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6 March 2006



Early Downward Trends in Neurodevelopmental Disorders Following Removal of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
A new study shows that the rate of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs) in children has decreased following removal of thimerosal, a preservative containing the neurotoxin mercury, from American childhood vaccines. In the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, a peer reviewed journal, Dr Mark Geier and David Geier report examination of two independent databases maintained by the government – one national and one state. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and the Californian Department of Developmental Services (CDDS) database each showed the same downward trend for the period from 2002 through 2005. Click on the title to read the full article.

The Age of Autism: Less is beautiful

Column about the above news item by Dan Olmsted, UPI Senior Editor.

No rest for family warning of vaccine-autism tie
Raymond Gallup of New Jersey believes that a childhood vaccine was responsible for the autism of his son Eric, now 21. The story is getting a wider audience in an Australian magazine on the stands now and in a book about speech disorders due out later this year. Gallup founded The Autism Autoimmunity Project in 1998 to raise money for research and to spread the word about a possible link between vaccination and autism. Its Web site, www.taap.info includes information and research about autism. Today, Eric is living at a residential school in Delaware because he had become increasingly violent over the last few years.

Missing out on life's little clues
A story about Asperger's Syndrome in The Montreal Gazette, which begins:
"Jacob Harris, 13, composes haikus and is a published poet. He is also on Page 73 of the science-fiction novel he's writing, starring "John Lancer." His complex, intricate drawings reflect his longstanding interest in technology. He is studying Dante as part of his schooling, which, because he is now being home-schooled, he finally enjoys. Jacob has Asperger's syndrome, and if you ask him he will immediately explain what that means, tossing off one characteristic after another. 'Difficulty making friends, magnified or inappropriate reactions in some situations, obsessions with the three Ms - math, music and mechanics,' he says, for starters."

Beetroot Lets You See Life in the Pink
"Recent studies indicate that an extract of concentrated beetroot, betaine, can boost the natural production of the body's hormones for well-being, stimulation and relaxation. As well as aiding the body in recovering from depression, betaine can help maximize the liver's function of detoxification. Scientific research into the physiology of autistic children has for the last ten years extolled the virtues of betaine. Scientists who research Down's syndrome have published studies showing that betaine, an amino acid naturally present in certain vegetables, particularly beetroot, is an antidepressant of the first order. It is much better than the tricyclic antidepressants used for the treatment of hyperactivity and poor attention span in autistic children, because the side effects from the tricyclics can be catastrophic and thus limit their use. Betaine is replacing traditional antidepressants for the treatment of depression and behavioral problems."

Autism Tsunami Carries Away Parents' Resources
An essay about the high financial costs of raising a child with autism. The author also comments on the vaccine-autism connection.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA)
The APPGA is a formal cross-party backbench group of MPs and Peers who share an interest in autism and Asperger syndrome. It was set up in February 2000. Its role is to campaign in Parliament for greater awareness of autism and Asperger syndrome, and to lobby the Government for improved services for people with autism and Asperger syndrome, and their carers. The official objective is: 

To raise awareness of issues affecting people with autism and Asperger syndrome, their families and carers; to raise Parliamentary awareness of autism; to campaign for changes to government policy to benefit people with autism and Asperger syndrome and improve diagnosis or, support for, people with autism and Asperger syndrome.

The APPGA does not have any powers to introduce legislation, nor is it part of Government.



McGuinty Government Improves Supports And Clinical Care For Adults With A Developmental Disability
Ontario’s networks of specialized care will mean more supports, closer to home, announces  Minister of Community and Social Services Sandra Pupatello.

Community Networks of Specialized Care are teams of professionals such as behaviour therapists, social workers, nurses and psychologists who will work together to diagnose and treat adults with a developmental disability.  The teams will work closely with partner organizations — community agencies, hospitals, police and mental health units throughout their region — to provide a full range of community-based specialized services to care for individuals with high needs. The agencies that will lead the four networks across Ontario are:

·        In southern Ontario, Bethesda and Regional Support Associates

·        In central Ontario, Surrey Place Centre (Toronto), Community Living Huronia (Pineview site) and Guelph’s Community Mental Health Clinic

·        In eastern Ontario, Ongwanada and Prescott-Russell Services for Children and Adults

·        In northern Ontario, Algonquin Child and Family Services.
The network leads will work with community agencies and mental health service providers in their area to better coordinate access to specialized services, improve the way services are delivered and promote professional development for service providers through improved research-sharing and training.

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.



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

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

      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 2, 2006, 2-4pm in Guelph
What Does Waterloo-Wellington Region Most Need For Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders?
Discussion of priorities for adults with ASD, as a basis for advocacy and policy, with opportunities to share concerns and bright ideas with other family members and friends in our region.
RSVP by March 29 to phone (519) 823-9232 or email gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca

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

April 29, 2006, in London
Sexuality and Social Strategies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Susan Johnston, Behaviour Resource Facilitator.
Susan is a behaviour specialist and member of the Peel District School Board's multi-disciplinary ASD team. She is also a certified Crisis Prevention Intervention Instructor responsible for training and certifying Peel District School Board staff in the area of positive physical intervention when working the individuals with Autism. Click for flyer

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.


Monday 18 September 2006, in Cambridge UK

The Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge announces its

First Autism Research Conference at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.

Features include keynote speakers, poster presentations and an autism publishers' fair. 

Calling all artists and musicians. As part of the conference, there will also be a music concert and an exhibition of art by people on the autistic spectrum, taking place on Sunday 17 September 2006 at the same venue. Artwork will be auctioned on the day and proceeds will be divided equally between the artists and autism research. Profits from the concert will also be donated to autism research. The ARC is calling for artists and musicians who would like to get involved in the celebrations and perform or exhibit on the day. They welcome applications from people with autism spectrum conditions (or their carers on their behalf) who would like to be considered as performers in the concert, or have their artwork exhibited. For further information about the conference, art exhibition and concert visit: www.arc-conference.com

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.



What Does Waterloo-Wellington Region Most Need For Adults with ASD?
A discussion among self-advocates, family members and friends is planned for Sunday, April 2. Click for discussion questions and directions

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. Click for flyer



Kitchener Public Library's Autism Collection
Kitchener Public Library established an Autism Collection in 1993, 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
come to the top, or limit to video or DVD, etc.




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:
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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