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1 December 2006


Bernard Rimland dies at 78
Dr Rimland was most famous for starting to dispel the earlier explanation of autism as caused by poor parenting and "refrigerator mothers" with his
1964 book "Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory  of Behavior." A psychometric specialist by training, he had never heard of autism before his first son Mark was diagnosed with the disorder in about 1960. Around the edges of his day job for the Navy in San Diego, Rimland began epidemiological studies and research into nutritional supplements. He co-founded what is now the Autism Society of America.When he retired from the Navy in 1985, he further developed the Autism Research Institute that he had founded in 1967. He was a technical advsor for the movie Rainman and a vociferous campaigner for the benefits of behavioural therapy. Rimland supported the thesis that vaccinations and environmental contaminants have had some role in triggering autism and in causing an "autism epidemic."
a 2002 profile: Dr Bernard Rimland is autism's worst enemy
Autism World Loses A Giant: Bernard Rimland
Structural Brain Abnormality Found in Autistic Children

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine transverse relaxation (T2) of cortical gray and white matter in the brains of 60 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found their brains were structurally different from children with typical brain development (TD) or those with idiopathic developmental delay (DD).
"We've discovered that very young children with autism have larger brains that are less mature than children with typical [brain] development with respect to cortical gray matter," principal investigator Stephen Dager, MD, told Medscape. In addition, he said, these data, which show delayed development of gray matter, contradict previous theories that autism is characterized by accelerated normal brain growth.
The study is published in the August 22, 2006 issue of Neurology.

Professor challenges autism assumption

The conventional wisdom that children with autism are often mentally retarded may be wrong, according to research by a Willamette University professor. Meredyth Goldberg Edelson, trained as a clinical child psychologist, has discovered that decades of literature linking autism with retardation were based on flawed assertions or contained no empirical research at all.

Ped Med: The biological factor in autism
Researchers are unearthing mounting evidence of the immune system`s involvement in autism. Hints that the body`s disease-fighting mechanisms play a role in autism first surfaced in 1986, but these studies were small and the results inconclusive so that what now appears a logical concept didn`t catch on until more recently, said David Amaral, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine and Medical Center and M.I.N.D. research director.

Ped Med: Autism research shifts to biology
Researchers endeavoring to track autism to its core are shifting more of their attention from psychology to biology.
For example...autopsy studies have revealed changes in cerebral structure, and clinical trials have pointed to neurophysiologic differences in information processing in youngsters with the disorder. Other investigators have detected alterations present at birth in brain-produced, protein-like molecules called neuropeptides in children who went on to develop conditions that fall under the umbrella term of autism spectrum disorders.

Researchers in Texas Launch Autism Study Using Protein Supplement
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Immunotec Research Ltd. have initiated a study in which a specially formulated whey protein isolate (Immunocal)will be used to raise glutathione levels in an attempt to lessen symptoms of autism.

Who May Be Literate?: Disability and Resistance to the Cultural Denial of Competence
Article in the American Educational Research Journal, Summer 2006, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 163-192, by Chris Kliewer, Douglas Biklen, and Christi Kasa-Henderson who use ethnography and archives to examine themes associated with the denial of literate citizenship for people with perceived intellectual disabilities.

The authors link this denial to the experiences of other devalued and marginalized groups to challenge the common perception that citizenship in the literate community is an organic impossibility for people defined as intellectually disabled. Their argument is that access to literacy is dramatically and specifically affected by educational environments and by assumptions and practices of educators. The authors conclude by speculating on the moral shift necessary in society to establish a science of literacy for all.

Fordham Hosts “Autism and Advocacy"
A more detailed account of issues raised at Lincoln Center’s McNally Amphitheatre on October 27 during a daylong conference “Autism and Advocacy: A Conference of Witness and Hope.” The conference addressed different aspects of the developmental disorder and its effect on autistic persons and their families, and was sponsored by the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. The event’s benefactors included John Tognino, chairman of the Fordham Board of Trustees, and his wife, Norma Tognino. More than 200 people, including educators, activists and parents of autistic children, attended three sessions involving clergy, academics and advocates. Gloria Pearson-Vasey of Ontario was one of the panelists.

Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks Announce Plans to Combine Operations
The memorandum of understanding unites "the nation's two leading autism organizations and their cutting-edge programs for research, biomedical treatment and advocacy."


Health Minister Tony Clement Announces new Initiatives on Autism Spectrum Disorders

A new federal research chair will look at effective treatments and interventions for autism, the federal government announced on Tuesday.
Health Minister Tony Clement announced four other projects to bolster information and monitoring, and to share best practices on autism or autism spectrum disorder – a neuropsychiatric disorder that affects aptitude for communication and personal interaction.
"Thousands of Canadians and their families are suffering, and as a result our society needs to act now to help fill the knowledge gaps," Clement said. The programs are expected to cost about $800,000.
The other measures are:
  • An autism surveillance program to shape research.
  • A stakeholder symposium in 2007.
  • A new web page on autism on Health Canada's website.
  • Designating the health policy branch of Health Canada as the lead agency for actions related to autism.

A National Autism Strategy?
An important vote will be held next week in Canada's Parliament.
Advocates note that while "the Motion is not binding and not law, but it is a critical first step in getting our children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder what they need.

Motion M-172 as amended November 27, 2006--to be voted on December 5, 2006 by Parliament:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should create a national strategy for autism spectrum disorder that would include:
(a) the development, in cooperation with provincial/territorial governments, of evidence based standards for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder;
(b) development, in cooperation with provincial governments, of innovative funding methods for the care of those with autism spectrum disorder;
(c) consulting with provincial/territorial governments and other stakeholders on the requirements of implementing a national surveillance program for autism spectrum disorders; and
(d) the provision of additional federal funding for health research into autism spectrum disorder.

Meanwhile, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has been holidng hearings described as an "inquiry on the issues of funding for the treatment of autism and discussions around a national autism strategy."
For those of us with long experience and long memories, it is momentous that the Canadian Senate should be discussing what might be done by the federal government to help people and families who live with autism. Most of the focus of these hearings is on autism in children, but professional witnesses at the third of the meetings do refer to issues that concern autistic adults and their families.

Click for transcripts of the evidence on
November 2, 2006

November 8, 2006

November 9, 2006

See also Brief to the Senate Inquiry on Funding for Autism Treatment by Dr Peter Szatmari Director of the Offord Centre for Child Studies and Founding Member of the Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network (CAIRN),  November 22, 2006. Dr Szatmari stresses children and calls for increased rresearch funding, concluding "It’s all a function of trusting what science can do for us, and applying that science to the everyday lives of these children."



Important New Releases from the Individualized Funding Coalition for Ontario
IFCO is pressing purposefully to persuade the Ontario Government to move ahead in implementing
the new directions announced in Opportunities and Action – Transforming Supports In Ontario for People who have a Developmental Disability  IFCO members are meeting with Ontario Ministers, members of Treasury Board and MPPs this month.

Rationale for Independent Planning and Facilitation: Why MCSS Should Move Quickly
This document presents nine rationales for independent planning and facilitation which will help build a sustainable, innovative, cost effective direct individualized funding program.  With this document, IFCO calls on MCSS to move ahead with independent planning and facilitation as a vital infrastructure to ensure the success of direct funding.

EXTRA!!! Common Vision EXTRA!!!
A news summary including excerpts from interviews with leaders in the social change movement.

~~~~~~newly posted ~~~~~~~
Investments That Will Make a Difference

This document is a must read!  It clearly explains the important considerations for investing tax payer dollars in Direct  Individualized Funding and Independent Planning and Facilitation.   This document is an excellent resource for people to take with them when they meet with MPP's as they try to help move Individualized Funding and Independent Planning and Facilitation forward.

IFCO issues are vital for Ontario. Look up the many current resources on the IFCO website.


Disability advocates are very upset to learn that the Ontario Government (through the Ministries of Community and Social Services and Health and Long-Term Care) has made plans for adults with a developmental disability and relatively high needs to be admitted to long-term care facilities instead of opening community living opportunities for them. Advocates of inclusion and community living see a discrepancy between this new "access protocol" and the values and strategies discussed in the MCSS "transformation process" for developmental services since mid-2004.
Read the Ministries' Access Protocol (July 2006)
Read a letter of serious concerns by Shelley Martel MPP
Read Doublespeak, a critique by Dr Patricia Spindel
(we have permission to share this).



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

Friday, December 8th, 2006, 9:30 – 3:30
Presented by J. Dale Munro, MSW, RSW, FAAMR, Clinical Supervisor; Dr. Lillian Burke, Ph.D., C. Psych, psychologist, of Regional Support Associates
Location: Elmhurst Inn, Ingersoll
Cost: $45

To register for RSA workshops or training please contact:
Jayne Joyes - Administrative Assistant   (519) 421-4248
Toll Free: 1-800-640-4108  Fax: 421-4249
or email Jayne Joyes at: jjoyes@wgh.on.ca

January 25 - 27, 2007,  in San Diego

Learning to Listen: Personalizing Supports Across the Life-Span
Conference topics include
  • The role of movement differences/disturbances in communication and behavior challenges
  • Pitfalls of literal interpretation of behavior: Successful interactions with individuals whose unconventional ways of communicating make you think they are not listening and wouldn’t understand
  • Sensory-movement issues and stress
  • Personalizing accommodations and life options for meaningful inclusion.
  • Panels of parents and of self-advocates who address the processes and supports that make a real difference in their lives
Conference presenters
Anne M. Donnellan, Ph.D.
Martha R. Leary, M.A., CCC-SLP
Jeff Strully, Ph.D.
Jodi A. Robledo, Ph.D.
Panel of Parents and Self-Advocates
Click for Winter Autism Conference details

8-10 February 2007, in Herning, Denmark

Welcome to Meeting of Minds 2 - A conference on autism and related disorders

Social Cognition and Emotion in Autism and Related Disorders - A Multidimensional Approach - Research and Practice
Keynote speakers include
Daniel Stern, Uta Frith, Simon Baron-Cohen, Peter Hobson, Paul Harris, Stephen von Tetzchner, Hans-Christoph Steinhausen, Anthony Wigram
For more details, visit: http://www.meetingofminds2.dk/

March 1-4, 2007

Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress 2007
Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Lifespan
Leading experts on autism spectrum disorders, from England, Canada, and the United States, will focus on ways to improve the quality of life for the affected individuals and their families/caregivers by conducting presentations in the areas of educational and biomedical interventions, research, adjunct therapies, diet and nutrition, and family issues.

Speakers include Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, Dr. Phillip DeMio, Dr. Stephen Shore, Shannon Kenitz, Dr. Lauren Underwood, Dr. Barry Prizant, Stan Kurtz, Dr. Diane Twachtman-Cullen, Dr. Teresa Bolick, Dr. William Shaw, and plus more experts in the field of autism.
This theme reflects the reality that autism spectrum disorders present an evolving set of personal, familial, societal, and therapeutic issues as affected individuals pass from infancy, childhood through adolescence, adulthood, and finally old age.
Adopting a life-span perspective is a fundamental requirement for developing a set of comprehensive services to individuals and families who are dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

For the entire schedule, click here.

May 23 – 27, 2007, Sheraton Centre Toronto

2nd International Come To Your Senses Conference

Opening the Sensory World to Children & Adults with Complex Disabilities

By MukiBaum Treatment Centres

Call for Papers NOW OPEN!

We invite professionals, parents, caregivers, persons with disabilities, researchers and consumers to present on a wide array of topics within the realm of Sensory-Motor Therapy and people with disabilities.  The goal is to share and disseminate knowledge and experience from around the world so that we can better understand the Sensory Reality of people with disabilities and the many forms of treatment that exist. 

If you are interested in presenting at our conference, visit the website at www.mukibaum.com and click on the link for Submit Paper. The complete details and rules for submission are outlined on the website.

Registration is now at http://www.sensoryconference.ca/ and you can take advantage of Early Bird rates.  There will be opportunities for you and your organization to exhibit, become a sponsor of the event and participate in a number of activities throughout the conference.

June 15 & 16, 2007

2007 Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference
Acceptance and Opportunities: See the Potential

A conference that will explore best practices and approaches for increasing quality of life, opportunities and independence. Save the Date! Friday, June 15 & Saturday, June 16, 2007 Toronto, Ontario
Member and Early Bird Registration discounts are available.
Keep an eye on www.autismontario.com for more information to be released in the coming months.

31 August, 1 & 2 September 2007, in Oslo, Norway
8th International Congress Autism Europe

Abstract submission, registration and further Congress information:

Delegates are invited to share their knowledge, skills and expertise on a range of topics intended to promote the practical outcomes, values and implications of research in terms of its contribution to the quality of life and development of persons with ASD.
-      keynote symposia and discussion
-      poster presentations linked to main themes
-      opportunities for new generation researchers and operators in the field of autism to present their work
For further information and details regarding submissions, please visit the Congress website: http://www.autismcongressoslo.org/comweb.asp?ID=1&segment=1&session=
E-mail: president@autismeurope.org

Do not miss this opportunity to contribute to opening up ‘a World of Possibilities’ for people with autism and their families, view the 4th International Art Exhibition of Persons with Autism and to visit Oslo and its charming surroundings.



Geneva Centre for Autism's International Symposium
It's not too late to purchase the full compilation CD-ROM for 2006.  Listen once again to a motivating informative address or hear for the first time a compelling session you may have missed.
Order the full CD-ROM compilation, which contains the audio recorded LIVE of all sessions synchronized to PowerPoint (as released for inclusion). For additional information please call the toll free number below.

Order Audio CDs or MP3 files today for your education and enrichment:
Online: http://www.softconference.com/061025
By Phone: 1-888-711-1138 ext. 222 (Toll Free)
Please mention conference code 061025 when calling

Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association
has a new website address:http://www.chta.ca/



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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