ONTARIO ADULT AUTISM 
RESEARCH AND SUPPORT NETWORK 
NEWS BULLETIN

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OAARSN NEWS BULLETIN
 
23 February 2006

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GENERAL AUTISM NEWS



Expert Panel Dispels the Many Myths of Autism
A panel of autism experts at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has presented reports which comment on the assumptions about the developmental disability. The experts, a psychologist, an epidemiologist, a psychiatrist and a physician, say that people with autism are more intelligent and able to function better than previously believed, but mistrust of doctors, biased tests and the Internet have meant myths abound regarding the condition.
The Globe and Mail's report on this news
focuses on Canadian research by Dr Laurent Mottron and Michelle Dawson who is autistic. "Simply put, the researchers believe that the standard IQ test — formally known as the Wechsler scales — does not accurately measure the intelligence of autistics. They think a more appropriate measure of intelligence is another accepted test, Raven's Progressive Matrices. The principal difference between the Wechsler test depends much more heavily on oral questions, which many autistics struggle to complete; the Raven test, on the other hand, involves much more abstract reasoning, where autistics can excel.”

Dr Mottron argues that it has enormous practical implications at a time when as many as one in every 200 children are considered autistic.“If we classify children as intellectually deficient then that is how they will be treated. They will be denied a host of opportunities,” he said. He cites the example of one of the research subjects who scored so poorly on the Wechsler that he was deemed mentally retarded (IQ of less than 70), but on his Raven test he scored in the 94th percentile range — the intelligence level of a university student.

Links to some other accounts:

The Case of Mistaken IQ
English translation of account in Le Devoir
Autistic Intelligence Inaccurately Measured
Comment by Charles Fox on the news report above in a Special Education blog



MMR Vaccine, Thimerosal and Regressive or Late Onset Autism

(“Autistic Enterocolitis”) A Review of the Evidence for a Link Between Vaccination and Regressive Autism (March 2006). ”An electronic book from David Thrower with a thorough summary compilation and clear annotation on the science and politics of the spectrum of disorders labeled autism.”
Click to download the whole book


News from the National Autism Society (UK)

Asperger achievers - tell us your story!
2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hans Asperger and has been named International Asperger Year. The National Autism Society (UK) is marking the event by celebrating the achievements of people with Asperger's.

Art and autism
The Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge has announced its first autism research conference and and a special event, Art and autism, which will highlight the talents of people with autism for art and music.



Gardening and Sculpture Clubs for People with Autism
Memory Gardens in London (UK) will be running several courses based around gardening and the natural environment for children and adults with autism in 2006.




Brief research notes

Protein molecule isolated as neurodegenerative drug target
"Researchers have isolated a protein molecule that may hold the key to learning and memory disorders that have been linked with autism. By isolating this potential drug target, new therapies for diseases in which synapses either fail or proliferate out of control could be produced."

      Learning and memory
stimulated by gut hormone
“Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have found evidence that a hormone produced in the stomach directly stimulates the higher brain functions of spatial learning and memory development, and further uggests that we may learn best on an empty stomach. Published in the February 19 online issue of Nature Neuroscience by investigators at Yale and other institutes, the study showed that the hormone ghrelin, produced in the stomach and previously associated with growth hormone release and appetite, has a direct, rapid and powerful influence on the hippocampus, a higher brain region critical for learning and memory.”

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR ONTARIO

Locating Technology Project announced

A collaborative project between the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) is related to gaining a better understanding of the complex realities of using locating technology with citizens who are at risk of wandering and subsequently becoming lost. The project is being undertaken through Accessibly Yours (AY), the School’s consultation arm. AY aims to enhance environments for the purpose of facilitating individuals in their search for living well and participating in their communities.  

The project aims to assist caregivers who care for people who have Alzheimer’s disease, acquired brain injury, a developmental disability, or autism. The study is exploring the role of technological devices, which could simply be a small bracelet or cell phone. If the caregiver identifies the person for whom they care is lost, they could potentially use the locating technology to find out the person’s location.

Click on the title to read more. Volunteers to test the various devices and systems are invited to contact either Mehdi Tabatabaeinia (905) 525-9140 extension 22047 or Nicole Grochowina at ext 26896.

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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



SPECIAL EARLY ANNOUNCEMENT

October 25, 26, 27, 2006, in Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Autism 2006 - Geneva Centre for Autism International Symposium

Complete program now available on our website.

Go to www.autism.net now to view this year's exciting conference program
including speakers from around the world.

The comprehensive agenda includes presentations on the latest intervention and research in autism and neurology, biomedical interventions, positive behavioural intervention, communication, social skills, sensory processing disorders, anger management, adolescents, adults/employment, first hand accounts, Aspergerís disorder, cognitive behaviour therapy, intensive behavioural intervention, OCD and much more.

Don't miss this international exhibit hall, art gallery and remarkable opening ceremony featuring the talents of gifted individuals with ASD.

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Autism One Radio Schedule
A Worldwide, Web-Based Radio Station for the Care, Treatment, and Recovery
of Children with Autism  http://www.autismone.org/radio
Includes:
1. Special tribute to Alan Clark, MD on
Sunday, February 26th at 3pm ET.
Friends and colleagues share their thoughts and memories about Alan Clark, MD. Dr. Clark, co-founder and Medical Director of NoMercury, also served on the scientific advisory boards of SafeMinds and the National Autism Association.

2. Monday, February 27th: 12:30–1pm ET Emily Iland: Growing Up with Autism: What to Expect as your child or loved one with autism grows up, new issues and challenges emerge. Emily Iland and her expert guests will help you know what to expect at different ages and stages and share ideas to meet the challenges. Learn about strategies, programs and options for older elementary-aged children, teens and adults. Create an informed plan for the future.

      

February 25, 2006, in Guelph

Agency Information Fair for families and individuals with disabilities
in partnership with Public and Catholic School Boards and Family Counselling & Support Services Guelph-Wellington. Please note location has been changed to Our Lady of Lourdes High School on Westmount Road. Click for more details


March 8 & 9, 2006, in London
Family Service London and THE ALLIANCE welcome
John O'Brien:
Renewing Our Vision and Commitment for Person-Centered Community Supports
Click for brochure with full information


March 29, 2006, evening, in Owen Sound
Shirley Sutton OT offers a workshop on sensory integration strategies for parents and educators.
For more details, contact
Laura Walton-Clouston by email at register-here@rogers.com or phone at 705-445-0695. Click for general information about Shirley's OT practice


April 4, 2006, 5-8pm, in Kitchener
Community Connections 2006:
Information for People with Disabilities in the Region of Waterloo
St Mary's High School, 1500 Block Line Road, Kitchener
Click for flyer


April 8, 2006, in Arthur (North Wellington County)
Agency Information Fair for families and individuals with disabilities
in partnership with Public and Catholic School Boards and Family Counselling & Support Services Guelph-Wellington.
Click for more details


April 18, 2006, evening: in Collingwood
Shirley Sutton OT offers a workshop on sensory integration strategies for parents and educators.
For more details, contact Laura Walton-Clouston by email at register-here@rogers.com or phone at 705-445-0695. Click for general information about Shirley's OT practice


April 24, 25, 26, 2006, in Niagara Falls

Autism Spectrum Disorders 2nd Annual Provincial Conference
Where Knowledge Takes Flight
Sheraton Fallsview Hotel and Conference Centre
Click on title for program and registration information.



April 27, 2006, 2-8pm, in Milton
Halton Showcase 2006: A Resource Fair for People with Disabilities
Find answers to these questions and others:
I want a job!  What options are  available  in my community?
Where do I find recreation programs ?
Living options:  supportive/Independent ?
How do I access services and supports ?
Click for more details



May 5-7, 2006, in Windsor

Achieving True Inclusion: Living Outside the Box

Family Alliance Ontario/Integration Action for Inclusion annual conference
Friday May 5 (evening), Saturday May 6 (all day) and Sunday May 7 (morning).
We welcome siblings, parents, whole families and friends.

More information to come, or check the Family Alliance Ontario website at www.family-alliance.com to register online in the future.   



May 15-16, in Hamilton
Stages of Autism: Adolescence and Beyond
A major two-day conference in the Hamilton Convention Centre, featuring Dr Peter Szatmari and Dr Susan Bryson as keynote speakers, as well as numerous concurrent sessions on various topics relevant to teenagers and young adults with ASDs. Click for the tentative program and to register
Please keep checking for updates.


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FOCUS ON WATERLOO-WELLINGTON REGION OF ONTARIO

Wellington March Break Camp for Children and Youth, 6-18, with ASD
Offered by Kerry's Place Autism Services, with funds from the Wellington Respite Committee.
Cost $200 (or $500 for a family with ASD). Call 519-763-5812 to register.
Click to reach the Community Services Newsletter for Wellington, Winter 2006.


Waterloo Region Developmental Services Chart
Nancy Cherry of Waterloo, ASPIRE Advocate for GSA during 2005, has compiled a detailed chart of services to support people with Developmental Disabilities. All services that could be accessed by/for children, youth and adults are shown, with those funded through the MCSS Drvelopmental Services Stream distinguished from other community services that may be helpful. The chart is accompanied by a Developmental Disabilities Resource List with names of agencies and service-providers and their contact numbers. Please click on the title to reach this chart. We recommend that you print out the chart and the two pages of resource information on 11 by 17-inch paper (tabloid size).

Thanks to Nancy for her great service to the Waterloo Region. She has also produced a list of potential resources and service-provider for adults with autism in the region--though none has a specific mandate for adults with ASD.


Click for Nancy's year-end report on her ASPIRE work in 2005
You may also peruse earlier information about ASPIRE which has now formally ended.

Please also note the
Community Connections 2006 Information Event on April 4, 2006, 5-8pm, for People with Disabilities in the Region of Waterloo. See Announcements in the section above this one.


Colloquium 2006:
Person-Centred Supports for and with Adults with Autism in Waterloo-Wellington
A full-day discussion is being organized for April 21 for representatives of autism support groups, agencies and service-providers. Ask OAARSN for more information.
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BOOKS, WEBSITES AND OTHER RESOURCES

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.


OAARSN has been asked to post these announcements

Add an Expert
Do you have a favorite therapist, doctor, support group, therapy,autism-supply store, website, e-mail list, school, book or anything else autism-related that you would love more people to know about?
Do you serve the autism community and want more people to know aboutyour service?

Welcome to autism’s largest interactive resource directory where we collaborate with leading organizations serving the autism community. Here you can locate professionals, services, products and information related to autism.


DreamCatcher™ Blankets
founded by the mother of an autistic child, specializes in making custom weighted blankets for those who are comforted and benefited by them. Our patent pending design  includes larger blankets ( up to king size) for sleep, in addition to wrap and lap blankets, and smaller  lap pads  used mainly as a calming tool.
Box 636, Victor, MT 59875
Phone: 406-642-3253
Email: mtcustomblankets@aol.com
www.weightedblanket.net



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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.


FRONTLINE IMMERSION Experience in supporting vulnerable adults:
an
Ontario Opportunity

An Ontario man—let’s call him Alex--who lives with quite severe challenges of autism, has come up with a creative idea, with his family and friends. He lives in his own home with support and chooses the people with whom he shares his home and his time. Alex knows he is a pioneer and sees himself as a teacher and leader.

Over the past eight years, with the help of my support group I have developed a very good quality of life. I would like to share what we have learned with others. My large home has plenty of space to host people interested in learning more about support strategies such as:

  • My person-centred life plan
  • My alternative and augmentative modes of communication, deep listening by my friends, and supported decision-making
  • Support by my circle of friends and incorporated aroha entity (aka a microboard)
  • Support by a housing trust devoted to helping adults with autism to have their own homes 
  • Health and dietary interventions
  • Independence technologies to that I can do as much as possible for myself and move around my neighbourhood in freedom and safety
  • Continued learning and work that contributes to my community
  • Therapies such as music, art, horticulture and my companion dog.

Expressions of interest are invited from people who would like to learn by immersion for a period of two weeks. Two guests at one time could be accommodated, in their own rooms in a private wing. People who could be interested:

  • Family members hoping to support their adult sons or daughters in a similar kind of home.
  • Practicum students planning careers in human services
  • In-service support workers wishing to widen their experience
  • In-service agency managers wishing to learn about new options in supported living

How would interning guests learn?

  • Observing my daily and weekly life and the most effective ways I need support
  • Reading plans and viewing tapes in advance
  • Sharing in household and community activities with me
  • Practising several forms of support
  • Tutorials and individualized learning about my challenges and various support strategies, in relation to those of a wider spectrum of vulnerable people.

Why offer this immersion experience?

  • My friends and I have found that few personal support workers are prepared for the kind of respectful, self-directed support I need. We think that training for work in developmental services should include immersion on the frontlines
  • Others besides me need this kind of approach, though their exact needs may differ. What guests learn in my home can be adapted to supporting people who have somewhat different needs.

People seriously interested in knowing more about this experience are asked to send an email first to OAARSN at gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca   We will put you in touch with Alex and his support group for more information.

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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