wakefield
Holiday Inn Select Airport, Toronto, Canada
visit www.autismcanada.org or www.danconference.com for more information 

Thursday September 22, 2005, in North York
Official launch of Revel in the Light”
The story of Rebecca Beayni, produced by Masterworks Productions
Click for more information about premiere
Click for order form (either video or DVD)

Monday, September 26, 2005, 1-4pm, in Waterloo
Moving Beyond the “Circle of Friends”:  A New Approach to Inclusion
by Shawna Bailey, B.A. (Psyc). Member of The
Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis.
(705) 791-0475  Click for more

September 27, 2005
at 7 00pm, in Ottawa
First general meeting of Families Matters Co-op in Board Room of Total Communication Environment (TCE), Unit #5, 203 Colonnade Road S.
Click for more details

October 15, in Pickering, all day
Families for a Secure Future and Durham Family Network offer
Creating a Home of One's Own
Morning of story telling, afternoon of small group discussions.
Click for more and how to register

October 16, in Hillsburgh, all day
Families for a Secure Future offers
Creating a Home of One's Own
Morning of story telling, afternoon of small group discussions.
Click for information and how to register

October 20-23, 2005, in Toronto

Come to Your Senses....
From Theory & Research To Practice: Sensory Therapy & Disabilities
An International Conference for professionals, parents, caregivers & consumers
Presented by Muki Baum Association.

Program includes 37 presenters from 8 countries and a special presentation by Dr Oliver Sacks.

Friday October 21, 2005, 9:30am-4pm
Regional Support Associates present
"Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Mental Health & Behavioural Issues"
Best Western Lamplighter Inn, London, Ontario
Presenters: J. Dale Munro, MSW, RSW, FAAMR and Liliian Burke, PhD., C.Psych.
Click for more information about RSA
including its Video Conferencing service to the Southwest Region

November 1-2, in Duluth, MN

DHD, Medication and Behavioral Strategies in Autism Spectrum Disorder
November 1
Dr. Luke Tsai - ADHD and Medications: Gain crucial knowledge about standard medication treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disorders in layman's" terminology. Learn the definition and diagnostic criteria of ADHD, and how to access the disorder. Dr. Tsai will give up-to-date reviews of medication and ADHD research in autism, and talk about the prevalence of ADHD, both in neurotypical and ASD populations. Medical/non-medical interventions for ADHD will be discussed in detail. Dr. Tsai is a professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan, the Director of the UM Developmental Disorders Clinic and one of our favorite speakers! 
November 2
Maria Bird-West Wheeler - Behavior Strategies: Increase your understanding of the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that impact behavior and can foster communication breakdowns and feelings of being overwhelmed. A must attend course for parents, teachers and therapists! Learn how to address both the social and sensory needs of an individual with practical use-now solutions. Topics include: Effective Behavior Interventions, Visual Supports for Maximizing Communication and Minimizing Confusion, and Preventing and Dealing with Shutdowns and Meltdowns.
For information and registration, see the Conferences page at Spectrum Training website


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

McGuinty Government Helping More Children With Severe Special Needs

The government is providing an additional $10 million to respond to the needs of families in crisis and provide specialized supports where they are needed most.  The extra funding comes on top of more than $100 million in new investments that have begun to make a difference for children and youth with special needs across the province.  This includes building children's treatment centres in parts of the province that didn't have one and providing more services locally through more than 200 new and expanded community mental health programs. 

"We are acting on the advice of community planning teams across the province that have  first-hand knowledge of services for special needs children and families," said Bountrogianni.   "The money will help provide a combination of residential treatment and other specialized supports for children and youth who urgently require care."

Community planning teams made up of special needs service providers, parents and other stakeholders were established by the ministry in April to recommend strategies to expand and improve services so more children and youth can get help in their home communities.  The government is also conducting a review of the residential service system across all sectors to determine what specific measures are needed to improve that system for children, youth and families across the province.



"As parents of children who are diagnosed with AS, we understand how essential is it that families of children diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and related disorders, educators who teach children with AS,  professionals  working with individuals diagnosed with AS,  and individuals with AS who are seeking support, have access to information.   Although recently reminded that there is no oasis or paradise for those with Asperger Syndrome,  we sincerely hope that they,  along with parents and professionals, will find a bit of shade and support via the information presented and links available at this site."
See Important News - Summer 2005



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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