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19 February 2007


Autism Spectrum Disorders Far More Prevalent Than Thought
Data from a nationwide surveillance program conducted at sites in 14 states in 2002 suggest that the overall prevalence of ASD is about 6.6 per 1,000 eight-year-old children, ranging from a low of 3.3 per 1,000 in Alabama to a high of 10.6 per 1,000 in New Jersey, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigators reported in the Feb. 9 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (We note that, for past few years, epidemiologists in Britain have been reporting a prevalence of one person with ASD in every 91, or more than one per cent of the total population). Are Autism Cases on the Rise in U.S.? is a Washington Post comment on the news from increased prevalence of one child with ASD in every 150. The writer observes that we still don't know why increasing numbers seem affected by ASD, or indeed what can help most effectively.

International study finds new autism genetic links
The most extensive findings to date on the genetics of autism have been reported online in the jour­nal Na­ture Ge­net­ics, pinpointing two new genetic links that may predispose children to develop the complex brain disorder. The five-year study, led by an international consortium of researchers from 19 nations, indicated autism had numerous genetic origins rather than a single or a few primary causes. The researchers scoured DNA samples from 1,168 families with two or more children with autism, and used "gene chip" technology to detect genetic similarities. They also looked for tiny insertions and deletions of genetic material that could play a role in autism. The scientists hope that nailing down the genetics of autism will lead to better ways to diagnose it and focus efforts on developing drugs to treat it. They announced they are launching a new phase in the research to map genes responsible for autism.

Click for a Scottish account of this news
Or for the Globe and Mail story: Canadian breakthrough offers hope on autism

Scottish breakthrough gives hope of cure for Rett's Syndrome
Researchers focused on the MECP2 gene that causes the syndrome. They found that when this gene was activated in mice, which had been born with it switched off, symptoms such as breathing and mobility difficulties ceased. After four weeks, the mice were undistinguishable from healthy counterparts. The findings give impetus to ways of treating Rett syndrome and other disorders related to MECP2, including some forms of schizophrenia, learning disabilities and other autism spectrum disorders.

Ped Med: Seeing faces, autism in new light

Neuroscientists looking at faces from the brain's point of view are starting to see autism in a new light. researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington have come up with evidence that suggests the brain may not have developed a specific ability for understanding faces, as has long been thought. As reported in the journal Neuron, it appears to employ the same type of recognition techniques to distinguish between individuals as it does to separate out groups of objects, be they trees, boats or foxes. The researchers acknowledge the typical brain's uncanny knack for recognizing and reading a face. However, based on their experiments, they take issue with the common assumption that it calls on unique mechanisms to do so.

Ped Med: Autism tied to flawed cell armor

"A novel model of human brain development and degeneration implicates chinks in the fatty armor that coats the brain's internal wiring in such childhood developmental disorders as autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. From a review of scanned and autopsied brain tissue, the investigators said they unraveled the role of the insulation, called myelin, in these conditions. Laden with more cholesterol than any other brain component, the sheet of fat encases the spindly nerve-cell extensions called axons, permitting them to carry messages to their neighbors in the safety and security of their shield. The thicker and heavier the cells' coat, the faster and more effective their communication....  Without adequate insulation, cells won't connect properly, he said. He came to that conclusion after conducting a series of experiments that showed a breakdown in the sheath can expose the naked wiring beneath and open the gates to an array of neurological and behavioral problems."

Ped Med: Autism myths abound
Mainly a report of a special panel of experts was called to address the issue at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Bernard Rimland, 1928-2006

An appreciation by Chantal Sicile-Kira of the psychologist and father of a son with autism whose book, Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior (1964) would eventually changed the way autism was regarded.

Film chronicles boy's struggle with autism

BC filmmaker Marianne Kaplan has based her documentary,The Boy Inside, on the experience of her son Adam, who is 14 and has Asperger's. Shown on CBC Newsworld in Septemb, the film will be shown on the same channel April 3 and 7, on The Lens, beginning at 10 pm.

Dallas facility would let autistic adults live independently
Carolyn Garver, director of the Autism Treatment Center in far northeast Dallas, hopes to build a secure apartment community for high-functioning autistic adults who can live independently with occasional assistance from on-site staff members and support from the ATC. A federal grant would pay for the facility's construction and subsidize the rent for residents with low-paying or intermittent jobs.


Very little effort now goes into communication support for adults with autism, though communication is a key "deficit" oof autism. A big reason for this neglect has been the absence of funds for research and implementation. It would be great if this new initiative could help to turn that around, and if Canada could be somehow involved:
Nancy Lurie Marks Foundation: Fostering Knowledge and Community for Autism and Beyond
The NLM Family Foundation announces the availability of research funds for projects aimed at investigating communication difficulties, capacities and options for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Deadline for receipt of Letters of Intent is March 15, 2007.
See for general information on the foundation: http://www.nlmfoundation.org/
To see the detailed announcement which states that researchers outside the US are eligible to apply and explicitly encourages research in Supported Communicating and FC: http://www.ont-autism.uoguelph.ca/NLM-Communication-Research.pdf



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 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.

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

February 15-March 30, 2007, in Etobicoke
Laser Eagles Gallery Show
Inclusiveness, artistic expression, and unique community partnerships come together in the Laser Eagles Exhibition, on display at the Arts Etobicoke Gallery February 15 to March 30, 2007.
The show features over 40 paintings by 11 artists who are members of The Laser Eagles Art Guild, an organization which provides creative opportunities to individuals whose bodies are limited in mobility and who do not communicate in typical ways.

Six Wednesday evenings, starting Jan 17:: 6-9pm in Oshawa
Keeping People Safe From Harm:
Gentle and Compassionate Caregiving Practices
A six-week introductory series by Felicia Jervis
Key caregiving principles include: bonding and companionship; avoiding power and control over others; a focus on personal connections; a celebration of equality, mutuality, and reciprocity.
Click for brochure with more details 
For further information about Gentle Teaching, visit www.gentleteaching.com

January 17, February 14, and March 14, 2007
Understanding Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome:
A lecture series presented by the Aspergers Society of Ontario

Auditorium, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Clarke Site
250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario
Those who 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, 2007Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome
 February 14, 2007Adults with Asperger Syndrome
 March 14, 2007 : Multidisciplinary Interventions
Click for speaker and registration information
Monitor the website at

Regional Support Associates
RSA (based in Woodstock) "provides services to adults with a developmental disability. The staff have clinical expertise and training in Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Nursing, Speech Pathology, Behaviour Therapy, and Developmental Services. Services are offered to the individual, their families and agencies supporting them in their community."
Click for RSA Workshop Calendar, January to March 2007

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

25 February 2007, all day, in Durham Region
Reflecting on Support Workers
Through story telling and dialogue, Judith McGill will help you reflect on how to
get the most out of your Support Worker and how to build a supportive context for their work.
In the Family Leadership Series of Families for a Secure Future
Click on the title for more and how to register.

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.

March 8, 2007, in Guelph
Wellington Agency Information Fair
For Families & Individuals with Disabilities to get information about:
-inclusive & specialized recreation opportunities
-summer day & overnight camps
-year-round sports, art, music and dance programs
-agencies providing services (ex. Mental Health)
-government programs (ODSP, ACSD)
-respite care programs (Hopewell Homes, CLGW)
-case management services
-work and volunteering services
Click for full details

March 21, in Hamilton
Concurrent Disorders Family Forum
Afternoon for clinical staff, evening for families of clients with concurrent disorders.
Free bur registration required
Contact: Cheryl Vrkljan

Project ConsultantPolicy, Education & Health Promotion
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
20 Hughson Street South, Suite 804
Hamilton, ON  L8N 2A1
Tel: (905) 525-1250 ext. 8156
Toll Free: 1-888-857-2876
Fax: 905-527-6957

March 29, 2007, in London UK

Mental Health and People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Over recent years there has been a growing interest in autistic spectrum disorders. This conference will concentrate on the mental health issues, an area that is often neglected in other conferences. The day will offer an opportunity to hear from a number of experts in the field and will provide plenty of time for discussion.
People with autistic spectrum disorders are vulnerable to developing mental health problems and the conference will explore issues of assessment, intervention and service delivery. People with autistic spectrum disorders span the range of intellectual functioning and some groups may fall between services, the issue will also be discussed.
Click on title for details

March 29 & 30, 2007, in Ottawa
Autism Awareness Centre Inc. presents two workshops
CAROL KRANOWITZ: Functional Fun for the Out-of-Sync Child
KARI DUNN BURON: Understanding Social Cognition and Its Impact On Autism Spectrum Disorders
Click for full information and how to register
Visit the AAC website

May 10, in London Ontario
Autism Ontario London Chapter presents
Temple Grandin at Centennial Hall, London

Click on link to reach information about admission prices.

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:

E-mail: president@autismeurope.org
Do not miss this opportunity to contribute to take part in ‘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.



Children with Starving Brains, a Medical Treatment Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorder
The book with this title has sold 35,000 copies since its first printing in 2002. Its author, Dr Jaquelyn McCandless, M.D. has completed the new 3rd edition which will begin mailing from her office this week. This edition is completely updated with contributions by Teresa Binstock on Gastrointestinal Issues and Toxins, Jack Zimmerman on Education and Community (and poems too!), Derrick Lonsdale on TTFD, Michael Elice (from Dr Marvin Boris' office) on Actos, Richard Deth on New Methylation Science, Cynthia Schneider on Genomics, Jim Neubrander on HBOT, Susan Owens on Low-Oxalate Diet, and Low-Dose Naltrexone and much more throughout the book
is of course discussed by Dr McCandless.
Purchasing the new edition from www.starvingbrains.com gets the buyer an invitation to Dr. McCandless' yahoo groups e-mail list. It can also be purchased from ARI (Autism Research Institute). Proceeds of sales from either ARI or Dr McCandless' website go for autism research. Amazon and other bookstores will have the book in 4-6 weeks.

The latest special issue of Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities
contains articles by several Canadian researchers. Link for Volume 37, Number 1 / January, 2007 is http://www.springerlink.com/content/um8x33j01000/  Seventeen articles may be read on-line at this link in pdf or HTML format. A good way to get a quick overview of the studies, conclusions and the key issues raised is by reading the Editorial Preface, The Very Early Autism Phenotype, by Nurit Yirmiya and Sally Ozonoff.

Families Matter Co-op
Read the February 2007 newsletter of this Ottawa-based "member-driven, not-for-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of people with developmental disabilities, their families and their friends."


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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