ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM 
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK 
NEWS BULLETIN

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OAARSN NEWS BULLETIN
 
17 January 2006

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AUTISM IN CANADA


Featuring Autism during the Canadian Federal Election
Click to read Autism Society Canada's letter to the leaders of the five political parties, asking their position on important issues facing our community.
Read Responses Received to Date:
Response from the New Democratic Party
Response from the Bloc Québécois
Response from the Liberal Party
Response from the Conservative Party

Andrew Kavchak of Ottawa
urges everyone:

"During this federal election, let's make our vote count! Here are a number of things that you can do! The more people take up the opportunity the more our community will benefit.
First, as many of you know, a Private Members' Bill, C-459, was tabled in the House of Commons on November 28, 2005, which would amend the Canada Health Act to include autism treatment in Medicare. This Bill will most likely be re-introduced in the House in the next Parliament and it would be extremely helpful if our community could build support for this Bill during the election. Accordingly, a "Bill C-459 Autism Flyer" has been developed and is available at the location on the web: http://featbc.org/downloads/Bill_C459.pdf
Please download the form and keep several copies at your door. When political candidates come to ask for your vote, please ask them to sign the flyer to indicate their support for autism treatment in Medicare. Please also send the form to the candidates in your riding and ask them to sign it and send it back to you.

John Toft of the Families Matter Co-operative Inc
"for and about persons with developmental disabilities in the Ottawa region" emailed “Candidate Questions” to Candidates in the Federal Election in local Ottawa Ridings. The responses received to date are posted on the Families Matter Co-op website, available to any interested person to review.  

The questions focused on issues affecting persons with developmental disabilities such as housing, employment and in-home supports. Responses from Conservative, Liberal and NDP Candidates/Parties are posted as well as responses from some Independent Candidates and the Progressive Canadian Party.

While the answers are from local Ottawa Candidates, their responses may reflect their Parties in general and so might be of value to a wider audience in being one more influence in affecting voter decisions. People are welcome to visit the Families Matter Co-operative at www.familiesmattercoop.ca to compare and contrast the Candidate responses.


Tax proposal would benefit severely disabled adults
Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is promoting an RRSP-style program to provide for the severely disabled who are financially dependent. In other words, they want the taxman to encourage savings for the care of disabled children after the parents die.
Read research on the disability savings plan
Sign a petition to create a Disability Savings Plan


“First Disability-Related Announcement in the 2006 Election Campaign”

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) are joined by the Canadian Abilities Foundation (CAF) and many other national disability organizations in welcoming and supporting the first disability-specific announcement in the 2006 election campaign.
 
In a joint release last week, CCD and CACL announced that Prime Minister Paul Martin had unveiled the Liberal Party's commitment to an inclusive and accessible Canada, including the development of a 10-year agenda with a focus on disability supports. Canadians with disabilities, their families and the disability community applaud the strength of this commitment to overcome core issues faced by persons with disabilities, including poverty and exclusion from Canadian society.
 
Included in the announcements were specific commitments pertaining to support for Canadians with disabilities, families and caregivers. Significantly, a commitment to the Disability Savings Plan proposed by the Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), widely supported by the disability community, has been included in the overall strategy.
 
CAF encourages Canadians with disabilities and their families to consider these long-fought-for advances when dialoguing with the political contenders in the upcoming election. Canadians with disabilities constitute a considerable portion of eligible voters – and the disability community CAN make a difference on Election Day.
 
Additional information on this first disability-specific strategy can be obtained by visiting: http://www.liberal.ca/news_e.aspx?id=11321
 
Also in election news, for the first time in a federal election, All-Candidates Meetings accessible to people with disabilities, including hearing disabilities, are being held in five Ontario ridings. The Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) has invited candidates in the ridings of St. Paul's (Toronto), Ottawa South, Newmarket-Aurora, Hamilton Centre and Sault Ste. Marie to address their constituents with the provision of sign language interpreting, real-time captioning/computerized notetaking, assistive listening devices, deaf-blind intervening services and attendant services.
 
CAF strongly urges people with disabilities and their networks to make sure that their voices are heard on Election Day!

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GENERAL AUTISM NEWS

EU survey to go ahead on autism levels
A major survey on autism is to be carried out across European Union member states to see if the condition is reaching epidemic levels. Disability rights campaigner and MEP Kathy Sinnott said the European Autism Information System (EAIS) project, which has €480,000 in EU Commission funding, will discover how common the condition is.

Utah researchers confirm chromosome may harbor autism gene
Using technology that allows DNA from thousands of genes to be collected and surveyed on a 3 x 1½-inch chip, University of Utah medical researchers have confirmed that a region on a single chromosome probably harbors a gene that causes autism. The researchers at the U School of Medicine made the finding by tracing variations in the DNA of an extended Utah family that has a high occurrence of the disorder and whose members are descended from one couple.

The Age of Autism: Gold Standards
Dan Olmsted, continuing his series of columns on the roots and rise of autism, discusses the publication of a paper in 2002 in the International Journal of Neuroscience, that suggests gold salts -- the treatment that may have prompted improvement in the first child ever diagnosed with autism -- can affect mental conditions.
However....please read:
The Age of Autism: Red flag on gold salts
The Age of Autism: CDC probes vaccines

Autism: An Epidemic Is Finally Acknowledged
An article about the idea that 2005 may have been the turning-point in the debate between parents of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) children and the US government, which has long denied an autism epidemic exists.

100 families with two or more children with autism sought for genetics study
The "children" sought for this University of Washington research project may be of adult age.

Dr. Phil's show on Asperger Syndrome on Tuesday, Jan 17th.
One of the families featured is from Ohio and includes a 15-year-old teenager with ASD.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ONTARIO

Telecommunications in AAC

Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre, in partnership with Bell Canada, is currently exploring the role of telecommunications in AAC. We are seeking AAC consumers to participate in a half-day focus group to be
held in the afternoon on
February 3, 2006 at a Bell facility in downtown Toronto.

1. We are seeking AAC consumers who meet these criteria:
- They are "active" communicators.
- They are capable of communicating (with a facilitator, if needed) in a group situation of 6 to 12 people.
- They use high and/or low tech communication strategies on a daily basis.
- They have at least 1 year of experience using their current communication strategy.
- They are adults, or youth/teens (14-21 yrs), who are interested in access to telephony, or other forms of telecommunication.
- Ideally, the adults are in an independent living situation.

2. We are also seeking parents of children who are AAC consumers.
Interested candidates may contact me directly to express their interest in the upcoming focus group. Please feel free to call or send email messages. Thank you so much for your help. (Expenses for transportation and attendant care will be covered for those who are selected to participate.)

Rose Nishiyama
Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre
e-mail: rnishiyama@bloorviewmacmillan.on.ca
Tel: 416-425-6220, x3534
Fax: 416-425-1634

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ANNOUNCEMENTS OF EVENTS

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

Please Note:
Geneva Centre for Autism Toronto Calendar of Training Events
Click on title for Fall and Winter 2005-2006.
Click to register online
For questions, contact Event Coordinator Claire Shave at Ext. 235
Tel: (416) 322-7877
Toll Free: 1-866-Geneva-9
Fax: (416) 322-5894 or cshave@autism.net

Autism One Radio Schedule Jan 17 – Jan 20 Dr. Pierre Marois Jan 17
A Worldwide, Web-Based Radio Station for the Care, Treatment, and Recovery
of Children with Autism
http://www.autismone.org/radio

January 6, 16 and 30, 2006
, 6:30-9:30pm, in Whitby
Gentle Teaching: a three-part introductory workshop series
led by Felicia Jervis
Gentle teaching creates a non-violent culture that focuses on four primary goals: teaching the person to feel loved, loving, safe and engaged.
Sponsored by Durham Association for Family Respite. $5 donation appreciated
Contact and RSVP: Joanne Partridge at phone 905-427-3541 X 304


February 3-5, 2006, in London
Messengers of Hope: a youth conference with Jean Vanier
  • Gather to share & celebrate initiatives of hope
  • Workshops in the spirit of mutuality, peace & action
  • Designed for diverse youth ages 16 – 30
  • Seminars by leading Canadian humanitarians
  • Creative expression through music and art
  • Offered by L'Arche London at King's University College, London, Ontario.
  • Fee: $75 per person. Click on title for more and to register

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BOOKS, WEBSITES AND OTHER RESOURCES

DOOR 2 Adulthood
During the past two years, we have kept you posted with the planning of this valuable resource. You are invited to check it out now, for your own use and enjoyment, or to recommend to to others. Please also ensure that your favourite transition services, programs and resources are included. Click here for an alphabetical list of
about 240 services and resources about the transition to adulthood in Ontario that have been entered so far. If you notice anything that should be included, please email e-chat@ablelink.org
Yani Hamdani
Project Coordinator
DOOR 2 Adulthood Project
416-425-6220, x 3212


Just published: two accounts of living with autism through childhood and adulthood that are compelling reads.
The road trip: life with autism, by Gloria Pearson-Vasey and J. Kevin Vasey (Ottawa: Novalis, 2005). ISBN 2-89507-603-0. We highly recommend this new book by an Ontario adult now in his thirties and his mother.

A Different Road, by Lauren Hayes (2005) is a mother's story of "Will" who was born in the mid-1950s in the US South, and lived with the symptoms of "classic" autistic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. ISBN: 1-4196-0815-0

To be published in April 2006
Autism and the God Connection: Redefining the Autistic Experience Through Extraordinary Accounts of Spiritual Giftedness
(Sourcebooks, Inc.) is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com at the discounted price of $10.17.To learn more about the book, view its cover art, and read the advance praise it's garnered from nationally-noted authors, researchers and others, please visit http://www.williamstillman.com/ and click on the "Bill's Books" section.  This page also links directly to the Amazon ordering page for the book.


Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism

Often those with autism/Asperger's suffer socially and professionally because social cues and perceptions hinder their lives. This enlightening and thought-provoking book by two of the leading minds in the field, Temple Grandin and Sean Barron, who themselves have been diagnosed with autism, educates both those on the spectrum and their caregivers. Certain to become a classic, Temple and Sean lead you through their mistakes socially and ways they found to improve their lives. Click on title for more and to order.

Kitchener Public Library's Autism Collection
Kitchener Public Library established an Autism Collection two years ago, with generous
support from Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services. Read this update about the Autism Collection

Click on the following URL "hot key" to reach a listing in title order of all the books, videos etc in KPL's remarkable Autism Collection. Search KPL Autism Collection
You can then use the Sort/Limit button on the top of the page to narrow down to what they are really looking for – for example the author’s name, or the date order - so all the new
items
come to the top, or limit to video or DVD, etc.

Creative Supports for Vulnerable Citizens

Audio and video recordings of the Guelph Spring Conference in April 2005 have been edited into:
-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

Contents include the keynote address by John Lord on “Creative Supports that Work: Values, Principles and Processes” and John's concluding facilitated discussion, and presentations in the four
concurrent 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.”
Information about the various organizations from all over southern
Ontario that presented displays is included in the book.

The videotape and book have been produced by Guelph Services for the Autistic, which thanks 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. Click for more details and order form

Books Available from Autism Today 
http://www.autismtoday.com/store-start.asp

"Asperger's Syndrome and High Achievement: Some Very Remarkable People"
Author: Ioan James. $27.95 CDN

Famous figures from the past whose behaviour suggests they may have had autism, a disorder that was not defined until the mid-20th century. James looks at the lives of 20 individuals - scientists, artists, politicians and philosophers - examining in detail their interests, successes, indifferences and shortcomings. Among the profiles are those of mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell, who wondered in his autobiography how he managed to hurt the people around him quite without meaning to; biologist Alfred Kinsey, who excelled in academia but was ill at ease in social situations; and the writer Patricia Highsmith, who had very definite likes (fountain pens and absence of noise) and dislikes (television and four-course meals). From Albert Einstein to Philip of Spain, these intriguing individuals all showed clear evidence of autistic traits.

"Asperger's Syndrome and Sexuality: From Adolescence through Adulthood"
Author: Isabelle Hénault, Foreword: by Tony Attwood. $31.95 CDN

Playing the dating game is often tricky: all the more so for individuals with Asperger Syndrome. How do AS adolescents and their families cope with sexual feelings and behaviour? What help can be given if a man with AS oversteps the mark in expressing his sexuality? How do people with AS deal with intimacy and communication in sexual relationships?  In this comprehensive and unique guide, Isabelle Hénault delivers practical information and advice on issues ranging from puberty and sexual development, gender identity disorders, couples' therapy to guidelines for sex education programs and maintaining sexual boundaries. This book will prove indispensable to parents, teachers, counsellors and individuals with AS themselves.


"Coming Out Asperger: Diagnosis, Disclosure and Self-Confidence"
Edited by Dinah Murray. $27.95 CDN

Coming Out Asperger explores the complexity of diagnosis for Asperger Syndrome, the drawbacks and benefits of disclosing a diagnosis of a 'hidden disability,' and how this impinges on self-esteem. The contributors include some of the best-known and most exciting writers in the field of Asperger Syndrome (AS) today, and include individuals on the autism spectrum, parents and professionals. The broad range of the chapters, which draw on anecdotal, professional and research-based evidence, make this book a comprehensive and highly original consideration of the implications of an AS diagnosis. The ever-difficult question of who to tell and when once a diagnosis has been confirmed is discussed in great depth. Liane Holliday Willey and Stephen Shore examine the dynamics of disclosure, its risks and the possible effect on self-confidence. Jacqui Jackson looks at how a diagnosis impacts upon family life. Tony Attwood provides a clinician's view of diagnosing adults, and Lynne Moxon, Wendy Lawson, Dora Georgiou and Jane Meyerding discuss adult issues surrounding disclosure, including how to deal with relationships and sexuality, and disclosure in the workplace, as well as social and disability issues.

A unique and fascinating insight into the important issue of diagnosis disclosure, this book is an essential guide for people with AS, parents, teachers, professionals and all those who have ever felt confused about revealing a personal issue.


"Creative Expressive Activities and Asperger's Syndrome"

Author: Judith Martinovich ISBN-10: 1-84310-812-7 $27.95 CDN

Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) benefit from a positive, affirming support of their individuality. This forward-looking book focuses on building individual strengths and resilience, rather than modifying perceived weaknesses, through individualized therapy within a group context.

Integrating psychological and educational theory with a variety of creative therapies, Judith Martinovich combines activities such as art making, drama, music, puppetry, yoga and photography with conventional cognitive-behavioural interventions to support individuals with AS. The different activities complement and reinforce each other and are designed to address specific traits of the autism spectrum to aid skills development. Although created primarily for use with adolescents and young adults, the practical and versatile activities can be adapted for different age and skill levels, objectives and settings. Informed by contemporary research, they meet the objectives of a framework of principles drawn from Positive Psychology and Social and Emotional Learning. Creative Expressive Activities and Asperger's Syndrome is a comprehensive resource for parents as well as teachers, social workers, psychologists and arts therapists who wish to link therapeutic goals with creative activities for people with or without Asperger's Syndrome.

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FROM THE FRONT LINES: 

CALLING FOR HELP AND SHARING EXPERIENCES

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


WrongPlanet.net
Alexander Plank is a student who runs an  international web community called WrongPlanet.net for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome and  Autism. The site is a large and good resource for  people on the spectrum. There was even an article about Alexander and his site  in the Washington Post Health Section! And he was also interviewed on Good  Morning America. 


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