OAARSN offers a rich and expanding collection of up-to-date information and communication tools that can put you in touch with others. We can all benefit from the opportunities for mutual support, encouragement and information sharing. We hope that OAARSN's efforts to promote positive approaches and best practices in supporting adults with autism can help all who live and work on the front lines. Click on OAARSN's main page

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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.


16 March 2006

Celebrating Six Years of OAARSN

The Ontario Adult Autism Research & Support Network was launched in March 2000, when autism had a tiny presence on the Internet. Our early news bulletins included items about autism in children. Autism in adults was hardly ever considered in other media. We still have a long way to go before adults with autism, in Ontario and elsewhere, have better lives.
Visit OAARSN's website and keep in touch through the OAARSN Listserv (send a message requesting to join to gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca).

New Content on OAASRN

Our review of:
The Road Trip: Life with Autism
by Gloria Pearson-Vasey and J. Kevin Vasey (Ottawa: Novalis, 2005). ISBN 2-89507-603-0.
Click on title to read review.

No. 33, March 2006.  Joint newsletter of Guelph Services for the Autistic and Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services. Click on title to read. Contents include:
What Does Waterloo-Wellington Region Most Need For Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders?
Invitation to meeting on April 2.

“Stories” of Adults with ASD (background to April 2 meeting)
New Books Reviewed
Recognizing Dr Joan Jory
AAIWW Bulletin Board
ACES Initiatives



Autism Phenome Project Aims To Redefine Autism By Identifying Distinct Subtypes
"Multidisciplinary teams of physicians and scientists at the University of California, Davis, M.I.N.D. Institute have launched the nation's most comprehensive assessment of children with autism to detect the biological and behavioral patterns that define subtypes of the disorder. Called the Autism Phenome Project, the large-scale, longitudinal study will enroll 1,800 children -- 900 with autism, 450 with developmental delay and 450 who are typically developing -- who will undergo a thorough medical evaluation in addition to systematic analyses of their immune systems, brain structures and functions, genetics, environmental exposures and blood proteins. Children will be 2 to 4 years old when they begin participating in the study, and their development will continue to be evaluated over the course of several years."

Pupils 'must look away to think'

Pupils should be encouraged to look away from their teacher when answering a question, scientists have found. Far from daydreaming, children who avert their gaze when considering their response to a question are more likely to come up with the correct answer. Stirling University psychologists found that, when looking away, five-year-olds answered 72% of questions well. But when children had not been instructed to look away when thinking, they answered just 50% correctly. The researchers believe teachers and parents often mistake "gaze aversion" for children failing to understand a question and do not give them enough time to compose an answer. "The mistake adults make is to interject too quickly, they need to try and hold back," said Dr Doherty-Sneddon.



Ontario Government Launches Mentoring Partnership For Young Adults With A Developmental Disability
The Passport Mentoring Initiative helps students between the ages of 14 and 21 who have a developmental disability prepare for life after high school by introducing them to a variety of career, education, recreation, training or volunteer opportunities.  Students will be paired with experienced, adult mentors who also have a developmental disability and will work with them to decide what steps they need to follow in order to develop the skills required to achieve their goals.  Mentors will also link students with supports that can help them grow and develop along the way.

Report on Consultations Regarding the Transformation of Developmental Services
A document of considerable importance to everyone who cares about the quality of life of vulnerable citizens with developmental disabilities in Ontario.
Prepared by Ernie Parsons, MPP Parliamentary Assistant (Disabilities) to the Minister of Community and Social Services, February 2006

A progress report on the process of transforming developmental services in Ontario, including the following sections:
Historical Perspective
Ontario’s Developmental Services System Today
Community Consultations
Issues and Recommendations
A. Fair and Equitable Access to Adequate Community Supports
B. Families’ Life-stage Needs
C. Parental Responsibility
D. Ontario Disability Support Program
E. Closure of the Institutions
F. Future Directions
Click to read the full report in PDF format

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 .... "  Click for more details of this opportunity



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 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

March 29 & 30, in Toronto
Autism Society Ontario sponsors Dennis Debbaudt for live webcast and conference on
Safety & Preparedness for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Free training events for parents, teachers and caregivers, but pre-registration required.
Click here for more information

Click for registration form

Dennis  Debbaudt is a frequent presenter at autism conferences worldwide, and is increasingly hosting train-the-trainer workshops for school districts, law enforcement training programs, and autism advocacy groups. Since 1995, he has conducted numerous workshops for law enforcement agencies including the Detroit Police Department, Michigan Department of Corrections, New Hampshire Police Academy and Sheriff's Departments throughout the United States. He has also led workshops for law enforcers in Canada and the United Kingdom.  Websites include:

Avoiding Unfortunate Situations http://www.policeandautism.cjb.net/

Autism Risk & Safety Management  http://www.autismriskmanagement.com/

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  For Registration Information Contact: Marianne Knox 519 352 7945

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.
For more information and to register online, check the Family Alliance Ontario website.

May 8, 2006, evening, in Brampton
Creative Housing and Support Options for Adults with ASD
Workshop offered by Kerry's Place Autism Services, with Bruce Kappel, Jim Preston, Glenn Rampton and Gail Jones. Click on title for details

May 12-14, 2006 (weekend) in Lanark County
Another Way of Being
Susan Barker offers a weekend retreat for parents of children with learning disabilities.
For more information, please click on title for more, and visit the
ontrackoptions website.

May 15-16, 2006, 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 program and to register
Please keep checking for updates.

May 24-28, 2006, in Chicago
Autism One 2006 Conference
Chicago Westin O'Hare Hotel
”The most comprehensive conference on autism ever assembled…
bringing together over 120 of the world's leading authorities.”

Five tracks to help you make the best decisions and most informed choices.
1. The Science of Autism & Biomedical Treatments
2. Behavior / Education / Communication Therapies

3. Complementary and Alternative Medicine
4. Adolescence and Adulthood

5. Government/Legal/Personal Issues
”We are pleased this year to be adding a track to specifically address adolescence and adulthood."
Click on title for more and to register.


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.


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.

William Stillman, Autism and the God Connection: Redefining the Autistic Experience through Extraordinary Accounts of Spiritual Giftedness. 2006. 272p. Sourcebooks, $14.95 (1-4022-0649-6).

“In certain cultures, people with illnesses affecting the ability to communicate are thought to be visited by spirits. The sufferer may be regarded as a messenger for a deity, an anointed one to be revered and honored. Sadly, Western culture often relegates those diagnosed with autism and related disorders to the ranks of the incurably crippled. Worse, almost everyone, from family members to friends to primary caregivers, too easily writes off the intelligence of a person who has difficulty speaking. So written off, the sufferer is discounted and ignored. Stillman, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, speaks out on behalf of the wisdom of considering people with autism as not just intelligent but also highly spiritual” (Donna Chavez).

Visit the new website
about the Picture Card Communication system that Marion Pusey developed about 5 years ago. She figured out what types of visual (picture) communication tools and materials that would have helped her with her son Eric (now almost 22) if they had existed when he was younger.




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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