Friday, July 13, 2007

Autism News Articles June 18-28th 2007

Autism News Articles
June 18-28th 2007

Brenda Deskin will send our messages of thanks to Eugene Levy, which of course is very encouraging for him for doing such an event such as yesterday. Please ask people to send their thoughts on the event - they can send them to me - and I will forward to Brenda for sharing with Eugene .

Education assistants face layoff
Windsor Star

Jun 20, 2007
Page: A3
Section: News
Edition: Final
Byline: Monica Wolfson

The Catholic school board will lay off as many as 20 education
assistants to balance the 2007-08 budget.

"Staff reductions are part of what we are considering," said Mario
Iatonna, superintendent of business for the Windsor Essex Catholic
District School Board. "But we don't know the numbers."

According to the collective bargaining agreement with CUPE 1358, which
represents education assistants, union members must be notified of job
reductions ahead of time. Union representative Pat Holland could not be
reached for comment. Iatonna said he didn't know if all of those who
pink slips would lose their jobs.

Trustees will vote on a budget Monday night.

"A teacher's time is already spread thinly," said one education
assistant who asked that her name not be used. She's worked for the
Catholic board for six years.

"All the time (the teacher) is dealing with these children with special
needs, it's taking away from the classroom," the education assistant
said. "The classes will suffer if there are no assistants to tend to
needs of these students."

There are about 275 education assistants that work in elementary and
high schools in the Catholic board. Education assistants with between
four and six years of experience received termination notices effective
July 2. Several assistants were let go two years ago only to be called
back to work in August. Education assistants help in classrooms with
special needs students who are autistic, learning disabled or have Down

The Catholic school board faces similar budgetary issues as the public
board, which eliminated 38 positions -- mostly early childhood
-- last week. Enrolment is declining and primary class size caps of 20
students to one teacher reduce the need for teaching assistants in
primary classes.

"We are still trying to feel our way through the budget," Iatonna said.
The board has a $900,000 budget deficit for the 2006-07 school year
trustees must make up before approving the 2007-08 budget.

"The Ministry of Education has indicated we have to balance this year's
budget and can't carry over the deficit," Iatonna said. "We are making
cuts, deferring projects and programs."

From a Listmate:
An interesting read................
Robert F. Kennedy- on AUTISM SPEAKS, and Katie Wright

The poisonous public attacks on Katie Wright this week -- for revealing that her
autistic son Christian (grandson of NBC Chair Bob Wright), has recovered
significant function after chelation treatments to remove mercury -- surprised
many observers unfamiliar with the acrimonious debate over the
mercury-based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. But the patronizing attacks on
the mothers of autistic children who have organized to oppose this brain-killing
poison is one of the most persistent tactics employed by those defending
Thimerosal against the barrage of scientific evidence
linking it to the epidemic of pediatric neurological disorders, including
autism. Mothers of autistics are routinely dismissed as irrational, hysterical,
or as a newspaper editor told me last week, "desperate to find the reason for
their children's illnesses," and therefore, overwrought and disconnected.

But my experience with these women is inconsistent with those patronizing
assessments. Over the past two years I've met or communicated with several
hundred of these women. Instead of a desperate mob of irrational hysterics, I've
found the anti-Thimerosal activists for the most part to be calm, grounded and
extraordinarily patient. As a group, they are highly educated. Many of them are
doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, pharmacists, psychologists, Ph.D.s and other
professionals. Many of them approached the
link skeptically and only through dispassionate and diligent investigation
became convinced that Thimerosal-laced vaccines destroyed their children's
brains. As a group they have sat through hundreds of meetings and scientific
conferences, and studied research papers and medical tests. They have networked
with each other at meetings and on the Web. Along the way they have stoically
endured the abuse routinely heaped upon them by the vaccine industry and public
health authorities and casual dismissal by reporters and editors too lazy to do
their jobs.

Many of these women tell a story virtually identical to Katie Wright's -- I have
now heard or seen this grim chronology recounted hundreds of times in
conversations, e-mails and letters from mothers: At 2-1/2 years old, Christian
Wright exceeded all milestones. He had 1,000 words, was toilet-trained, and
enjoyed excellent social relations with his brother and others. Then his
pediatrician gave him Thimerosal-laced vaccines. He cried all night, developed a
fever and, over the coming months, this smart, healthy child disappeared.
Christian lost the ability to speak, to interact with family members, to make
eye contact or to point a finger. He engaged in stereotypical behavior --
screaming, head-banging, biting and uncontrolled aggression, and suffers
continuously the agonizing pain of gastrointestinal inflammation.

After hearing that story a couple dozen times, a rational person might do some
more investigation. That's when one encounters the overwhelming science --
hundreds of research studies from dozens of countries showing the undeniable
connection between mercury and Thimerosal and a wide range of neurological
illnesses. In response to the overwhelming science, CDC and the pharmaceutical
industry ginned up four European studies designed to disguise the link between
autism and Thimerosal. Their purpose was to
provide plausible deniability for the consequences of their awful decision to
allow brain-killing mercury to be injected into our youngest children. Those
deliberately deceptive and fatally flawed studies were authored by vaccine
industry consultants and paid for by Thimerosal producers and published largely
in compromised journals that neglected to disclose the myriad conflicts of their
authors in violation of standard peer-review
ethics. As I've shown elsewhere [see], these studies
were borderline fraud, using statistical deceptions to mislead the public and
regulatory community.

The CDC and IOM base their defense of Thimerosal on these flimsy studies, their
own formidable reputations, and their faith that journalists won't take the time
to critically read the science. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats are simultaneously
using their influence, energies and clout in a desperate bid to derail and
defund and suppress any scientific study that may verify the link between
Thimerosal and brain disorders. These would include epidemiological studies of
the Amish-home-schooled kids and other unvaccinated American cohorts. The
federal agencies have refused to release the massive public health information
accumulated in their Vaccine Safety Database (VSD) in order to keep independent
scientists from reviewing
evidence that could prove the link. They are muzzling or blackballing scientists
who want to conduct such studies.

Ironically, it is the same voices that once blamed autism on "bad parenting,"
and "uninvolved" moms that are now faulting these mothers for being too

Due to this campaign of obfuscation and public deception, Thimerosal-based
vaccines continue to sicken millions of children around the world and potential
treatments -- like the chelation that benefited Christian Wright -- are kept out
of the hands of the mainstream doctors now treating autistic kids with less
effective tools. Like thousands of other mothers of autistic children, Katie
Wright knows what sickened her child. Her efforts to spare other children and
families this catastrophe, deployed with a cool head and calm demeanor, are
truly heroic. Maybe it's time we all started listening. Maybe it's time to start
respecting and honoring the maternal instincts and hard study of Katie and
others by aggressively funding the studies that might verify or dispute them.

"Being Gabriel"
Some books speak to you before you open them: a title, an image, an
author, a blurb. Sometimes, this turns out to be a lovely bit of
serendipity. Sometimes, the promise comes to naught. But at least you might come
to a book that would otherwise pass you by.

From a listmate
CTV NewsNet - Thursday, June 21 2007 - 07:00 (Local) - Segment #1

CTV NewsNet - Thursday, June 21 2007 - 07:30 (Local) - Segment #2

Golf fundraiser for autism
Regina LeaderPost

Jun 21, 2007
(Too late, sorry)
Page: C6
Section: Sports
Edition: Final
The Shooting Stars Foundation's Golf Gala FORE Charity -- a fundraiser for autism awareness -- is to be held Saturday to Monday.
Shooting Stars has been founded by Regina-born NHLers Mike Sillinger (New York Islanders) and Jamie Heward (Los Angeles Kings). They will be among the prominent figures at a celebrity autograph session, to begin Saturday, 6 p.m., at Casino Regina's Central Hall. The auction is open to members of the general public.
Also on Saturday, the Shooting Stars Celebrity Poker Tournament is to be held, with proceeds going to charity. The poker players will include Derek Boogaard (Minnesota Wild), Chris Campoli (New York Islanders), Bruno Gervais (Islanders), Brett Clark (Colorado Avalanche), Boyd Kane (Philadelphia Flyers), Brooks Laich (Washington Capitals), Brian Sutherby (Capitals), Garth Murray (Montreal Canadiens) and NHL referee Mick McGeough.
The poker tournament is to begin Saturday, 7 p.m., at Casino Regina's Coach Room. There is a $100 buy-in registration fee. Space is limited to 100 players. Tickets are available at the Casino Regina box office. An NHL player will be at every table.
As well, a silent auction is to begin Saturday, 3 p.m., at Casino Regina. The auction winners will be announced Sunday night at The Press Box (909 Albert St.)
The three-day event is to conclude Monday with a golf tournament at the Royal Regina Golf Club. The shotgun start is slated for 1 p.m.
For more information, call 596-8880 or e-mail

rovince must reveal cost of autism lawsuit: NDP
Updated Tue. Jun. 19 2007 3:00 PM ET
Canadian Press
TORONTO -- The Ontario government's willingness to go to court rather than reveal how much it spent on fighting an autism treatment lawsuit shows it cares less about children and more about covering its tracks, opposition critic Shelley Martel said Monday.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard arguments Monday about a request under the province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to reveal how much the government spent defending a lawsuit filed by parents of autistic children.
The government doesn't want to reveal how much it spent on legal fees, when that money - perhaps as much as $1.5 million - could have helped so many kids instead, Martel, a New Democrat, said outside the court.
"The public has a right to know how much money the McGuinty Liberals have spent fighting children with autism and their parents in court,'' Martel said.
Ontario's information and privacy commissioner ordered that the total cost be released earlier this year, but the government launched a court challenge of that decision.
On Monday, Crown lawyers argued those fees fall under solicitor-client privilege and shouldn't be disclosed. They told the court that disclosing the fee would set a precedent that would apply to all lawyers and their clients across the province.
The Crown also said individual fees are spread across some 2,000 pages of documents, and pulling out a single total figure would not be simple.
The core issue of the lawsuit was access to specialized treatment in school for autistic children, which can cost from $30,000 to $80,000 per child each year.
Families who say they've spent their savings and taken extra jobs to pay for the treatment filed suit in 2004, alleging the government failed the children by not providing access to the treatment in school.

Autism legal bill still a secret: Martel; Ont. government won't reveal cost of treatment lawsuit

Michael Oliveira / CP
Ontario - Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Updated @ 7:23:44 AM

The Ontario government spent another day in court Monday arguing why its legal bill for fighting an autism treatment lawsuit should stay secret, which means even more money has been wasted on lawyers rather than helping kids, the opposition said.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard arguments about a request under the province's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to reveal how much the government spent defending against a lawsuit filed by parents of autistic children.

Ontario's information and privacy commissioner had ordered that the total cost be released earlier this year, but the government launched a court challenge of that decision.
The government doesn't want to reveal how much it spent on legal fees because that money - perhaps as much as $1.5 million - could have helped so many kids instead, said New Democrat Shelley Martel, who originally filed the request for information in 2004.

It's particularly embarrassing for the government because Premier Dalton McGuinty broke a promise made in 2003 to make autism treatment widely available, she said.

"A great deal of money has been spent - squandered in my estimation - fighting these families, when if he had kept his promise, the families would have gotten the (treatment) that they needed and there wouldn't have been a court case," she said.

Crown lawyers said the government's legal bill is covered by solicitor-client privilege and shouldn't be disclosed. They told the court that disclosing the fee would set a precedent that would apply to all lawyers and their clients across the province.

But lawyers for Martel and Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian argued that legal costs don't fall within the rules of solicitor-client privilege. Even if a figure could help determine how many hours lawyers worked on the case, or how much money was spent on expert witnesses, that's not privileged information, said William Challis, who was representing Cavoukian.

Martel also had the support of Conservative Leader John Tory, who appeared at the courthouse to show his solidarity for her case.

"I think this issue goes well beyond partisanship," Tory said.

Enthusiasm, confidence make Raleigh Seldon a natural counsellor
Jun 22, 2007 04:30 AM
Leslie Ferenc

From the moment she finished her last exam, Raleigh Seldon has had one thing on her mind – going to camp.
It always marks the beginning of her summer holiday and this year promises to be one of the best yet for the 15-year-old.
In a few days, Seldon will be heading to the wide-open spaces of Camp Kennebec. But this summer, she won't be boarding the bus as a camper.
She's "graduated" and is looking forward to an important rite of passage – two weeks as a volunteer CIT.
That's camp lingo for counsellor in training. Seldon's dreamed of that from the time she set foot at the camp on the shores of Bull Lake six years ago. The training will bring her an important step closer to the ultimate job of many teens – spending a whole summer at camp working as a counsellor.
For her, there's no better place than Kennebec, one of 103 camps supported by the Fresh Air Fund this year.
"It's a very cool environment to be in," the Grade 11 student at Greenwood College School said of the 364-hectare camp – a wilderness getaway for children with special needs, including Tourettes, autism, and those with learning, social and behavioural challenges, as well as developmental difficulties.
While there, she'll focus on understanding the challenges her young charges face, helping them build new skills and meeting their needs to ensure their camp experience is unforgettable.
Seldon is no stranger to kids who face challenges. Her brother Cooper, 18, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He registered at Kennebec about six years ago after mainstream camps failed to meet his needs.
"I decided I wanted to go to camp, too," Seldon said. "I'm really glad I did. ... There's a real sense of community."
And at Kennebec, everyone's equal – able or disabled. It's what she loves most.
From the start, Seldon said she found herself taking on a leadership role, reaching out to help when it was needed.
Her enthusiasm, confidence and positive attitude are contagious and make kids feel comfortable – just the qualities of a good CIT.
"I try to lead by example," she said.
From a Listmate
Ask Lindsay Moir:
'Timeout Room': School safety and child rights
Friday, June 22, 2007
Our son has some behaviours which are erratic and occasionally, unpredictable. We share some of the concerns that the school has about behaviour management. On the whole though, his behaviour can be managed by people who can see his anxiety building and divert him early.
We were recently shocked to find out that he spends most (if not all) of his time in a special "timeout room" with an EA. We had agreed to that, as part of a behaviour management plan, he could be removed to this area to calm him down when the classroom was "too much" for him to handle. Our understanding was this was just a short "sensory break" then he would return to his class with support.
It appears that the school and board team has, on their own, decided to use the space pre-emptively . . . "when he is in there he CAN'T hurt anyone." We noticed an escalation in the number of behavioural incidents and the number of calls to take him home.
It is our opinion that this isolation is, in fact, the cause of his behavioural escalation — of course, the increase in bad behaviour is raising a lot of safety concerns. There is a great difference of opinion between the board psychologist's perception (based on justifying the staff decisions, and maintaining the isolation strategy which they like) and our private and community behaviour resources (who believe that this practice needs to cease).
Can a school over-rule our trusted support team and simply arbitrarily impose THEIR plan?
ps: He is NOT locked in the room, therefore it is not officially a Timeout Room, under the Child and Family Services Act - it is technically "an Alternate Learning Setting" according to board staff.
ANSWER: (after a telephone chat)
In your IPRC your son's current Grade 2 placement was "Regular Classroom with Resource Assistance." This current "Alternate Learning Setting" contradicts this. You have had a "change of placement" without an IPRC. Ask to have a reconvened IPRC immediately.
Balancing the school's Safety concerns with your son's rights and needs is a complex operation -your son's erratic and sometimes "unpredictable" behaviour causes the staff to move into a "preventative" mode. Unfortunately they have found a solution that has eliminated all their safety concerns - BUT is not good for your son!
The effort here is to find a way to address their safety issues in a way that does not escalate your child's behaviour and eliminate his opportunity to socially interact with his peers.
The current "plan" does not do this!
Here are my suggestions ("a plan to develop a plan"):
• acknowledge their "safety concerns" and try to quantify them. Are they situation specific? Does time of day matter? What preceded the incident? How severe is the possibilty of injury? Are they related to particular staff and their interaction with him. By focussing on identifying and addressing their concerns, you will model collaborative problem solving.
• THEN, present your concerns about the "Alternate Learning Setting" and your belief that its use is counter-productive. If the goal is to reduce dangerous behaviour, then why use a strategy that escalates bad behaviour?
• THEN, give permission for the private and board psychologists to consult with each other about your child. Ask them to bring a JOINT Behaviour Management Plan to a Team Meeting.
• INSIST that this plan is very specific about which behaviours are targetted and what the specific response to that behaviour is to be. Include specific reporting and tracking responsibilities.
• WRITE A SAFETY PLAN, separate from the Behaviour Management Plan. A safety plan is about managing RISK. Managing risk will provide direction (and comfort) for the school staff.
• SET A SCHEDULE for reviewing and revising both plans on an ongoing basis. Set up an information flow that will keep everyone "who needs to know" informed - then their will be no surprises as we work together!
The answer to your question really is that FEAR about SAFETY, led to the school acting inappropriately in an attempt to minimize risk of injury to other children. A strategy that worked in one context, was "extended" to meet another purpose. In hindsight, if they had been less secretive and more collaborative, if the above "plan to develop a plan" had been done months ago, there would have been no problem. In Special Education Transformation, Minister Wynne recommends that educators be trained in collaborative communication and working with community professionals - this incident is typical of the problem that needs to be addressed!
Lindsay Moir retired from the Ministry of Education in 1997 and has been assisting agencies, associations and parents in obtaining appropriate special education services for exceptional pupils.
Family Net welcomes your questions about special education in Ontario.
E-mail Lindsay at He will answer as many questions as possible.
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By request:
If you are, or you know, a family impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders
this email is for you, please read on.

Parents Listen, a new speaker series
created by parents of a child on the Autistic Spectrum,
is proud to present for the first time in Canada
Raun K. Kaufman of the Autism Treatment Center of America™ and The Son-Rise Program®.
Below you will find more detailed information about Raun, and about Parents Listen for your immediate viewing.

Raun will be speaking to parents, family members, and service providers
impacted by children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
on Wednesday, July 11th at 6:30pm
at Ryerson University’s Business Building
55 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Registration is now OPEN!
Seating is limited, so please register as soon as possible to guarantee your seat.
This event is free, and we are accepting on-line donations
(secured through PayPal) to help cover the cost of putting on this event.
Please contribute if you are able.
Click here to register and/or make a donation.
You can also visit for more information and links to related sites.

We are requesting your assistance to get the word out about this event.
Please forward this email (with a personal note from you at the top) to
other families, organizations, professionals, or agencies either directly impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders
OR may be connected to these groups in some way and would make a difference.
The impact this event has on these families depends on us getting the word out to as many people as possible. We’re depending on you!
We have also attached two PDFs, (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader free at
one is an email notification, the other is a pamphlet that you can use in addition to or in place of this email.
Please feel free to forward these all on, and encourage others to do the same,
OR print them out and pass them on in person.
***A few minutes of your time may make a lifetime of difference to a family and child out there. ***
Thank you for your interest in this event!
Michael and Kelli Pallett
Parents Listen
More details about Raun K. Kaufman:
Once Autistic,
He Defied the Experts
and His Story of
Complete Recovery
Became a Revolution
of Hope Around
the World.

Raun Kaufman is CEO, writer and teacher at the Autism Treatment Center of America™.
He is coming to Toronto on Wednesday, July 11th to speak to parents, families, and service providers impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Raun’s Journey
At 18 months, Raun was diagnosed as irreversibly autistic.
His parents, authors/teachers Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman,
created an innovative home-based, child-centered program now known as The Son-Rise Program®,
enabling Raun to recover completely from autism.
Raun was a mute, withdrawn child with a tested I.Q. of less than 30.
Through the love and devotion of his parents, Raun was transformed
into an outgoing, social boy with a near-genius I.Q.
Raun is now a graduate from Brown, a leading Ivy League University, with a degree in Biomedical Ethics.
Currently, as a Certified Son-Rise Program Teacher, he presents and lectures worldwide,
teaching the very techniques and tools responsible for his own complete recovery.
Raun’s journey was chronicled in the best-selling book, Son-Rise, The Miracle Continues
by his father, Barry Neil Kaufman, and is the subject of the award-winning TV movie, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love,
seen by over 300 million people worldwide.
International Speaker
Mr. Kaufman, who brings a rare combination of inspiration, compassion and technical expertise,
has spoken at universities and conferences, and completed lecture tours in the U.S.,
United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.
His interactive lectures, designed for parents and professionals, focus on effective methods of autism treatment, including an introduction to the techniques of The Son-Rise Program—enabling participants
to put their newly-acquired tools into practice immediately.
“It is always a treat to hear such a dynamic and engaging speaker. Raun’s passion
and hope for persons challenged with autism came through in every word he spoke.
His ideas truly are focused on helping people achieve their highest potential.”

- Mark H. Yeager, Ph.D., President,
TEAAM (Together Enhancing Autism Awareness in Mississippi)

More Details about Parents Listen:

Who are we?
Michael and Kelli Pallett saw an opportunity to make a difference for parents and families
impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders and created Parents Listen.
Michael and Kelli are parents of a 4 yr old boy named Jordyn who is diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum.
They live outside Orangeville.
For more information, visit
Why a Speaker Series for Parents?
Parents are a child’s best advocate. They are the most passionate, motivated, dedicated, and loving resource in their child’s life.
Being aware and informed of the variety of options available, parents have the freedom to choose what is best for their
child’s development and care, and for their family.
Through the Speaker Series we are committed to inspiring and empowering parents to create loving, nurturing environments
full of possibility in which the dreams they have for their child will be fulfilled.
We can’t do this all alone. We would be thrilled to hear from anyone wanting to join our team and assists with this, or future events.
What you contribute will be completely up to you. Please send us an email at
Future Speaker Events:
We are actively listening for potential speakers whose talks will make an immediate difference for families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders.
We are considering future speakers in the area of nutrition (diet & supplementation), given the tremendous impact simple changes
can have on a child’s behavior and ability to interact. Other areas include biomedical interventions, educational methodologies, and sensory integration.

Your ideas and requests are welcomed. Please send us an email with your ideas at

Please visit the website to download the forms for registration.

Therapists should be in classroom: parents

Richmond Hill
Jun 06, 2007 09:02 PM
By: Michael Power
Therapists must be allowed into public school classrooms to provide specialized help to autistic students who need it.

That's according to parents who attended a debate among MPPs at Richmond Hill's Sheraton Parkway and Best Western Toronto North Hotel Monday night.

Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees was among five politicians who participated.

Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers, Conservative attorney general critic Christine Elliott and NDP autism issues critic Shelley Martel also participated.

Currently, therapists who specialize in a kind of treatment called intensive behavioural intervention can't accompany autistic students into classrooms, Newmarket resident Simone Hubers said.

"That's one of the key points," said Ms Hubers, whose eight-year-old daughter, Nell, is autistic. "Our children have a different way of learning. The word that scares school boards is 'therapy'."

Intensive behaviour therapy can involve one-on-one or group sessions. It helps develop basic skills, such as communication and behaviour control.

Many of those who attended Monday debate echoed that sentiment.

Ms Martel received enthusiastic applause after suggesting — if they form a government in the provincial election this fall — the NDP would work to get therapists into classrooms to use intensive behavioral intervention with autistic students.

"It's critical for the therapist to be there because that's what helps your child learn," Ms Martel said.

Denise Yee of Newmarket, who also attended the debate, said she pulled her nine-year-old son David from the public school system because she thought he wouldn't get the support he needs there.

David now goes to a private school where a therapist can join him in the classroom.

"He can learn, but he needs specialized people who know how to teach him," Ms Yee said.

"If therapists were allowed in the classroom, I'd have kept him in the school system."
For our American neighbours:
Senate Subcommittee Approves Full Funding for CAA
Bill now moves to full Senate Appropriations Committee
The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee has approved full funding for the Combating Autism Act as part of its fiscal 2008 spending bill. Specifically,the bill provides $53.5 million for programs at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This is an $18.5 million increase over last year's level, and fully funds the Combating Autism Act's recommendations for autism surveillance, early detection, education, awareness and intervention activities. More details about the bill are available here.

The Committee also took an important step toward ensuring that the National Institutes of Health follow the recommendations of and provide funding for the Autism Strategic Research Plan that will be developed by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) . Today's Senate bill provides $1 million for creation and implementation of the IACC. The bill also requires the NIH to provide a report by July 1, 2008 on its implementation of the research-related provisions of the Combating Autism Act, including funding levels for research recommended by the IACC's strategic plan.

The bill will now go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration, and then on to the Senate floor. Following Senate approval, the bill will proceed to conference committee where it will be reconciled with the appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives. Autism Speaks Continues Push for State Insurance Legislation Autism advocates have also been hard at work in Pennsylvania advocating for PA House Bill 1150, which would require private insurance companies to provide coverage for autism- related services and therapies for individuals with autism up to age 21. Dozens of families and individuals affected by autism will join House Speaker Dennis O'Brien on Monday at a rally in the Harrisburg Capitol Rotunda to urge members of the Pennsylvania legislature to vote in favor of the bill. The Pennsylvania bill is designed to serve as a model for other state legislation as Autism Speaks continues its nationwide effort to help end insurance industry discrimination against children with autism. Learn about state and federal legislation (including how to help in Pennsylvania) here, or email us at

IAN Project Conference Held in Baltimore The IAN Project, an online database collecting information from families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders all over the United States, held its second research conference in Baltimore, Maryland this week. Autism researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, as well as parents and advocates, gathered to hear about progress and future plans. Substantial time was devoted to topics families have asked IAN to address, such as expanding the project to include adults with ASDs and creating an IAN questionnaire focused on environmental causes of autism. Read the IAN Research Conference Report.
Families interested in participating in IAN Research can learn about the project at

9th Annual NY Celebrity Golf Challenge Raises Over $1M Autism Speaks' 9th Annual NY Celebrity Golf Challenge raised more than $1 million on June 18. The event, held at the renowned Winged Foot course in Mamaroneck, New York, brought out celebrities from the worlds of sports and entertainment. Read more and watch video. Plus, see photos.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Donates $50,000
Build-A-Bear Workshops around the country raised funds and awareness during National Autism Awareness month through sales of purple satin hearts. For each purple heart purchased, Build-A-Bear Workshop donated $1 to benefit Autism Speaks. This is the third year that Build-A-Bear has contributed to the mission of Autism Speaks through a retail promotion during the month of April. Read more about this, and other recent events. In Their Own Words - Living With Asperger's
In our latest "In Their Own Words" essay, a recent high school graduate with Asperger's Syndrome (and Autism Speaks intern) tells how support and therapy made a difference in her life. Read more.

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McGuinty fails kids with autism
Jun 23, 2007 04:30 AM
Families of autistic kids seek
provincially funded treatment
June 19
It's been said that actions speak louder than words. If that is the case, I find the recent actions of the provincial government related to autism both deafening and disturbing. Despite all their announcements meant to trick the voters into thinking that Premier Dalton McGuinty has lived up to the commitments he made to children with autism, the Liberals took extraordinary actions against them in the courts during the last week.
The first was in the Taline Sagharian class-action lawsuit, where government lawyers tried to bully families fighting for a proper education for their children by bringing an order forcing them to pay $50,000 in government costs. Thankfully, the government lost that motion.
The second was on Monday, when government lawyers fought the efforts of MPP Shelley Martel, who wants to know how much money was spent during the Deskin-Wynberg case. Martel is recognized as the most outspoken member of the Legislature on autism issues, and rather than disclose the fact that the government spent millions of dollars on lawyers instead of children, they are dragging Martel into court. How absurd.
I spent time in both courtrooms listening to the government's lawyers and never have I been so angry.
As a parent of a child with autism, a teacher and a co-founder of the Ontario Autism Coalition, I've spent the last two years organizing rallies, petitions and letter-writing campaigns to pressure this government into doing the right thing on this issue. The only time it's shown signs of progress is when we've embarrassed it in the media.
The Liberals have had four years to do right by our children. They have failed. Now, in their last few months in office, they are showing us how they really feel about people who try to hold them accountable.
Laura Kirby-McIntosh, Ontario Autism Coalition, Concord

Although from Los Angeles, this is perhaps worth sharing to spark some interest in families to work on developing similar programs here in Canada at some of our amazing univerisities. wrote:
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 07:12:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Ending is a beginning for special-needs students

Ending is a beginning for special-needs students

Once unthinkable, higher learning now awaits developmentally disabled graduates of Village Glen School.

By Carla Rivera
Times Staff Writer

June 16 2007

Jonathan Else had looked forward to this day for years, so when he stepped up to the podium Friday at Village Glen School to receive his high school diploma, it was a "huge moment."

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,2114494.story?coll=la-home-local

Visit at

Jun 18, 2007 04:30 AM
Autism is the most common developmental disorder affecting children, with as many as one in 160 children struggling under its limitations. A neurological condition that can result in a wide spectrum of behaviours and problems, its cause remains wrapped in mystery.
Autism is also, unfortunately for the children afflicted with it and for their families, one of the most expensive conditions to treat. There are families spending as much as $80,000 a year, Wendy Roberts, head of the autism research unit at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, told a Toronto newspaper.
Is this fair? Therapy exists that in some cases can make the difference between a life governed by a severe disorder and a life in which near-normalcy can be reached. Families of autistic children have sued to try to get government funding for therapy.
A group of 28 families in Ontario was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court likewise rejected in 2004 a suit by British Columbia families, ruling it is up to legislatures to determine the level of medical funding.
So families are, understandably, trying to mobilize public opinion. This week, Canadian comedian Eugene Levy was drafted into service, telling the CBC "families with autistic kids have the same rights as everybody else. Treatment has to be covered the way it's covered for any other debilitating disease."
As tempting as it is to agree, it is not correct that all medical treatments, regardless of cost, are covered under medicare.
But if legislators and officials have made the heart-wrenching decision not to fund maximum treatment, they could at least put more money into research. Levy was right to criticize Canada's research shortfall.
Last year, prominent researcher Dr. Peter Szatmari said that since 2000 Canada has spent a mere $16 million researching autism. The United States, in contrast, plans to spend $200 million in one year to set up centres of excellence to study autism.
Senator Jim Munson argued this week that not treating the disorder as well as we can costs the Canadian economy $3.5 billion a year, including group homes, respite care, and institutional care.
Nothing is sadder than having to choose between patients. Of course, parents will fight for their children.
But it is up to legislatures to make the hard choices. That's what they're there for.

This is an edited version of an editorial in The Gazette, Montreal, Friday.


Autism case could be precedent-setting
June 11, 2007

WASHINGTON – The parents of 12-year-old Michelle Cedillo asked a U.S. federal court today to find that their child's autism was caused by common childhood vaccines, a precedent-setting case that could pave the way for thousands of autistic children to receive compensation from a government fund set up to help people injured by the shots.
Wearing noise-cancelling headphones, Michelle Cedillo of Yuma, Ariz., was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair at the start of the proceedings before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. She stayed only a short time.
Her parents, Theresa and Michael Cedillo, allege a preservative called thimerosal used in vaccines weakened their daughter's immune system and prevented her body from clearing the measles virus after she was immunized for the disease at age 15 months.
Today, Michelle suffers from a litany of health problems, including severe autism, inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma and epilepsy.
"We hope to find out what happened and hopefully get the help she needs," said Theresa Cedillo, who takes care of her daughter full time at home.
The court's special master, George Hastings Jr., thanked the family for allowing theirs to be the first of nine test cases that will help guide the resolution of some of the nearly 5,000 similar claims lodged with the government.
"Clearly the story of Michelle's life is a tragic one," Hastings said in pledging to listen carefully to the evidence presented during the three-week hearing.
The burden of proof is easier than in a traditional court. Plaintiffs only have to prove that a link between autism and the shots is more likely than not, based on a preponderance of evidence.
Large scientific studies have found no association between autism and vaccines containing thimerosal.
But many parents say their children's symptoms did not show up until after their children received the vaccines, required by many states for admission to school.
"These are families who followed the rules," said Thomas Powers, a lawyer acting for the Cedillos. "These are families who brought children in for vaccines. These are families who immunized their children."
Powers argued that the science regarding a possible vaccine-autism link is in dispute.
Government lawyer Vincent Matanoski dismissed much of what the plaintiffs are expected to present as conjecture or speculation.
"You'll find their hypotheses untested or, when tested, have been found false," Matanoski said.
Since 1999, more than 4,800 families have filed claims with the government alleging their children developed autism as a result of routine vaccinations. Most contend that a preservative called thimerosal is to blame for the impaired social interaction typical of the disorder.
The court is being asked to decide whether there is a link between autism and childhood vaccines. If it finds one exists, the families could be eligible for compensation under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund, a program established by Congress to ensure an adequate supply of vaccines by safeguarding manufacturers from lawsuits.
Under the program, people injured by vaccines receive compensation through a special trust fund.
Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction. Those affected often have trouble communicating, and they exhibit unusual or severely limited activities and interests.
Today's case addresses the theory that the cause of autism is the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in combination with other vaccines containing thimerosal. The preservative, about 50 per cent mercury by weight, is no longer found in routine childhood vaccines but is used in some flu shots.
In July 1999, the U.S. government asked vaccine manufacturers to eliminate or reduce, as expeditiously as possible, the mercury content of their vaccines to avoid any possibility of infants who receive vaccines being exposed to more mercury than is recommended by federal guidelines.
Classic symptoms of mercury poisoning include anxiety, fatigue and abnormal irritation, as well as cognitive and motor dysfunction.

From: "Karyn Dumble"
>To: "Karyn Dumble"
>Subject: FOR DISTRIBUTION: Weekly News
>Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 16:01:19 -0400
>This message has been sent to all Chapter Presidents and Staff.
>Please distribute it to your members.
>Scholarship Recipients Announced at Conference
>Scholarship Recipients for the Jeanette Holden Post-Secondary
>Scholarship for Siblings of Individuals with ASD and the Eleanor
>Post-Secondary Scholarship for Individuals with ASD were announced at
>the Autism Ontario ASD Conference "Building a Community of Acceptance"
>on June 16, 2007. Please help us celebrate these individuals by
>the information with your chapter members.
>Eleanor Ritchie Scholarship
>Along with donations from Chapters, we were delighted to receive a
>one-time donation from an individual that allowed us to support all 6
>applicants for this scholarship.
>Matthew Brown from Burlington
>Jordon Eady from Ottawa
>Mackenzie Neal from Goderich
>Maureen Pytlik from Ottawa
>Richard Keegan from Thunder Bay
>David Spiers from Ottawa
>Jeanette Holden Scholarship
>At the Conference, we were able to announce 5 recipients for the
>scholarship supported by donations from chapters and individuals. As
>Wednesday this week, we have received additional donations which have
>allowed us to support 2 more for a total of 7 scholarships.
>Evan Crawford from Brechin
>Nicole DeRepentigny from Apple Hill
>Lesslie Elliot from Sault Ste. Marie
>Leah Kesselman from Guelph
>Ryley Neal from Goderich
>Shealyn Niles of Thunder Bay
>Lydia Wikkerink from Elmira
>Autism Ontario Conference A Success! Next up: SEAC Rep Training
>Save the Date: October 19 & 20, 2007 is the next time representatives
>from across the province come together to learn and network.
>Our October session is designed to train our SEAC reps and alternates
>our organization, policies, and other special items. As a SEAC rep. or
>alternate, what do you need to know in order to fulfill your role in
>informed and responsible way? Submit your ideas to
> (P.S. Presidents' Council takes place on the
>evening of October 19th.)
>Interested in finding out more about the role of a SEAC rep or
>alternate? Most of our Chapters have at least one rep or alternate
>position currently available. Contact your local Chapter.
>Bridges' needs AT trainers
>Forwarded from Jean Woolford, Special Projects at Autism Ontario:
>Hi Jean:
>I'm asking for a favour. Because of overwhelming demand, Bridges is
>expanding its professional development program and we have to hire new
>trainers. We thought we'd ask our friends to see if they might know
>someone who would be interested in this kind of work.
>Trainers will be paid per hour, will work during the school calendar
>summers and Christmas and March break will be off, for the most part)
>and during the school day. They will be working with small groups and
>individual students and educators mostly in the GTA, but there are a
>limited number of opportunities in other parts of Ontario. The
>they will work with will be an LD suite which may include Kurzweil,
>Draft:Builder, Co:Writer, Write:Outloud, Dragon Naturally Speaking,
>Smart Ideas and/or a suite used predominantly with ASD/DD kids that
>include Boardmaker, Classroom Suite, OverlayMaker and Writing with
>Symbols. We will train potential trainers over the summer but
>experience with 2 out of the above in either of the LD or ASD/DD
>is preferable. We expect that typically trainers would be working
>3 days a week but that may be up to 5 days a week at peak periods,
>6 hours/day.
>I think this would be a great opportunity for EA's, teachers, CDA's or
>other professionals who:
>* May be retiring but are looking for extra work.
>* Coming back from maternity or long term disability leave, but
>may not want to work full time in the classroom or clinic.
>* Are taking a sabbatical year and want to expand their abilities
>in assistive technologies.
>* Are looking for an alternative and/or supplement to supply
>* A mature recent graduate who may be looking for an alternative
>to clinic or classroom work.
>Potential candidates can contact me and I'll pass on the information
>our search committee.
>We are also looking for a French speaker who would also be willing to
>travel to Quebec and other parts of Canada. This would probably be
>of a full time position.
>Thank you for your help in this.
>Best regards,
>Bogdan Pospielovsky
>Phone: 1-800-353-1107 ext. 234
>ARCH Alert
>On behalf of ARCH, please find attached this issue of ARCH Alert,
>published on 18 June 2007. It has been provided to you in both Word
>text formats.
>- Letter from Nominations Committee
>- Note from Phyllis Gordon, Executive Director
>- Final Customer Service Standard Released to Minister
>- New AccessON Website Launched
>- Government Action Line Expanded to those Receiving CCAC Services
>- CRTC Issues New Policy on Closed Captioning
>- Accessing Safe Assistive Devices in Canada
>- Ontario Human Rights Commission's Consultations on Rental Housing
>- Ontario Human Rights Commission Releases Family Status Report and
>- CanWest Challenges Restriction on Direct to Consumer Ads
>- Mental Health Commission of Canada is Looking for Board Members
>- Assembly Releases its Recommendation on New Electoral System for
>- On-Line Library of Free or Inexpensive Adaptive Software
>Theresa Sciberras
>Administrative Assistant
>ARCH Disability Law Centre
>425 Bloor St. E., Ste. 110
>Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R5
>Tel.: 416-482-8255 Toll-free: 1-866-482-2724
>Fax: 416-482-2981 Toll-free: 1-866-881-2723
>TTY: 416-482-1254 Toll-free: 1-866-482-2728
Successful Grade 1 is great cause for celebration
Michael and Kevin Blane
(Jun 23, 2007)
Who: Michael and Kevin Blane.
When we first wrote about them: December 2003. The Cambridge twins were about half a year into an intense, home-based therapy program for autism. Michael and Kevin were diagnosed with the pervasive development disorder in spring 2003 when they were almost three.
The boys displayed typical behaviours of autism -- playing alone, not talking, avoiding contact, hitting their heads and flapping their arms. They retreated into their solitary worlds, even from the affection of their parents, Audrey and Don Blane, and older sister, Chantale.
"The outside world frightened them," their mother said.
Reaching out . . . The twins' parents researched the disorder and discovered a program developed by an autism-treatment specialist in London. The province pays for a behavioural-intervention program, but the Blanes were drawn to this other holistic approach that combines behavioural therapy, special diet and attitude training.
The program, called intensive multi-treatment intervention, was a big commitment, requiring 40 hours of one-on-one time for each boy every week. Two special playrooms were created in the family's home for the individual therapy for the boys.
Filling those hours of therapy required finding volunteers, including two workers from Extend-a-Family, and enlisting family and friends. The approach was not to try to eliminate the autistic behaviour, but to join the twins in what they were doing. The boys were constantly engaged by asking questions, singing, talking, playing and keeping eye contact to forge an emotional and social connection that's missing in autistic children.
Steady improvements . . . Michael and Kevin soon started pulling out of autism and continued to improve as the years passed. The boys began talking, playing together, seeking affection from their family -- basically becoming engaged with the world.
The Record followed the twins' progress in several stories, the latest last summer after three years in the program. At that time, the boys had joined regular classes at Sunshine Montessori School in Kitchener for a couple of months, and they were signed up for Grade 1 in the fall.
Today . . . The Blanes are hosting a party to celebrate the boys' successful finish of Grade 1. All the people who have helped the twins along the way are invited. Michael and Kevin, now 7, succeeded in a regular class, without an educational assistant and no curriculum modification.
"They have earned it on their own merits and with flying colours," Audrey said.
The boys have also been busy every day after school in swimming, sports and music classes.
"Michael and Kevin have such an incredible eagerness to learn. . . . There is no mountaintop too high for these guys to climb up."
At the start of Grade 1 last fall, the boys were shy and timid. The Blanes weren't sure what to expect, but they were pleasantly surprised.
"They did a lot of growing up in the past year," she said.
"You cannot pick them out of a crowd of kids on the playground now."
Before, they were like magnets and stuck to each other, afraid of other children. Now they play with their own friends.
Exploring the world . . . The therapy ended when the twins started school, but supervised playdates continued to boost the boys' self-confidence. And that's the focus for this summer, along with honing social skills, which they'll do in the five summer camps in which they're enrolled.
"They need to see how typical kids play and react," Audrey said.
The boys also need to catch up to their peers in another crucial area that can't be taught in school -- life experience. They twins missed out on a lot of experiences during the intense home program.
"We need to get them out in the world and just show them what's out there," their mother said. "They're going to be exposed to what they haven't had in their life."
But all those areas for improvement are minor compared to where the boys came from four years ago when they were diagnosed with autism. Today, they do not fit the criteria for the disorder, their mother said. They are only a bit shy and language-delayed.
"To see how far they've come, it's just amazing," she said. "Michael and Kevin are my miracles."
Brookfield Programs Presents
Introduction to Direct Instruction and Reading Mastery 1:
For Children with Diverse Learning Needs including Autism
Saturday, July 21, 2007
9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
A workshop with Donna Heughan
Direct Instruction Specialist, Brookfield Programs
Registration is limited to allow for questions & practice
Cost: $100.00 + $6.00 GST = $106.00)
(30 minute lunch on your own)
This workshop provides an overview to “Direct Instruction” and focuses on “Reading Mastery 1” (the basis for “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”) a beginning reading program that teaches students who are not yet readers to identify letter sounds, orally segment words into sounds, and blend sounds into words. Participants will acquire the basic information and skills needed to implement the program, as well as strategies on how to effectively engineer the program for children with autism including analysis of student learning profiles, identifying generalizable patterns, and creation of appropriate scaffolding.
The workshop provides an:
1. Overview of Direct Instruction (DI)
 Instructional Design Features
 Instructional Delivery
– Learning Paradigm
– Signals /Pacing and Criterion Teaching
2. Introduction to Reading Mastery 1
 Overview of Major Components
 Materials /Scope & Sequence
 Successful Implementation
– Instructional Tracks & Formats
– Demonstrate/ Practice without errors and with errors with Correction Procedures
The workshop is designed for parents, ABA instructors, educators and other interested individuals
To Register
Send Cheque Payable to Brookfield Programs to our office or to pay by Credit Card contact us at 416-915-5550 or email
Workshop Location – Brookfield Programs
419 Jane Street, Toronto ON, Canada M6S 3Z7
(4 blocks north of Bloor Street in Bloor West Village)
(Cancellation policy – no refunds after July 16, 2007)
Brookfield Programs provides services and programs including ABA, Verbal Behaviour, Fluency-Based Instruction, Relationship Development Intervention and Direct Instruction for children, teens and adults with autism, PDD-NOS, Asperger's disorder and other learning and communication disorders
Donna Heughan,
CEO, Brookfield Programs
un 18, 2007 04:30 AM
Autism is the most common developmental disorder affecting children, with as many as one in 160 children struggling under its limitations. A neurological condition that can result in a wide spectrum of behaviours and problems, its cause remains wrapped in mystery.
Autism is also, unfortunately for the children afflicted with it and for their families, one of the most expensive conditions to treat. There are families spending as much as $80,000 a year, Wendy Roberts, head of the autism research unit at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, told a Toronto newspaper.
Is this fair? Therapy exists that in some cases can make the difference between a life governed by a severe disorder and a life in which near-normalcy can be reached. Families of autistic children have sued to try to get government funding for therapy.
A group of 28 families in Ontario was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court likewise rejected in 2004 a suit by British Columbia families, ruling it is up to legislatures to determine the level of medical funding.
So families are, understandably, trying to mobilize public opinion. This week, Canadian comedian Eugene Levy was drafted into service, telling the CBC "families with autistic kids have the same rights as everybody else. Treatment has to be covered the way it's covered for any other debilitating disease."
As tempting as it is to agree, it is not correct that all medical treatments, regardless of cost, are covered under medicare.
But if legislators and officials have made the heart-wrenching decision not to fund maximum treatment, they could at least put more money into research. Levy was right to criticize Canada's research shortfall.
Last year, prominent researcher Dr. Peter Szatmari said that since 2000 Canada has spent a mere $16 million researching autism. The United States, in contrast, plans to spend $200 million in one year to set up centres of excellence to study autism.
Senator Jim Munson argued this week that not treating the disorder as well as we can costs the Canadian economy $3.5 billion a year, including group homes, respite care, and institutional care.
Nothing is sadder than having to choose between patients. Of course, parents will fight for their children.
But it is up to legislatures to make the hard choices. That's what they're there for.

** Protein mutations link to autism **
Scientists have discovered how mutations in two key proteins may lead
to autism.
< >

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Kids at risk of 'falling through cracks'; B.C. watchdog finds treatment shortcomings
The Vancouver Province
Jun 22, 2007
Page: A28
Section: News
Edition: Final
Byline: John Bermingham
Acting auditor-general Errol Price says it's possible kids with mental illness are falling between the cracks when it comes to treatment.
In a report on the government's child and youth mental health plan, Price found shortcomings in the treatment of so-called "dual diagnosis" kids, those who suffer both mental and learning disorders.
Price found a lack of consistency in services to dual-diagnosis kids.
"Are they taken into the program, or are they told, 'Look, we really can't deal with autism,' or, 'We can't deal with fetal alcohol syndrome,' " Price told The Province yesterday.
"There's a risk of people falling through the cracks."
Price said family doctors and psychiatrists need to know exactly where to refer kids needing clinical help.
Children's Minister Tom Christensen said he's working on improving services to dual-diagnosis kids. Training for clinicians in dual diagnosis detection is set for next spring.
Of the estimated 140,000 kids and youth with mental-health problems, only 20,000 are getting treatment, including thousands in government care.
"Over the past three years, we've almost doubled the number that are being served," he said.
Last year, provincial health officer Perry Kendall found higher incidents of mental illness among 9,000 children in care.
NDP children's critic Maurine Karagianis said the government doesn't have performance measures to tell the public whether it is successful or not.
"They're big on promises and short on substance, and really poor at measuring outcomes at the end of the day," she said.
The ministry is spending $85 million this year on mental- health services for kids.
Une Maison de l'autisme sera construite à Blainville
La Tribune

Jun 23, 2007
Page: E5
Section: Carrières formation
La Fondation Autisme Laurentides annonçait récemment la construction d'une autre Maison de l'autisme dans les Laurentides, cette fois-ci dans la MRC de Thérèse-de-Blainville. Cette réalisation est rendue possible grâce à la contribution de la Ville de Blainville qui a offert le terrain et grâce aux fonds récoltés lors du Grand McDon organisé le 9 mai dernier dans cinq restaurants McDonald's de la région. Cette initiative a permis d'amasser des dons d'une valeur totale de 112 749 $ (incluant des matériaux et de la main-d'oeuvre). Le coût du projet est évalué à 290 000 $ et la construction devrait débuter à la mi-juin. Seize familles pourront profiter des nouveaux services à partir de septembre 2007, et l'on prévoit organiser un camp de vacances à l'été 2008.
Le Babillard est un service de Septembre éditeur diffusé dans

The current issue of PEOPLE magazine has an article on the Cedillo family and Vaccine Court. Although I have not yet read the article I have been told it is a fair article on Michelle's health. There are several mentions from physicians that there link.... Otherwise a good read.

Neurological conditions cost Canada nearly $9B a year: report
Last Updated: Friday, June 22, 2007 | 5:02 PM ET
CBC News
Neurological conditions such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease cost Canada nearly $9 billion a year, say neurologists, who warn that the health-care system may not be able to handle the increased burden of an aging population.
Early diagnosis of neurological diseases will help reduce long-term costs, says Dr. Charles Tator.
Friday's report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, titled The Burden of Neurological Diseases, Disorders and Injuries in Canada, is a consensus report by neurologists who tallied the costs of 11 conditions they treat:
• Alzheimer's disease
• Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)
• Brain tumours
• Cerebral palsy
• Epilepsy
• Head injury
• Headaches
• Multiple sclerosis
• Parkinson's disease
• Spinal injuries
• Stroke
The conditions represent almost seven per cent of the total attributable cost of illness in Canada in 2000-01, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Stroke Guide for Caregivers
Stroke Recovery Canada has produced a guide to help stroke survivors and their caregivers and families reclaim as much of their lives and independence as possible.
More than half of the estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Canadians who will have a stroke this year will return home and need some help to perform basic functions.
The guide provides information on:
• Personal stories of caregivers
• Overcoming depression for patients and caregivers
• Motivation
• Intimacy
• Treatment options
• Reducing spasticity — muscles involuntarily seizing up by contracting and becoming tense when they shouldn't, resulting in stiffness, rigidity and muscle pain that makes it difficult to perform activities of daily life
• Physical and occupational therapy to help improve mobility and reduce spasticity and find solutions for daily living
• Nutrition
Stroke accounts for 29 per cent of the $8.8 billion in direct costs from neurological conditions, followed by Alzheimer's at 19 per cent, then migraine and cluster headaches at close to 18 per cent. The costs were calculated for rehabilitation, drugs and lost productivity, according to the report.
More emphasis should be placed on providing support for patients with chronic, disabling neurological diseases and for their caregivers, said Dr. Garth Bray, vice-president of the Canadian Neurological Science Foundation.
The neurologists called for new priorities in health care, saying billions could be saved through earlier diagnoses, stroke prevention programs and Alzheimer's research.
"Early diagnosis will lead to reduction of disability and reduction of long-term costs," said Dr. Charles Tator, who heads the Canadian Brain & Nerve Health Coalition in Edmonton.
Missy Mandel of Toronto is a case in point. Five years ago, at age 36, Mandel had to give up her job teaching elementary school after a tumour was found on her spine at the base of her brain. It could have led to paralysis from the neck down.
An MRI helped to detect a tumour on Missy Mandel's spine.
"The first thing I thought about was, who was going to walk my kids to school, who was going to get up and prepare their breakfast?" Mandel recalled.
Mandel now walks dogs for a living. She was diagnosed early, so the long-term damage was far less than it is for many others.
Mandel said she sees the financial burden that neurological conditions place on the health-care system, patients and families who cannot afford medication or proper treatment.
While her life has changed, Mandel said she is far better off than she would have been had she not been diagnosed early. She could have been paralyzed and on a respirator for the rest of her life.
Head Lines The Genetic Roots of Autism- scientific mind
June 2007 issue
Many studies have traced the history of families with more than one autistic member, but few scientists have attempted to crack the code of sporadic autism—which arises unexpectedly in a formerly unaffected lineage and is more common than inherited autism. Now a group at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory believes it has found a distinct mechanism by which autism can strike sporadically.

Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 3:40 PM
Subject: UCLA study shows Autistic Brain can be trained....

UCLA Study First to Show
Autistic Brains Can Be Trained
to Recognize Visual and Vocal
Updated: 6/24/2007 12:06:03 PM
( - To understand the meaning of a conversation, kids automatically do what adults
do ---besides processing the meaning of words, they unconsciously "read" the expression on a person's face
and listen to their tone of voice, then integrate that information with the context at hand to discern
meaning, be it humor, anger, irony or straightforwardness.
Individuals with autism typically don't do this. They often miss the subtle meanings conveyed by a person's
face and tone of voice, and thus have trouble determining the communicative intent of others.
Neuroimaging studies have backed this up, showing that individuals with autism spectrum disorders
(ASDs) --- including autism, pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger's syndrome --- show reduced
activity in the regions of the brain that respond to such cues.
But what if those brain regions could be trained to respond appropriately? In a report in the current issue of
the journal Archives of General Psychiatry and currently online, UCLA researchers did just that. Providing
ASD children with explicit instructions to pay more attention to facial expressions and tone of voice
elicited an increased response in the medial prefrontal cortex, part of the brain's network for understanding
the intentions of others.
"That's significant. The fact that you can 'normalize' activity in this region in the ASD group by directing
their attention to these important social cues clearly indicates there's nothing intrinsically wrong with this
region in the autistic brain," said Mirella Dapretto, associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral
sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and a member of the
UCLA Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. Dapretto co-authored the study with her former
graduate student Ting Wang, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
"This is a very positive thing," Dapretto said, "because these findings have implications for future
interventions --- they suggest that you could train the autistic brain to make use of the information
conveyed by the human face and voice to successfully navigate social interactions."
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder of development that affects one of every 150 children,
impairing communication and social skills. ASDs encompass a broad spectrum of disorders that range
from mild to severe.
The authors had two goals in mind with their study. One was to examine the neural circuitry in the brain
that underlies the problems ASD children face in interpreting communicative intent. The other was to
determine whether explicit instructions to pay attention to facial expressions and tone of voice would elicit
more normal patterns of brain activity in these children.
While undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), 18 ASD boys between the ages of 7 and
17, as well as a control group of 18 typically developing (TD) boys, viewed cartoon drawings of children
in conversational settings while listening to short vignettes that ended with a potentially ironic remark.
Researchers found that, compared with the TD control group, the ASD children had reduced activity in two
areas of the brain --- the medial prefrontal cortex and right superior temporal gyrus. But when the
researchers gave both groups explicit instructions to pay attention to the speaker's facial expression and
tone of voice, only the ASD children showed a significant increase in activity in the medial prefrontal
"The typically developing kids recognized and interpreted these cues automatically when trying to infer if a
speaker's remark was sincere or sarcastic, so their brains were already responding appropriately," said
Dapretto. "But not so with the ASD kids, who did not show activity in this area when specific instructions
weren't provided. This is the first study to show that you can normalize activity in a key region of the socalled
'social brain' in individuals with autism by simply directing their attention to these important social
Other authors of the study included Susan S. Lee and Marian Sigman. The research was funded by the
National Alliance for Autism Research, the Cure Autism Now Foundation, the UC Davis M.I.N.D.
Institute, and grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National
Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA is an interdisciplinary research and
education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic,
biological, behavioral and sociocultural underpinnings of normal behavior and the causes and
consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition to conducting fundamental research, the institute
faculty seeks to develop effective treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, improve access to
mental health services and shape national health policy regarding neuropsychiatric disorders.
August 8, 2007: Blue Jays - Autism Awareness Night

Toronto Blue Jays vs the New York Yankees

Join us on August 8 at Rogers Centre for Autism Awareness Night. It is a game you don't want to miss!

Buy your tickets now. Please click here to download the ticket order form.

If you have any questions, please call (416) 246-9592 ext. 224 or send email to

US Government Asks Court to Seal Vaccine Records
Reuters Health - Attorneys for the Bush Administration asked a federal court on Monday to order that documents on hundreds of cases of autism allegedly caused by childhood vaccines be kept from the public.

Department of Justice lawyers asked a special master in the US Court of Federal Claims to seal the documents, arguing that allowing their automatic disclosure would take away the right of federal agencies to decide when and how the material should be released.

Attorneys for the families of hundreds of autistic children charged that the government was trying to keep the information out of civil courts, where juries might be convinced to award large judgments against vaccine manufacturers.

The court is currently hearing approximately 1,000 claims brought by the families of autistic children. The suits charge that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which until recently included a mercury-containing preservative known as thimerosal, can cause neurological damage leading to autism.

Federal law requires suits against vaccine makers to go before a special federal "vaccine court" before any civil lawsuit is allowed. The court was set up by Congress to speed compensation claims and to help protect vaccine makers from having to pay large punitive awards decided byjuries in state civil courts. Plaintiffs are free to take their cases to state courts if they lose in the federal vaccine court or if they don't accept the court's judgment.

The current 1,000 or so autism cases are unusual for the court.
Because it received so many claims, much of the fact-finding and
evidence-gathering is going on for all of the cases as a block.
Monday's request by the Bush Administration would prevent plaintiffs
who later go to civil court from using some relevant evidence generated
during the required vaccine court proceedings.

Plaintiffs' attorneys said that the order amounted to punishment of
the families of injured children because it would require them to incur
the time and expense of regenerating evidence for a civil suit.
"Wouldn't it be a shame if at the end of the day our policy would be
to compensate lawyers," said Jeff Kim, an attorney with Gallagher Boland
Meiburger & Brosnan. The firm represents about 400 families of autistic
children who received the MMR vaccine.

Kim accused the government of trying to lower "a shroud of secrecy
over these documents" in order to protect vaccine manufacturers, who he
said were "the only entities" that would benefit if the documents are sealed.
While federal law clearly seals most documents generated in
individual vaccine cases, it has never been applied to a block proceeding like the one generating evidence in the autism cases.

Administration lawyers told Special Master George Hastings that they
requested the seal in order to preserve the legal right of the Secretary
of Health and Human Services to decide when vaccine evidence can be released
to the public.

Justice Department attorney Vincent Matanoski argued that to let
plaintiffs use the vaccine court evidence in a later civil suit would
confer an advantage on plaintiffs who chose to forgo federal compensation.

"There is no secret here. What the petitioners are arguing for are
enhanced rights in a subsequent civil action," Matanoski said of the
plaintiffs. "They're still going to have unfettered use within the proceedings."

Hastings would not say when he would issue a ruling on whether to
seal the court documents, but did say that his decision would be "very prompt."

Autism Today is proud to be the first comprehensive online directory (established in 1998) of programs and services offering easy to locate professionals, schools, camps, recreational programs, and much more in one convenient place. Press here to access the online directory.

Many of you may have read an article in the Kitchener Waterloo Record (which I've attached below) that gives the impression the Liberals may be looking at IBI in schools, as their response to the AFA debate questions imply.
However, it is very clear that this is not what school boards, Directors of Education, etc., are being told.
Please find attached a March 1, 2007, letter from the Deputy Minister of Education Ben Levin where he clearly states that the Ministry's focus "will be ABA teaching practices and not IBI."
It appears that the Liberals are saying one thing to parents of children with autism and hoping at the same time that parents will not find out what the Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne is really doing.
Thank you.
Dan O'Brien
Executive Assistant
Office of Shelley Martel
MPP for Nickel Belt and
NDP Critic for Health and Long-Term Care
(416) 325-2507 (w)
(416) 648-9054 (c)
<<07-03-01 Memo - Min Ed - ABA in Schools.doc>>
Legislative Library Heading - Disabled, Education , Elementary & Secondary
Education system grapples with schools' role in therapy
The Record, Kitchener-Waterloo (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo)
Mon 25 Jun 2007 - Life - D2
After Education Minister Kathleen Wynne announced more support for students with autism in February, Edwina Bell started getting calls from parents who thought the government was going to provide intensive behavioural intervention in schools.
That's not happening, said the Waterloo Region District School Board senior principal of special education.
Intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) is an intensive program of therapy designed for children with moderate to severe forms of autism.
Children receive the therapy one-on-one for 20 to 40 hours a week, usually at home, with a trained therapist overseen by a behavioural psychologist.
The long hours of therapy mean kindergarten-aged children receiving it often don't go to school. Older children might go to school only part time.
Some autism advocacy groups have been lobbying the province to provide the therapy in schools.
The groups have already scored some partial victories.
In 2005, a year and a half after they promised it, the Liberal government stopped the province's old practice of kicking kids out of therapy when they turned six .
The Liberals have doubled funding for autism since they came into power in 2003, and now more than 1,100 children receive the intensive therapy.
However, that still leaves more than 1,000 families on the waiting list.
Some aren't waiting and are paying for the therapy privately.
Keegan Gardner's family is one of them.
It costs $35 an hour but "it's worth every penny," said Keegan's mother, Brenda Murray.
Murray can only afford nine hours a week, but it still helps, she said.
"In the last year and a half (since he started therapy), he has started to talk a lot more. He finally wants to be with us a lot more; before that, it was just the computer, the computer. . . . Now he can say, 'Hi, Grandpa. Hi, Grandma.'"
Murray is also happy with Keegan's progress at Prueter Public School in Kitchener, where he's in a special class for kids with autism. Teacher Wendy Johnston is great, Murray said.
Still, it would be even better if Keegan could get intensive behavioural intervention at school, Murray said.
"If it could be done every day for the time they're in the classroom, it would be wonderful. . . . The more the kids have it repeated, the more it sinks in."
The idea has some political support. When the Alliance for Families with Autism recently invited the provincial parties to answer a questionnaire, the New Democrats and Conservatives said they'd provide intensive behavioural intervention in schools.
But Bell said it wouldn't work.
"Many of our schools won't have a private space for a therapist to work with a child. . . . Another issue is contractual. We don't hire IBI therapists, so who would hire them?"
If children get even 20 hours of therapy a week, they would have to be pulled out of class the majority of the time they're in school, added Bell.
The therapy is too intrusive for teachers to use in class, said Bernie Kowalczyk, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board superintendent responsible for special education.
Kowalczyk role-played with a staff member to demonstrate.
"Look at me," she said, but other woman looked away.
Kowalczyk reached out, grabbed her chin and forcibly turned her head around until their eyes met. "Look at me," she repeated.
The Ministry of Education has directed boards to provide applied behaviour analysis, not intensive behavioural intervention, Kowalczyk said.
Applied behaviour analysis, or ABA, is a set of teaching methods that don't constitute an intensive therapy.
The province has pledged to pay for extra training for teachers, educational assistants, principals and other staff.
Both local boards already have people trained in applied behaviour analysis, but more could use training, particularly teachers with autistic kids integrated into a regular class, said Bell.
Bell said the public board has been told it will be able to send up to 12 principals to a one-day training session in August. Up to 12 other staffers can go to London for a webcast of a four-day workshop being held in Toronto.
Last fall, educational assistants received some introductory training, and they will now have an opportunity to take online courses, Bell said.
Both boards expect to do more training throughout the next school year but don't yet have more details.
Will things be much different for kids with autism in local schools?
"Not in September," said Catholic board special-education resource teacher Jenn George.
Even longer term there won't be many changes in classes such as Johnston's, where the teacher already uses applied behaviour analysis.
But as more educators get trained, parents of kids with autism will notice differences, said Kowalczyk.
"These are behavioural methods we've used but not in their entirety or as well as we could. That's where our capacity building comes in."
Pat La Londe, a founding member of the Alliance for Families with Autism, said she welcomes what the government is doing now as "a step in the right direction," but she hopes therapy in schools is the next step.
The Liberals may have that in mind, she said. The party's response to her group's questions included the line:
"We will continue to work in collaboration with our partners to implement ABA in schools, including intensive ABA, such as Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI)."
"Whoever takes government in the fall, I'm hopeful they'll continue on the positive road with the kids," said La Londe.
ILLUSTRATION:: : Photo: NICK IWANYSHYN, RECORD STAFF / Keegan Gardner, 7, concentrates on a computer program as part of his class work at Prueter Public School in Kitchener. ;
Legislative Library - Ontario Press Highlights

Sharon is one of our listmates, she helped develop and teaches at Seneca College in the IT program. An amazing woman and advocate for our kids needs.

When we vote for Sharon, and she wins, we are ensuring further resources for ourselves!!!!! Check out her website at


----- Original Message -----
From: Sharon Gabison
To: Sharon Gabison

Hi guys

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The author of the article is one of the most famous former civil servants in Ottawa....Sponsorsphipgate "whistleblower" Allan Cutler. Mr. Cutler is increasingly recognized as a leading authority on "ethics" and a frequent contributor to the papers. See his website at:
Thank you Allan!

Autistic kids deserve better There was nothing preventing McGuinty from honouring his promise to autistic kids
The Ottawa Sun

Jun 27, 2007
Section: Editorial/Opinion
Page: 15
Autism affects all of us. Any family can have an autistic child.
Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) treatment offers hope for recovery to about half of autistic children. The earlier the treatment, the better the odds. If treatment continues for years, there is every hope the child can be integrated into mainstream society. You would be unable to tell if the child was autistic.
This should be a simple decision. Pay now and have children recover; or pay later, supporting them throughout their life. With IBI, half of autistic children have the chance to become taxpayers, instead of becoming dependent on them. The decision should be obvious.
But nothing is obvious when politics are involved. Politicians rarely think or realistically plan beyond getting re-elected.
The Harris Conservative government started the Ontario Autism Program in 1999, allowing for treatment only to age six. Parents protested and launched a lawsuit. The decision did not change. When autistic children turned six, the system effectively abandoned them.
This program had many problems. It took a long time to get a diagnosis. There was a long waiting list to get into the program. For many children, openings came too late.
Andrew Kavchak's autistic son, Steven, waited more than a year for a diagnosis and another 15 months before receiving assistance to pay for treatment in the private sector.
Unlike many parents, Kavchak and his wife, Sylvie Del Bianco, were able to afford treatment. Del Bianco, a medical doctor, had to choose between taking care of her son or pursuing a career. The result was one less doctor to look after patients in an overworked health care system.
Prior to the 2003 election, Dalton McGuinty wrote Nancy Morrison -- a mother of an autistic child -- saying he believed the practice of cutting off children at age six was discrimination.
McGuinty promised (sound familiar?) that if he was elected, he would stop this practice. The letter was widely circulated and the promise secured many Liberal votes.
The lawsuit was based on the principle that the cutoff was age-based discrimination. In 2003, the parents won. By this time, McGuinty was premier.
There are two issues -- legal and ethical.
Legal issues are important and the Liberal government had every right to continue to clarify the legal status. Clarity could become important in the future.
The legal case went through many levels, ending with an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that regardless of any discrimination, all decisions about spending money were up to the Legislature. The Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.
In 2003, there was nothing preventing McGuinty from honouring his promise to Morrison. Policy decisions do not have to wait for legal clarifications. They can proceed separately.
In 2004, more money was allocated, but it was only in 2005 that some children could stay in the treatment program.
In this election year, we need to vote in a government truly committed to helping autistic children. We need a government that will keep its promises.

End of articles mailing for June 28, 2007

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