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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.


28 August 2005



The Age of Autism: Case 1 revisited
The first person ever diagnosed with autism by Leo Kanner lived in a small town in Mississippi. He still does. "Donald T." is now 71, and after a "miraculous response" to medical treatment at age 12, he appears to have recovered significantly since his original diagnosis as a 5-year-old. His brother dates his dramatic improvement to treatment with gold salts in 1947, after he had come down with an uncontrollable fever, stopped eating and had severe joint pain and stiffness that was finally diagnosed as juvenile arthritis, a rare autoimmune condition. Such problems occur when the body's own defense mechanisms go haywire, in this case causing inflammation that was destroying his joints. "Donald T." is the only one of the eleven in the first group diagnosed autistic by Leo Kanner to have had a fairly normal life.

The Age of Autism: Why would treatment with gold help someone with autism?
A discussion of possible explanations of the dramatic improvement noted in the previous item.

A Mother's Success
A website that includes a series of interviews with
Mrs Ramamani Ravi of India about her son Niranjan (now 20) and how she helped him to cope with his autism and to learn.

Group builds nationwide playground network to serve disabled
Some 80 playgrounds have opened under the sponsorship of the Connecticut-based National Center for Boundless Playgrounds. Boundless Playgrounds, designed so that children with disabilities and those without can play together, can be found in 21 states and in Orangeville, Ontario. There are features designed to help those with visual, motor and attention disabilities. A quiet area underneath a play unit for the youngest children aims to give those with autism a retreat from the bustle overhead. Hexagonal stools of various heights give those with Down syndrome a chance to strengthen their balancing skills. And rubber mats let caregivers as well as children who use wheelchairs and walkers get right up to the equipment. "The philosophy is everybody wants to play together," Midford said. "The bottom line is everybody can play together. ... On a Boundless Playground, not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something." Another account

Course about autism and product design at Berkeley
An experimental course in which students will design products for people with autism is being offered this fall at the University of California, Berkeley, and is one of several new classes in the interdisciplinary
Disabilities Studies program that critically examine the experiences of disabled people.

New learning centre for young adults with autism in Scotland
The National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK's leading charity for people with autism, has announced the development of a new Senior Campus and Continuing Education Centre at NAS Daldorch House School in Catrine, East Ayrshire. The Senior Campus (with 27 residential and 8 day spaces) will be the first of its kind in Scotland, and will benefit young people with autism from across the country. It will provide year-round residential education and care facilities for young adults with autism and complex needs aged 16 to 21 years.

A diploma closer to inclusion
The inspiring story of Joshua Soloman who just graduated from Duke University and is continuing to study for PhD in genetics. Since his diagnosis 20 years ago with high-functioning autism, Asperger's, and hyperlexia, his mother has a member of Coalition of Inclusion Advocates, to work for special needs children being included in regular education classrooms.


Creative Supports for Vulnerable Citizens

A conference on this theme was organized by Guelph Services for the Autistic on April 29, 2005. More than 180 people joined in a full and rich program that opened with a keynote address by John Lord on “Creative Supports that Work: Values, Principles and Processes.”  Then there were four parallel workshops:
Judith Snow on “Building Supports with Individuals”
Barbara Leavitt on “From Housing to Creating My Home”
Peggy Hutchison on “Building Meaningful Supports for Work and Recreation Experiences”
Marlyn Shervill, Alice Quinlan and Michelle Friesen on “How Families and Communities
Can Make Creative Options Work: The Windsor-Essex Experience”
Throughout the day there were many displays by organizations from all over southern Ontario. Several creative initiatives were featured in the early afternoon session. John Lord gathered up the day’s ideas and strategies in a final plenary session, so that we could all “go home with awareness.”

We believe it is vital to build on what was learned at the Guelph conference. Many people noted that the scope of the conference was exactly what they needed. There was a heavy demand for places at the conference:  if there had been space, we could have registered twice as many participants. Many were interested in more than one workshop topic, and wished there could have been time to take part in two or more instead of just one. We've heard from people all over Ontario who were unable to attend on April 29, but want to be kept informed of resources coming out of the conference.

we have edited the audio and video recordings that were made of the conference sessions, and now announce:
-a summary videotape of the essence and highlights of the conference

-a print publication of edited text transcripts of the presentations and of the displays
Thanks to Kerry's Place Autism Services and the Community Mental Health Clinic in Guelph for grants to help us make these resources available at modest cost.
1. Creative Supports for Vulnerable Citizens: edited videotape summary of highlights
49 minutes, VHS format, professionally recorded and edited.
Special offer (for prepaid orders received by September 14, 2005): $22.50 plus $7.50 if postage and packing required)

2. Creative Supports for Vulnerable Citizens: Papers from the Guelph Spring Conference, April 2005
An 80-page book containing edited text with illustrations of the conference presentations
Special offer (prepaid orders received by September 14, 2005:
$15 plus $5 if p&p required)

3. Special Combo offer: Video and book together
(for prepaid orders received by
September 14, 2005): $35 plus $10 for postage and packing)

Click for more details and order form


is a respite service sponsored by the Dunbarton-Fairport United Church of Pickering. It runs Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the church. 

FOOTPRINTS strives to provide a happy, safe environment for children to age 13 who have autism. Staffed by a Coordinator and volunteers, its activities are tailored to the interests of each child. To make the time spent at FOOTPRINTS as enjoyable as possible, FOOTPRINTS has gathered together a wide range of specially designed materials and equipment. Volunteers are critical, offering one to one attention to each of the 3 children attending each session. FOOTPRINTS’ Coordinator matches a volunteer to each child for each session. The Coordinator also ensures the volunteers are trained in the skills needed to assist and support the children while ensuring their physical welfare.

While children are participating in activities at FOOTPRINTS, their parents have the opportunity to do other things. These may include giving time to other children in the family, household chores, or a short period of “down-time” from the ongoing demands of supporting a child with significant needs. Cost to families is $5 per  hour.

FOOTPRINTS is guided by a Steering Committee appointed by the church. The Steering Committee is now working to establish FOOTPRINTS future direction. This will be set out in a multi-year plan developed with input from key stakeholders, especially families and community service organizations. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is funding this planning initiative. The Committee is interested to know if anything like Footprints is offered in other communities in Ontario for children with autism. Please reply to gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca

Bach Flower Therapy and Autism
One of our network members asks if anyone in Canada has had good experience with this form of therapy? Please let us know at gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca and we'll pass the message along.

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 remaining Spectrum Art Show are:

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

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. Guelph Services for the Autistic offers this workshop without charge to anyone who is interested, 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 

September 17, 2005
, in Toronto
Kerry’s Place Autism Services AGM in the afternoon, at The Columbus Centre, preceded by morning presentation on “Personal Victories – Conceive, Believe and Achieve”, facilitated by Judith Snow and involving a number of individuals supported by KPAS.

Link for full details and to register

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 information and to register

October 16, in Erin, all day
Families for a Secure Future offers
Creating a Home of One's Own
Morning of story telling, afternoon of small group discussions.
Link for more 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 2, in Guelph, from 7pm
Capacity Assessments under Ontario's Substitute Decisions Act
presentation by Elaine Atchison, Senior Program Co-ordinator for the Capacity Assessment Office (CAO), Ontario Ministry of Attorney General.
How families and friends need to plan for how decisions will be made by/for vulnerable persons regarding their property and personal care.
"Capacity Assessments are legal assessments of a person’s capacity to understand information that is relevant to making a decision or to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision or a lack of decision regarding their property (finances) and/or any of the six domains of personal care (health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene or safety)....
"A basic tenet of Ontario's SDA is that guardianship should be a last resort when nothing short of guardianship will meet the decisional needs of an incapable person."
Likely to interest people in Guelph-Wellington, Waterloo Region and surrounding places.
Guelph Services for the Autistic sponsors this workshop, free to anyone who is interested, but space is limited. Please pre-register now, requesting an invitation and more information. Please send a message to Nancy Cherry

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



Thanks to Brian Henson for finding and recommending these free programs.

Google Earth
Google Earth is a fabulous free program on the Internet that can give a vast array of views of the earth from outer space, from a whole continent right down to a local street intersection.
Please note that this is quite a large program, and takes quite a lot of time to download. It does require you to be connected to the Internet to operate the program.
This is the link to the web page, from which the program "Google Earth" can be downloaded, free, with the download button in the upper right side of the page:

Virtual Piano

Play tunes on up to 100 instruments, using a freeware computer program.
Here is the download link for the program "Virtual Piano", which 
is in zip format. When it is downloaded and unzipped, it is in an executible format.
Once opened, the small window appears asking the user what instrument [or other sound] is
to be played. It even has a bird tweat, and applause.
Once selected, the lowest line on the keyboard [z-/] is like the lower notes of the instrument,
with the next line[a-'] being the sharps and flats of the lower notes.
The third line of the keyboard [q-p] is like the upper notes of the instrument,
with the line above it [`-=] as the sharps and flats of that line.

For example, these are the basic notes for the "Ode to Joy" that is based on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.


Brian has transcribed about 20 other tunes, which he is willing to share.  If you are interested, please ask us about them.




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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