OAARSN offers a rich 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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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.

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

Read about why OAARSN was started and the tasks still ahead

Visit OAARSN's website and keep in touch through the OAARSN Listserv (send a message requesting to join to gbloomfi@uoguelph.ca).

4 May 2006

April marked the 35th Anniversary of National Autism Awareness Month (in US). In Ontario, it has been Toonies for Autism month.
Visit the new Toonies for Autism website
A Toonies story from Timmins, northern Ontario

Plans are also being made by the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) Canada and Autism Speaks for:
The 2nd Annual Walk for Autism Research 
on Sunday, May 14, 2006, in Toronto
See more below, under Announcements and read Ken's Story about an Ontario man of 35 who plans to walk again with his team.

Autism Awareness in Canada's Parliament
On Thursday, April 6, 2006, Peter Stoffer MP tabled two Private Members' Bills in the House of Commons that concern autism.  The first, Bill C-211, would include autism treatment in Medicare if passed.  Please spread the word about this Bill and the general need to get some federal government monitoring and action in Canada on autism issues. Lots of media publicity this past week about the finding that one in 175 school children in the US has autism. What is the real situation in Canada. And what about autism in adults? Write to your MP and federal politicians.



New Thinking on Neurodevelopment
[Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 114, Number 2, February 2006]

.."some scientists believe that the rates of neurodevelopmental disease are truly increasing, and that the growing burden of chemicals in the environment may play a role.Wiith that in mind, investigators are considering the effects of gene-environment interactions. A child with a mild genetic tendency toward a neurodevelopmental disorder might develop without clinically measurable abnormalities in the absence of environmental “hits.” However, children in industrialized nations develop and grow up in a veritable sea of xenobiotic chemicals, says Isaac Pessah, director of the University of California, Davis, Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention. “Fortunately,” he says, “most of us have a host of defense mechanisms that protect us from adverse outcomes. However, genetic polymorphisms, complex epistasis, and cytogenetic abnormalities could weaken these defenses and amplify chemical damage, initiating a freefall into a clinical syndrome.”

Autism and pollution: the vital link
[An important review by Juliet Rix in The Times Online]
The number of children with autism has risen dramatically in recent years. In a new book, Richard Lathe argues that pollution and environmental causes may be to blame. But there is , and a new book to be published later this month, Autism, Brain and Environment by Richard Lathe, draws together a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence, along with the theoretical science behind it. Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, describes Lathe as “ an excellent scientist”, and his book as “a masterly review . . . a serious summary of the science of autism”.
Lathe argues that many cases of autism could be caused by a genetically determined frailty in the body's biochemistry that makes it less able to deal with particular pollutants. So when the individual is exposed to toxins (even at levels that have no ill-effect on most of the population) their bodies cannot cope. If exposure is at a vulnerable stage of development (foetal, neonatal or at significant points in brain development) the toxins may cause damage to key areas of the brain. “People with autism have a diverse set of physiological impairments such as hormone imbalances, gut problems and immune system deficiencies in addition to their psychological and cognitive difficulties,”

Blue Ribbon Communities
From American Public Health Association

Across the US, many communities are grappling with how to balance economic development needs with the need to create a healthy built environment for children. During National Public Health Week 2006, the American Public Health Association honors five communities that have successfully achieved this balance and made their communities healthier for kids. These Blue Ribbon communities serve as positive models for proven solutions that other communities can implement. Following are brief summaries of each Blue Ribbon community's achievements.
NB: Medscape is free but you much register to read this article.

Face Reader Bridges Autism Gap

People "afflicted by autism lack the ability to ascertain emotional status -- it's one of the signature characteristics of the disease. Help could be on the way.. novel computer-vision system developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could do the mind reading for those who can't..Two MIT researchers wore tiny cameras mounted on wire rods extending from their chests to demonstrate the Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic, or ESP, at the Body Sensor Networks 2006 international workshop at MIT's Media Lab last week. The video cameras captured facial expressions and head movements, then fed the information to a desktop computer that analyzed the data and gave real-time estimates of the individuals' mental states, in the form of color-coded graphs.
The system's software goes beyond tracking simple emotions like sadness and anger to estimate complex mental states like agreeing, disagreeing, thinking, confused, concentrating and interested. The goal is to put this mental state inference engine on a wearable platform and use it to augment or enhance social interactions, said Rana el Kaliouby, a postdoctoral researcher at the Media Lab. "This is only possible now because of the progress made in affective computing, real-time machine perception and wearable technologies," she said.
[from Wired News]

Antisocial Mice Give Clues to Autism
One of the barriers to understanding autism is the lack of a valid animal model to test hypotheses for the causes of the disorder or to test new treatments. Now researchers have created mice that exhibit some of the key behavioral and neurological deficits in autism. They hope the mouse model of the disease will help them pinpoint specific brain areas linked to the social problems that characterize autism.
In a paper published today in the journal Neuron, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX, describe a new mouse model in which a gene involved in cell signaling, called PTEN, was knocked out in mature neurons. People with mutations in this gene sometimes have autism. And the PTEN mutant mice show profound deficits in social interactions. Normal mice, for example, are eager to investigate a new mouse in their cage, spending more time with a new visitor than with a familiar mouse or a new inanimate object. Mutant mice, however, spent less time in social interactions and were equally interested in inanimate objects and other mice.

Autism Costs $35 Billion Per Year to U.S.

It can cost about $3.2 million to take care of an autistic person over his or her lifetime. Caring for all people with autism over their lifetimes costs an estimated $35 billion per year, according to the first study to comprehensively survey and document the costs of autism to US society--by Michael Ganz, Assistant Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health, Ganz broke down the total costs of autism into two components: direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include direct medical costs, such as physician and outpatient services, prescription medication, and behavioral therapies (estimated to cost, on average, more than $29,000 per person per year) and direct non-medical costs, such as special education, camps, and child care (estimated to annually cost more than $38,000 for those with lower levels of disability and more than $43,000 for those with higher levels).

Calls for autism review after bridge tragedy
Charities appalled at the deaths of a mother and her autistic son who plunged from the Humber Bridge in England have branded the help they received from authorities "woefully inadequate" – and called on the Government to urgently review services. Leaders of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK have called on Prime Minister Tony Blair and Her Majesty's Government to conduct a review on Autism and Public Services in the wake of the Humberside tragedy.
Autistic need best support  Read article, prompted by the tragedy, by
John McDonald, chief executive of the Scottish Society of Autism, in The Scotsman.

Easter Seals announces pioneering autism effort
Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago on Thursday announced plans to build a $24 million school and research center on 3.4 acres of land donated by the city. Organizers say the 86,000-square-foot facility at Damen Avenue and 13th Street will be the first of its kind in the U.S. to integrate education, academic research, early intervention programs and training to prepare patients for work and independent living. Officials see the Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research as a way to foster interaction between scientists who work on autism and service providers who can apply their findings to clinical practice and education. The facility will be run in collaboration with researchers at the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Rush University Medical Center.
The school will include independent living residence facilities for adults with disabilities, including but not limited to those with autism. The residence will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

For autistic students, social skills from a handheld device

[Boston Globe]
"Toggling quickly from screen to screen on his PDA, Jonathan Libby, 18, scrolled through a checklist of conversational tips reminding him to smile, make eye contact, and address people by name. Most of all, he emphasized to a visitor with a tap of his digital pen recently, don't interrupt or rattle on without letting others get a word in edgewise. ''Those are the ones I tend to forget," he acknowledged.
"For most people, such social conventions are second nature. But for Libby, who attends a Walpole school for autistic students, they are a constant struggle. Diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism, Libby is bright and chatty, but often rambles aimlessly from topic to topic."



Opportunities and Action: Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability
is the Ontario government's response to the challenges facing our developmental services system.  The paper outlines key directions to achieve the Province's vision of an inclusive Ontario for people with a developmental disability, and is the product of 18 months of consultation with people who have a developmental disability, their families, community agencies, academics and clinical experts.  The paper also includes a series of questions to generate thought on how best to implement changes to the system of supports in Ontario.

Opportunities and Action is now available for public comment so that all Ontarians can contribute to shaping the future of a fair, accessible and sustainable developmental services system for Ontario.  Comments may be submitted via a feedback page, e-mail, fax or mail until June 30, 2006.  The government will also be holding focus groups with families to encourage further discussion and obtain their input about how to implement changes to the system. 

The input received from the consultation will guide a blueprint for the future of developmental services in Ontario:  one that is focused on long-term solutions to help individuals with a developmental disability realize their potential and fully participate in our communities.

Read the Full Report
Read the Plain Language Version
Read Executive Summary
Feedback Page

New Study Demonstrates Impact of Making Disability Supports Personalized

The Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario has released a new study on the role of individualized funding in Ontario. Moving Toward Citizenship is a comprehensive study of how four projects across Ontario are providing supports to people with disabilities in a unique and personalized fashion. Researchers studied 130 individuals and their families who receive individualized funding for their support needs. Individualized funding is based on a support plan developed by the person and their network. It allows individuals and their families to then personalize who they hire to assist them and what they want workers to do.

“We are very excited about this new study,” said Michelle Friesen, co-chair of the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario, the group that commissioned the study. “The study deepens our understanding of the benefits and potential of individualized funding,” said Friesen. In addition to the personalized approach, Friesen stressed that one key finding is the research showing the important role of independent facilitators in assisting people to build a life in community. This study also showed that the vast majority of people had very positive quality of life outcomes over four years.

Principal Investigator John Lord said that the study showed that families who use this innovative approach tend to be highly involved. “At all sites, we also found a deep commitment to citizenship and choice among staff and families,” said Lord.  In addition to strong values and organizational support, the researchers found that there were three things that were vital to the success of individualized funding; the facilitator that worked closely with individuals and their families, networks and relationships that assisted the person to live in the community, and effective workers that enabled people to build creative supports.
This study is part of a series of policy analysis papers that the Individualized Funding Coalition has been presenting over the last four years. Increasingly, this work is showing the importance of what some are calling “new paradigm approaches” to providing disability supports. More traditional approaches tend to focus on the placement of the person in a program or service. Peggy Hutchison, Professor at
Brock University and advisor on this new study, has researched new paradigm approaches across Canada. “This new study confirms that individualized funding must address the dreams and goals of people for all aspects of their lives in a holistic way,” said Hutchison. The study confirms that people want to build a good life in community.

Please click on title to read more about the research and to reach the link to the full report.

Click to reach more articles on John Lord's website

Check out all the resources of the IFCO website



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

TASH Teleconferences
TASH is pleased to announce an exciting new series of Telephone Conferences on issues related to Facilitated Communication.  Co-Sponsored by The Autism National Committee
Check out the list of topics and speakers below!  To view complete session descriptions, speakers and registration information for this series please go to <http://www.tash.org/teleconferences/index.htm>
This series includes a range of sessions on Facilitated Communication to increase knowledge and understanding of the research supporting the practice and the experiences of individuals who use FC in their lives. 
Session 1:
What is Competence? Disability, Communication and the Struggle for Performance
Presenters: Doug Biklen
Date: Wednesday May 17, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 2:
"I can read...I can read": What We Are Learning From the Literate Lives of FC Users
Presenters: Paula Kluth and Chris Kliewer
Date: Friday May 19, 2006
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Eastern   *Note: Different Start Time*
Session 3:
Breaking the Barriers: Facilitated Communication Users Speak Out
Presenters: Sue Rubin, Jamie Burke, Tyler Fihe, Jim W, Larry Bissonnette and Christi Kasa-Hendrickson as the facilitator of the discussion. 
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 4:
Best Practices With Facilitated Communication
Presenters:  Darlene Hanson
Date:  Wednesday May 31, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 5:
What We are Learning about Sensory & Movement Differences and Support
Presenters: Martha Leary and Anne Donnellan
Date: Friday, June 2, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
Session 6:
Popularizing FC:  A Matter of Research and Overcoming Misconceptions of Intellect
Presenter: Don Cardinal 
Date: Monday, June 5, 2006
Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Eastern
To view complete session descriptions, speakers and registration information,
for this series please click on the title of this announcement.

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

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 11, 2006, in Guelph
Breaking the Silence: Relationships, Sexuality and Safety Education
with Susan Ludwig. Click on title for more.

May 12, 2006 ,, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Relationships, Sexuality and Safety Education for
Young People with a Developmental Challenge or Autism Spectrum

Wellington County Museum – Aboyne Hall
0536 County Road 18, Township of Centre Wellington
with Susan Ludwig R.N., B.Sc.
Relationships, Sexuality & Safety Education
Cost: $35 - teachers, youth workers, and community workers
$25 – parent/care providers
Click on title for more

Saturday, May 13, 2006, 9:30am-4pm, in Waterloo
Create the New Story Together!
A family forum presented by Planned Lifetime Networks
Click on title for full brochure

Sunday, May 14, 2006
, in Toronto at Mel Lastman Square
The National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) Canada and Autism Speaks present
The 2nd Annual Walk for Autism Research
More information can be obtained at http://canada.autismwalk.org or by calling 1-888-362-6227.

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.

Thurs.  June 1, 2006
Thurs.  June 22, 2006
Day workshop series aimed to assist service providers in supporting Adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities. See also June 22.
Groves Hospital in Fergus
Time:  9am  to 4:00 pm
Cost:  No cost
Click for brochure and map in PDF

June 9th, 2006
Kerry’s Place Autism Services is pleased to host
Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay
Service for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders
“For When It’s Hard to Stop”

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
St. Peter Catholic School
150 Westwood Rd., Guelph
There is a $10.00 fee
Click on title for more

Thursday June 22, 2006
Day workshop series aimed to assist service providers in supporting Adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities. See also June 1.
Groves Hospital in Fergus
Time:  9am  to 4:00 pm
Cost:  No cost
Click for brochure and map in PDF

June 26-30, 2005

Autism Network International presents AUTREAT 2006
Autreat is a retreat-style conference run by autistic people, for autistic people and our friends and families. It is an opportunity for autistic people and those with related developmental differences, our friends and supporters to come together, discover and explore autistic connections, and develop advocacy skills, all in an autistic-friendly environment.
Autreat focuses on positive living with autism, NOT on causes, cures, or ways to make us more normal. We have an exciting lineup of presentations on a variety of subjects of interest to the Autistic community, including communication, relationships, daily living aids, travel, effects of prejudice, and more. Autreat has been approved to offer Continuing Education Units through the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University.
Autreat 2006 will take place on June 26-30 at a small university campus in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area. The campus has plenty of open space for walking, recreation, and enjoying the outdoors. Lodging is in a residence hall with two to four people per room. Registration includes a supervised activity program for children and teens under 18. For fee information, registration form, a list of workshops, and further autreat information, check out ANI's website at: http://www.ani.ac

July 17-21, 2006, in Syracuse
The Facilitated Communication Institute at Syracuse University
is hosting a week long summer institute.

There will be conference sessions and hands-on workshops
aimed at both new and veteran FC users and facilitators.
Please check out the flyer by clicking on this link.


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.

30 October-November 2, 2006, in Cape Town, South Africa
World Congress on Autism "Autism Safari - Exploring New Territories"
Please keep visiting website for updates



Send in the Idiots
Or How We Grew to Understand the World

by Kamran Nazeer.
Bloomsbury Publishing 2006. ISBN 9780747579106

"A remarkable, elegantly written portrait of four autistic men and women, and what their struggles and triumphs reveal about this baffling condition and about us all.
In 1982, when he was four years old, Kamran Nazeer was enrolled in a small school in New York City alongside a dozen other children diagnosed with autism. Calling themselves the Idiots, these kids received care that was at the cutting edge of developmental psychology. Twenty-three years later, the school no longer exists.
"Send in the Idiots is the always candid, often surprising and ultimately moving investigation into what happened to those children. Now a policy adviser in Westminster, Kamran decides to visit four of his old classmates to find out the kind of lives that they are living now, how much they’ve been able to overcome—and what remains missing. A speechwriter unable to make eye contact; a messenger who gets upset if anyone touches his bicycle; a depressive suicide victim; and a computer engineer who communicates difficult emotions through the use of hand puppets: these four classmates reveal an astonishing, thought-provoking spectrum of behaviour.
"Bringing to life the texture of autistic lives and the pressures and limitations that the condition presents, Kamran also relates the ways in which those can be eased over time, and with the right treatment. Using his own experiences to examine such topics as the difficulties of language, conversation as performance and the politics of civility, Send in the Idiots is also a rare and provocative exploration of the way that people—all people—learn to think and feel. Written with unmatched insight and striking personal testimony, Kamran Nazeer’s account is a stunning, invaluable and utterly unique contribution to the literature of what makes us human."
Read a review in the Washington Post
Review in the San Francisco Chronicle

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.

Safety and Preparedness for Children with ASD
Message from Margaret Spoelstra, Autism Society Ontario
Webcast Recording of Dennis Debbaudt's live presentation on March 29, 2006 is available for viewing at your leisure, but only until June 30, 2006. ASO received great reviews from participants. Don't miss this opportunity. It's free.
English: http://events.streamlogics.com/autism/mar29-06/en/index.asp
Français: http://events.streamlogics.com/autism/mar29-06/fr/index.asp

A message from Bernard Rimland
The Washington, D.C. DAN! conference held earlier this month was a huge success, in every respect. Prior to the conference, ARI sponsored a two-day Think Tank of researchers and physicians. The day after the conference, ARI sponsored, sold-out training courses for physicians and for nurses. The DAN! message is really getting across!
The entire Washington, D.C conference was videotaped, and we plan to upload all of the presentations to the Internet within a month. You can still watch the videotaped presentations from our Boston DAN! conference (Spring, 2005) and our Long Beach DAN! conference (Fall, 2005) at www.DANWebcast.com




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

An appeal for help:
Can anyone suggest a psychiatrist  who could give a diagnosis/assessment on a consultant basis for an adult believed to have autism?  We're looking for someone who is respectful to clients and families,  knowledgeable about autism,  considers the whole person,  and does not prescribe needless drugs.

Stealing the Focus

When the leaf is on the ground, I can but focus
On the shape and all the details it reveals...
The surroundings are not present, at that moment,
Not the voices as the distant church bell peels.

That one leaf is, at that moment, time eternal,
And deflection is a movement back to nil,
Whether that leaf is upon the local sidewalk,
Or way up 'pon the distant, lofty hill.

The focus is intense, and permeating,
So pervasive in its ways of holding on,
As the leaf is but the life of lives, at that time,
Whether in the dusk or night or early dawn.

When distractions come, and one is told to "Stop it!"
The adrenaline just jumps as chaos grows,
And without the leaf, oblivion takes over;
Insecurity but flares and temper grows.

Being taken from the leaf,  it's inattention--
Nothing to keep mind in focus; all is lost.
And when others say to one "Get on with living,"
One is not aware of liability, or cost.

"You will pay for this!" is shouted from the pulpit,
As the tyranny begins, restraining all...
As one tries to get a grip on something tangent,
One feels that all life is lost, before the fall....

After falling to the torrent and the failing,
All that one can do, per se, is "sleep on it!"
But the pain is like a chain that one embraces,
As the chain will not release its mighty grip.

One can only go back, therefore, to another...
'Nother leaf, nother' stone, 'nother clock,
And the focus is like rudder for the sailor;
As without it, one is tied up to the dock.

Once another leaf or point is held in focus,
One feels sense of self-renewal...shame is gone;
All the fury of the recent confrontation
Is erased--it's not manouvred like a pawn.

  -Brian Henson©2006


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