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12 December 2006

How many people have autistic spectrum disorders?
"How many people have autism?" is one of the most frequently asked questions and unfortunately it is also one of the most difficult to answer. There is no central register of everyone who has autism, which means that any information about the possible number of people with autism in the community must be based on epidemiological surveys (ie studies of distinct and identifiable populations). This nice essay on the website of The National Autistic Society (UK) concludes that , for the UK, a prevalence rate of around 1 in 100 is a best estimate, which means 133,500 children under 18 and 454,400 adults.

Brain's fear center, autism may be linked

A smaller amygdala, or fear center, in the brain may be linked to autism in male
teens and social impairment in young men, two US studies say. In the first study, University of Wisconsin researchers examined participants' brains, specifically the amygdala, located deep in the brain. They found autistic teens had smaller amygdalas, HealthDay News said. They also found smaller amygdalas in young men who had difficulty differentiating between emotional and neutral facial expressions and were unable to make eye contact with another person, which indicate social impairment. In the related study, another University of Wisconsin research team found autism-free siblings of autistic children exhibited some of the same differences in amygdala size and in the way they look at faces and process that facial information.

Ped Med: The hunt for autism genes
"Having uncovered what they deem to be convincing evidence of genes' involvement in autism, scientific sleuths are now trying to hunt them down. Thus far, they have been unable to catch up to any predisposing gene, never mind the intricate genetic networks they think are likely responsible for the range of problems -- including language delays, learning disabilities and other developmental irregularities -- that often affect children with autism." Several autism genetics projects in the US are mentioned.

Oxytocin May Curb Repetitive Behaviours In Autism Disorders
Repetitive behaviour in autism spectrum disorders may be linked to oxytocin system abnormalities and may, in part, be reduced by synthetic oxytocin infusion. This is the suggestion of researchers in the United States following a study of oxytocin infusion in adults with autistic and Asperger's disorders at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. "Studies with animals have found that oxytocin plays a role in a variety of behaviors, including parent-child and adult-to-adult pair bonding, social memory, social cognition, anxiety reduction and repetitive behaviors," one of the team said in a statement.  Click for a CBC story about oxytocin.

Autism becomes a part of daily life in families
A good story about siblings of brothers with various degrees of autism.

Some Scientific abstracts in PubMed
Entrez PubMed
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Might Improve Certain Patho-physiological Findings In Autism
  • Observations from a Specific Carbohydrate Dietary Intervention In Two Children With Autism
  • Effect of Language and Task Demands on the Diagnostic Effectiveness of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule:
    The Impact of Module Choice.
  • Postnatal Development of The Primate Hippocampal Formation.
  • Use of Autism-Related Services by Families and Children.
  • Social and Communication Abilities and Disabilities in Higher Functioning Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders:
    The Vineland and the ADOS
  • A Longitudinal Study of Pretend Play in Autism.
  • Follow-up of Children Diagnosed w/ Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Stability and Change During the Preschool Years
  • Beyond Perception: Musical Representation and On-line Processing in Autism.
  • Effects of Circumscribed Interests on the Social Behaviors of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • The Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire.
  • Change in Autism Symptoms and Maladaptive Behaviors in Adolescents and Adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Amygdala Volume And Nonverbal Social Impairment In Adolescent And Adult Males With Autism.


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 holding 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."

Autism Society Canada Supports a National Autism Strategy



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).

From Family Alliance Ontario…No to ALL institutions!


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

Understanding Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome:
A lecture series presented by the Aspergers Society of Ontario

January 17, February 14, and March 14 2007
Auditorium, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Clarke Site
250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario
Mark the dates on your calendar and plan on attending all three days! Those that participate can expect to take away valuable information on Asperger Syndrome, how to recognize it in children, youth and adults and the role of the multi-disciplinary team in supporting the individual with Asperger Syndrome and their family.
 January 17, 2007
Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome
 February 14, 2007
Adults with Asperger Syndrome
 March 14, 2007
Multidisciplinary Interventions
 Speaker and registration information to follow shortly. Or monitor the website at

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

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.



Become a Member of AutismConnects

If you have not already, please become a member of AutismConnects! (click on the following link: http://asdcarc.com/index.php/publisher/articleview/frmArticleID/147/staticId/610/)

Dr Jeannette Holden invites everybody to show how useful our Virtual Community for Autism Spectrum Stakeholders is and will be.  Please pass the word to everybody you know.  Let's make this as large of a community as possible.  We need families, friends, researchers, trainees, students, support workers, service providers, organizations.

After you become a member, please login and contribute to "Celebrate" by sharing photos and artwork.  Please help us to populate our discussion forum.  AutismConnects will continue to evolve so please check back often.
The membership form only takes about a minute to complete!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact:
Melissa Hudson, BSc
ASD-CARC Research Assistant

The Asperger Syndrome Quarterly
Welcome to the second edition of Aspergers Society of Ontario, 293 Wychwood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario. M6C 2T6
Phone: (416) 651-4037 | Email: info@aspergers.ca

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

In the following letter, Shawn explains why he needs Passports funding to continue his education. If you can suggest any way to get help, please reply to OAARSN and we’ll pass along your message.

We have heard from a good many people and families with autism, who applied for but were not granted Passport funding. 

     On June 16, 1998, I graduated from the W. Ross Macdonald School, Brantford, Ontario.  This is a school for the blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind.  I had gone there for fourteen years.  Grades Kindergarten through Grade twelve.  I was assessed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder In 1996. 
     In the fall of 1999, I went into the college kickstart my college years  After an educational assessment, I was turned away.  I then enlisted the help of Action Read Community Literacy Centre.    I continue there now, but in a limited capacity.  I sat on the board two times since I started there, first from October 2000 until September 2003, second, from October 2004 until September 2005. 
     In September 2000, I began at Conestoga College.  I was there for 1 ½ years.  For the first year (September 2000-July 2001), I was making progress.  In September 2001, I could not attend college unless I had a tutor with me.  Until then, I was going to the college for 2 ½ hours on Mondays and Thursdays.  Time was then cut to only Thursdays.  This lasted until January 2002. 
     In the summer of 2002, I was given another shot at continuing my education when Jeff McLellan, who is an employee in the Supported Employment Program, a division of Community Living Guelph Wellington, informed me of a program at the Wellington Centre for Continuing Education.  I started there on August 12th, 2002 and ended on August 20th., 2002.  Two months later, on October 24th, 2002, he told me it was a complete trap.  After that date, no other attempt was made. 
     In December 2005, I once again met with the people at Conestoga College in Guelph and they agreed to schedule some assessments in the new year (2006).  These assessments were performed from February 14th through March 2nd
     Finally, on August 1st, 2006, I formally registered in my first-ever college program.  I was able to afford the fees and charges through a bursary from the Victoria Bloomfield Award, which was administered by the Board of Directors of Waterloo-Wellington Autism Services. 
        In September 2006, I started my first course in the WebMaster Certificate Program called Web Page Creation/Authoring using Microsoft FrontPage 2002 or later.  I have submitted the exam online on December 2nd, 2006.  The result was a 65. 
     I really want to continue my studies.  In August 2006, I made an application to the newly-created Passports Initiative of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, but on November 30, 2006, my request for funds was turned down.  Since it is December 2006, and classes are about to start in January, can anyone give me helpful suggestions on what I should do now?
             © 2006 Shawn Turner               

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