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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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.

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

19 July 2006


Autism 'more common than thought'

Autism, and similar disorders, may affect up to one in 100 children, UK researchers have suggested. The figures suggest the condition is more common, as prior to the 1990s, experts said there were four to five cases per 10,000 people in Britain. Researchers said it was unclear whether their higher estimate was due to better diagnosis or increased incidence. Experts said the study showed services for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) had to be improved. Autism impairs social interaction, communication, and imagination. The spectrum also covers Asperger's syndrome.
Researchers from Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in south London, publishing their findings in the Lancet, looked at a group of 57,000 children aged nine and 10 in 2001. They identified 255 who had already been diagnosed as having autistic disorders and 1,515 judged to be possible undetected cases. The prevalence of "classic" childhood autism was 39 per 10,000, and that of other ASDs 77 per 10,000. In total, autistic disorders affected 116 per 10,000 children.

New autism test to provide results in an hour
Researchers at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) are developing a revolutionary testing device to slash the time taken to diagnose autism in children and save parents months, even years, of waiting for help.

Research links autism to brain abnormalities

Autistic men have striking abnormalities in a region of the brain that deals with social skills, according to research published today.
Detailed maps of autistic men's brains show they have substantially fewer neurons than expected in a region called the amygdala, which plays a major role in understanding others' actions and emotions. The finding adds weight to a theory put forward by some scientists that stunted development in the amygdala gives rise to autism. Further research is needed, however, to confirm whether the lack of neurons is a direct cause of autism, or is merely a consequence of it. Click for another story about this research.

Health Alert: Autism communicator

A child with autism or similar developmental disability often can't talk. There's no joy in hearing your child, knowing what they want, what they're thinking. Now new communicators are not just helping, they're even changing the way we think about these kids....What's exciting is the effect the ability to communicate, even at a fairly basic level, has had on those kids on their behavior, social interactions, and for some, even the development of some speech.

Hope for MMR doctor
The doctor at the centre of the MMR vaccine controversy might not face misconduct charges after all, despite a long-running investigation by the medical watchdog. Dr Andrew Wakefield, the first doctor to suggest a link between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella jab, has been the subject of a 20-month inquiry into alleged serious professional misconduct. But the General Medical Council admitted last night that it might not proceed with the charges - and there is 'no guarantee' there will ever be a hearing.

Rise in Autism Blamed on Phone Batteries
Dr Richard Lathe, a specialist in childhood Autism, and former professor at Edinburgh University is claiming in a forthcoming paper that incorrect disposal of rechargeable batteries is one of the factors in an increase in autism in the UK. Autistic children have been shown to have problems getting rid of toxic metals - and those metals are increasingly polluting the environment, the molecular biologist says.
Dr Lathe is the author of a recent book, Autism, Brain, and Environment. While nothing in his book contradicts research implicating genetic vulnerability as an underlying cause of ASDs, Lathe instead uses evidence showing autism is more prevalent in urban than rural areas to bolster his contention that pollution is a likely culprit as well.

Poland: The Parliamentary Group on Autism
In July 2006, the first plenary meeting of the Polish Multi-Partisan Parliamentary Group on Autism will discuss and approve the list of most important issues for the  following year. The Group has so far 21 members of Parliament from most major political parties. Six additional MPs expressed their willingness to participate in the work of the Group. The Group came into being thanks to the efforts of the Advocacy Department of the SYNAPSIS Foundation and its partners from the Polish branch of the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).



Opportunities and Action: Transforming Supports in Ontario for People Who Have a Developmental Disability

The Ontario MCSS is in process of transforming developmental services in Ontario, has published various papers and taken a survey. The result of the process may be a "blueprint" for services and funding in the next 25 years.

Read the response to the MCSS survey by one man who is neurologically disabled and uses supported communication technology to type his thoughts.

For other responses to the MCSS "blueprint" keep visiting the  IFCO website

Funding for community participation supports for adults with a developmental disability

As of June 15, 2006, adults with a developmental disability can apply for a new Ministry of Community and Social Services initiative called Passport: Funding for Community Participation Supports. The goal of Passport is to improve the quality of participation in the community for adults with a developmental disability.

If approved for funding, Passport gives individuals the option of receiving funding directly to purchase community participation supports, or they can use the funding to access services through community agencies.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and no longer in school.

Application deadline for the first round of Passport funding is August 31, 2006.

Passport Guidelines, Person Directed Planning Guide, Family Information Guide, Application Form:

Links to more information: 
From the IFCO website:
Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario

Common Vision PowerPoint This presentation developed to assist with community mobilization efforts highlights the values and principles of the Common Vision in an easy to use format.  This is a great tool to take to any meeting with other families; your M.P.P. etc.  For those of you who do not have the PowerPoint capabilities, the presentation is also available in PDF format.   Common Vision PowerPoint

PERSON-DIRECTED PLANNING GUIDE!  This guide designed by the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario, funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services has been written to assist families and people with developmental disabilities to plan for their future.  It is available in a plain language version as well as a more detailed version.  click  to download        detailed version    or      plain language version)

IFCO CITIZENSHIP NEWS --the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario will be publishing a small newsletter throughout the year.  Please share the newsletter with friends and colleagues and help get the news out! 

Volume 2--now available--Issues in this edition:  Passport Program Opinion Piece; Research Report; Urging the use of Common Vision to assess Ministry blueprint; Community Engagement and concerns about the number of young people in Long Term Care facilities.  The second edition is hot off the presses....download it now. 

Volume 1--Our first edition--Issues in this edition:  Common Vision; In Unison; Grassroots work;  Facilitator's Dialogue Forum; Individualized Funding Research; Brian Salisbury in Toronto; available for download. 

** Ontario Government Changes ODSP Application Rules **

The Ontario government recently changed the regulations of the Ontario Disability Support Program so that a person who is approved for benefits will receive retroactive payments for the full amount of time they have been waiting for approval of their application. The change is in response to a report by the ombudsman of Ontario that said that at least $6 million in benefits had not been paid to people who were eligible. See "Ontario's Most Vulnerable Are Losing Out," Ombudsman Ontario, May 31, 2006, at http://www.ombudsman.on.ca. For the government's response, see "Greater Fairness for People Awaiting Disability Support," Ministry of Community and Social Services, May 31, 2006, at http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca .



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

Monday, July 31: 11:30-12:30 am,
outside Kitchener City Hall
Waterloo-Wellington area Rally for Autism Awareness
Press the Ontario government to provide ABA for all children who need it and to get ABA into the schools. Some children and parents have been sitting on the waiting list for ABA for up to 2 years. The rally  will be the 14th in a series that have been in many Ontario communities, such as Kingston, London, Windsor, Toronto, Oakville. The rally in Windsor attracted 200 people.
All families are welcome, including those with autistic adults.

Sunday, August 13, 2006, 11 am to 2 pm, in Whitby
Family BBQ & Fun Day 2006 with Special Guest "Sparks the Clown"
Hosted by Autism Ontario Durham Region Chapter
Heydenshore Pavilion, 589 Water Street, Whitby, ON
All  families welcome.Cost: $5/person to maximum $25/family for Autism Ontario Durham Region Chapter members; $7/person to maximum $35/family for non-members
Cost includes: choice of Lick's Homeburger, Nature Burger or Jumbo Hot Dog, drink, face painting, balloon art, kids' games and prizes, and one raffle ticket per person.
Durham Regional Police Services "Kidz Printz" program will be available for finger printing of children.
RSVP before August 7th. Call 1-866-495-4680 or e-mail autismdurham.Events@Gmail.com  Please leave name, phone number and number attending. Please note that child supervision at this event is the sole responsibility of parents/guardians.
Autism Ontario Durham Region Chapter's mission is "providing information, support and friendship to families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Durham Region". Visit our website

August 10-25, 2006 in Kingston (and perhaps other locations)
Second Spectrum Art Show
Offered by the Community Education and Awareness Team of Kerry's Place Autism Services, the show is designed to provide a unique experience for talented local artists with autism spectrum disorders to showcase artwork concurrently with providing education and awareness to local members of our community. As well as the three Kingston locations, the organizers hope to secure a spot at the Quinte Mall in Belleville, and perhaps other locations. We’ll add this information when it’s available.
Thursday 10 August 2006: 6-10 pm and
Friday 11 August 2006: 9am–12pm 
Community Room in Chapters Book Store Kingston, 2376 Princess Street
Friday 18 August 2006: 4-9pm 
Community Room Loblaws Supermarkets Limited, 1100 Princess Street
Thursday 24 August: 12–4pm
Friday 25 August 3:30 9:00pm
Cataraqui Town Centre Kingston, 945 Gardiner Road
Please contact Corina or Mark at spectrumart@gmail.com or call the office at 613 384 7800 with any concerns or questions: Community Education and Awareness Team
Kerry's Place Autism Services
556 O'Connor Drive, Suite 104
Kingston, ON K7P 1N3


August 21-23, 2006, in Guelph
Creating Collaborative Partnerships:
Community and Schools Working Together

Each day, 8:30 am to 3:00 pm
St. Michael Catholic Elementary School, 9 McElderry Road, Guelph
For professionals working with a Student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). NB: Not open to family members.
Click for program
Registration extended: It’s free but you must register
Click for registration form
Offered by Erinoak with Wellington Catholic District School Board and Upper Grand District School Board

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Cambridge Chapter of Autism Ontario
3rd Annual Golf Tournament
Support the dedicated group of volunteers who supply information, provides parent support, and advocates for programs and services to benefit the local autism community.
Location: Grand Valley Golf & Country Club, 1910 Roseville Rd, RR#2, Cambridge ON N1R 5S3, (519) 623-8811
Time:  Shotgun start at 7:30 am, registration begins at 7 am. Best ball format.
Cost:  Fee of $75 per person includes 18 holes of golf, a power cart, buffet luncheon and a $20 charitable tax receipt. Please make cheque payable to “Autism OntarioCambridge Chapter” and mail to 160 Hespeler Road Cambridge, ON N1R 6V7 no later than Friday, July 28, 2006.  We are limited to 144 golfers so please register early. http://www.cambridgeautism.org/ For more information: Dianne at 621-4839 cambridgeautism@rogers.com

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

Saturday, September 23, 2006
Golf Tournament for Charity to benefit Autism Ontario Durham Region Chapter
at Winchester Golf Club, 750 Winchester Road E., Brooklin, ON
6:00 a.m. Sign In; 7:00 a.m. Shot Gun start (to 3:00 p.m.)
Early Bird Registration and Payment by August 1st: $110/golfer
Registration and Payment Deadline by September 1st: $125/golfer
Fee includes: 18 holes of golf with power cart, steak lunch, tax receipt for portion of registration fee, door prize and gift bag for every golfer, contests, raffles, 50/50 draw, and silent auction
For registration, call (905) 862-0860 or e-mail autismdurham.Golf@Gmail.com
To sponsor a hole or donate prizes, please call Kathy Sima (905) 862-0860 or Susan Brady (905) 839-0798 or e-mail autismdurham.Golf@Gmail.com Details online at www.autismontario.com
All proceeds of tournament will benefit Autism Ontario Durham Region Chapter, whose mission is "providing information, support and friendship to families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Durham Region".

October 5-November 5, 2006, in Toronto
The Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life
By TAAP: The Autism Acceptance Project

Presentations by authors, parents, researchers and autistic people, with a variety of views
A gallery exhibition will be held from October 5 through November 5, 2006 at the Lonsdale Gallery.
Lectures by researchers will discuss recent studies of autistic cognitive abilities.
Clinicians and autistic people will present views based on their lives with autism.
Parent authors and advocates will talk about their journey.
Lectures on October 10, 11 and 12 at the Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal, Toronto JCC and on October 14 at the Lonsdale Gallery.
Panel discussion on October 16 at the Al Green Theatre including several autistic people, parents and researchers.
Full information & tickets at http://www.taaproject.com/

October 17, 2006, in Detroit
Behavior Solutions for Adolescents with Severely Limiting Autism
Maria Wheeler: Adolescence combined with severely limiting autism presents a unique challenge for the effected individual, families, educators and therapists. In this session, we will explore age appropriate interventions for addressing behavioral concerns including aggression, refusal to work, stripping, self-stimulation, ineffective communication, offensive communication, echolalia, sexual behavior, seizure-related behaviors, wandering, non-compliance and other behaviors that commonly interfere with social success and learning. Please click for more details

October 18,
2006, in Detroit
Transitioning to Adulthood
Peter Gerhardt: Increasing attention is being paid to needs of learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they enter adolescence and grow into adulthood. Where job placement was once considered desirable, now the goal is career development. Instead of residential placement, now there is talk of residential choices in support of quality of life. This workshop will provide an overview of this movement toward transition planning for competent adulthood. Social skills and sexuality will also be addressed in young adults with ASD. Please click for more details

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 this website for updates




Welcome to AutismConnects! Your portal into an online, worldwide, interactive autism community where people whose lives have been touched by autism spectrum disorders meet to share and discuss the latest news, resources, research, current trends and hot topics about autism spectrums disorders.

The AutismConnects community includes people with ASDs, their friends and family, educators and therapists, service providers, as well as researchers, legislators and volunteers; all with a desire to improve the health and quality of life and personal relationships of people with ASDs.

AutismConnects is a dynamic system.  As more individuals, service providers, agencies and friends become members, you will begin to see a map of Autism Services and Needs developing.  Please spread the word and invite your friends and service providers to share information for us, so we can share it with other families who are in need of services.

Benefits of joining AutismConnects include:

  • Celebrate! view artwork, music, poems, stories created by talented individuals with ASDs – submit your own!
  • Voting Discussion System
  • News – Heidi’s Picks
  • Information/Resources/Services: search in your area and list, rates services
  • Surveys/Polls
  • Join a forum, create a forum - your opportunity to discuss current areas of interest and trends – meet other people just like you! Find out what other people have done in similar situations or circumstances
  • Guide future research: provide researchers with valuable insight into how autism affects your life
  • Have your say in the development of a national and international autism strategy: let policy makers know what you think!
  • More to come!

Celebrate the spectrum today!  Read Jim's Story by his sister, Dr Jeanette Holden

AutismConnects is associated with the Autism Spectrum Disorders - Canadian American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC) Website

Autism Research Institute
DAN! Webcasts: http://www.danwebcast.com/
ARI general site that gives options to accessing DAN! 2006 Spring Conference
Upcoming DAN! Conferences: http://www.danconference.com/

** PLAN Institute Announces Cross-Canada Tour **

For the first time in history, children with disabilities are outliving their parents. This fall, The Ties That Bind National Tour visits communities from British Columbia to Newfoundland to give families the tools they need to secure the well-being of children with disabilities. The public is invited to a screening of the National Film Board documentary "The Ties That Bind," about one Ottawa family and their struggle to create a secure future for their son. Families can also attend a workshop to learn practical steps that they can take. For dates and locations, visit http://www.planinstitute.ca

From the National Autism Society (UK) website
What's it like to have autism or Asperger syndrome?
Read some real-life stories from people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs),
and find out what it can be like to live with someone with an ASD.

Next steps: a Scottish autism information resource
Next steps, compiled by NAS Scotland, aims to help parents plan for life after diagnosis and to raise awareness, for families and professionals, of autism issues.

Fun Learning Resources

Nancy Miles of Waterloo recommends these sites:

Animated geometric graphics site
Nancy is using this is a tool for teaching some youngsters with ASD to move the mouse,

Martin Waugh's photography of water sculptures

Never ending photomosaic



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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