Thursday, October 18, 2007

Autism News Articles, October 10-17th 2007

Autism News Articles

October 10th – 17th 2007
On behalf of the AFA:
The Alliance for Families with Autism (AFA) mission is to improve the lives of children and adults affected by autism. To provide factual information in a non-partisan approach to all stakeholders. Our executives include parents and a grandparent of children with autism. We organize and hold events to provide information to the autism community.

We compile and distribute a weekly/biweekly news mailing of pertinent information on autism from Ontario and across Canada - AND at time American or International News, to members in the community and autism stakeholders. The information compiled in our mailings does not always reflect the views of The Alliance for Families with Autism (AFA).

Enjoy your read!

The Alliance for Families with Autism.

Catch these articles as they are posted to you on

From a listmate:

We begin with this article, from Shelley Martel, from:

Dear Friends,
I am writing this to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for the very generous comments you recently made about me in FEAT’S Guest Book.
This was a complete surprise to me. I had no idea of its existence until our friend Nancy Morrison spoke about it and read excerpts from it during the speech she made at my Wine & Cheese Retirement event. Nancy of course, was fabulous, and so too were the comments from the Book which she selected to share with all of us.
In truth, I need to say “thanks” to all of you. To Norrah Whitney, who got me into all of this in the first place, when in January of 2002, she invited each political party to send a representative to a press conference at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. There, she filed the first human rights complaint, against the government of Ontario , for cutting her son Lucas off his IBI treatment, merely because he turned age 6. I went on behalf of the NDP. I was the only MPP there. What I heard that day about children with autism, IBI treatment, wait lists, and arbitrary age cut-offs, moved me so much that I knew I had to take up this cause. And the rest is history!
Thanks to Nancy Morrison who is famous for her 2003 election letter to Dalton McGuinty, asking about his autism platform. She is actually more famous for the reply—which has been distributed far and wide and repeated constantly—since it so clearly shows he really didn’t mean what he said when he made the promises that he did to parents with children with autism. Nancy is a great candidate and I’m so proud she is running for us in this election.
Thanks to the parents involved in the Deskin-Wynberg, Sagharian, and Ontario Human Rights Tribunal proceedings, who took the government on, when the government refused to provide the services all of these children need. No family should have to go to court to force the government to do the right thing. I look forward to the day when the government recognizes the needs of children with autism, and just meets those needs.
Thanks to all of the moms, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends, siblings, and children with autism who came to Queen’s Park when I asked, so I could share their stories in the Legislature. Because families came, again and again, with heart-wrenching story after heart-wrenching story, the media was finally forced to take notice and start reporting on these issues. And because families held rallies, and vigils and demonstrations all across Ontario , the media was also forced to write about the plight of your children. Autism has become a public matter now—a vote-determining matter now—and that is because of the strength, the conviction and the courage of all of you.
It has been a privilege and an honour to work with so many of you on behalf of all children with autism. You are incredible advocates and your children are incredible gifts. I thank all of you for letting me into your lives so I could work with you to try and make things a little better.
Be well.
Shelley Martel

A Good site for us to send our teachers!
Setting up an autism classroom
Whether you have one student or ten students with autism, these effective strategies will help you lead a successful classroom.

The Question Companion
Two of our most popular items are now on sale. Teach children to understand vital questions that begin with “What”, “How”, “When”, “Which”, “Where” and “Why”. The Question Companion is now just $39 and includes TWO packs of Question Cards PLUS a FREE social story book. This special saves you $21!
1. The Question Series – Entertainment
2. Question - Set What & How
3. Social story book called “Answering Questions and Saying Hi & Bye”

from a listmate
Ottawa Sun
Famous last words
October 10, 2007
Women's rights heroines would be proud of PC candidate, ex-mayor says
Ottawa-Centre Conservative candidate Trina Morissette rallied with a former Ottawa mayor against the backdrop of a monument to revered Canadian women yesterday to argue on the election eve that she'd be a strong voice for working women.
The Liberal government has neglected issues women care about, she said at a rain-soaked press conference at the monument to the Famous Five on Parliament Hill.
" Ottawa women are fed up with the Liberals and their lack of action on class sizes, autism, the doctor shortage and senior care," Morissette said.
"Dalton McGuinty's government is so heartless that it is even suing the parents of autistic children."
Morissette, a 34-year-old lawyer, promised a Conservative government would boost the number of family doctors, support efforts to recruit and retain physicians and bring more health professionals to family health teams.

It would also bring 35,000 substandard long-term care beds up to par, ensure access to care for seniors and expand home care.
"The Famous Five would be so honoured and proud to have a young woman of the calibre of Trina Morissette putting her name on the ballot," said former mayor Jackie Holzman, who said Morissette has the backing of many prominent local women.
"Dozens of women have said Trina will give the strong voice for Ottawa that's needed at Queen's Park."
Seventy-eight years after the Famous Five made history, there still aren't enough women at Queen's Park, Holzman said, arguing that Ottawa-Centre voters could address that inequity by electing Morissette.
The Famous Five -- Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby -- were five Alberta women who fought all the way to the Privy Council of Great Britain, then Canada 's final appeal court for women to be considered "persons" under the law.
NDP Media Release
Oct 08, 2007 18:00 ET
McGuinty Doesn't Care About Seniors
KINGSTON, ONTARIO --(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2007) - NDP Leader Howard Hampton says Dalton McGuinty is still hiding behind faith-based schools and negative advertising. McGuinty's refusal to talk about his record shows he doesn't care about issues like the living conditions of seniors in long-term care.

"Dalton McGuinty wants us to sleepwalk to election day," said Hampton . "Working families won't be fooled - they see the disgusting, disgraceful state some seniors in long-term care are forced to live in, and the fact that Dalton McGuinty has had four years to do something about it and done nothing. If he gets another blank cheque majority on Wednesday - he'll continue to do nothing."

Hampton was joined at a Kingston campaign stop by Vince Maloney. Vince's wife has been in long-term care for 11 years and Vince struggles every month to cover the costs.

A report by the Ontario Federation of Labour released late last week suggests the Ontario government is helping to break its own laws by allowing nursing homes to leave residents lying for hours in soiled diapers.

"Staff are being rewarded with pizza parties for not changing seniors' diapers," said Hampton . "It's absolutely sickening. People have come up to me over the past few days haunted by the image of seniors - the people who built this province, our mothers and fathers - living in soiled diapers. What's Dalton McGuinty's reaction? Nothing. He simply doesn't care."

Hampton says that Dalton McGuinty's majority government allowed him to break his promise to re-impose minimum standards of care and get away with not giving long-term care homes the resources they need to provide seniors with the dignity they deserve.

"Don't give Dalton McGuinty another arrogant, complacent uncaring majority that has no reason to do anything or listen to anyone. If you care about seniors, if you care about kids with autism, if you care about child poverty - then I'm asking you, vote for someone else who cares on Wednesday - vote NDP," said Hampton .
Google alert

The Many Faces of Poverty — Not in My Backyard
The Many Faces of Poverty – Not in My Backyard!
By Mary M. Mansour
Awareness is the first step –
Doing something to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY in our own backyard is the next!

Here in Brantford there is a group that is trying to help MAKE POVERTY HISTORY. JoAnne Dubois, from Community Development/Outreach Community Legal Clinic, is the coordinator, along with Carrie Sinkowski from the Sexual Assault Centre.
The group has representation from all walks of life: Aboriginal Health Centre, Yes Church, Brant County Health Unit, Why Not City Missions, The Forgotten Ones, CRES, Food Bank, Community Legal Clinic, The City of Brantford, Brantford Community Health System, Immigrant Settlement Services, Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, Sexual Assault Centre of Brant, Spotlight on Social Equality, National Farmers Union, plus various Community members and churches. Their goal to eliminate poverty is in line with the international "Make Poverty History" group.
"This is about the people, not us," Dubois pointed out. "We need to draw the public’s attention to our key local issues during the current provincial campaign!"
Key local issues: a living wage for all; economic challenges of our farming community; equality of our educational system; and trends towards part-time/contract jobs.
The group has interviewed some of our local provincial candidates, (Liberal, NDP & Green – Conservative declined), on these key issues – results to be published soon.
Some events planned over the next month, in order to raise awareness of poverty in our community, are: Jim Stanford, Economist and Writer with the Globe and Mail will be speaking on the economics of poverty on October 1 at the Brantford Library, 3rd floor auditorium. October 1 has been designated as the "provincial day for the elimination of poverty". On October 3, 2007, Kathleen Kevany, Director of Vibrant Communities, will be speaking at Yeschurch. A vibrant community is one that actively promotes the well-being of their members and the community as a whole!

5 million Canadians live in poverty!
1 IN 6 Canadian children – 1 in 4 First Nations children still live in poverty –
This is 18 yrs from the 1989 resolution, by Canada ’s House of Commons,
to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000!
49% of new immigrant children live below the poverty line
There is a growing contingent of working poor families –
34 % of these children have at least one parent working full time
2 out of 3 low income families with children live in unaffordable housing –
Canada does not have an affordable housing strategy
No province has reduced child poverty to less than 10%
The average single mother, with children,
needs an additional $9,400/yr – just to reach the poverty line
20% of Brant County families live below the poverty line
Last winter, Brantford’s Out of the Cold program had 60% more beds per capita than Hamilton – 20% of those beds were for women and children
Homeless people were sleeping in our old fire hall – it isn’t there anymore –
Where will they sleep now?
900 plus families use the Brantford food bank on a monthly basis –
Counting upwards to 2,500 people if you consider these are families!
Even some farmers use the food bank to feed their family
Brantford economy is booming?
3 major companies have just closed their doors!
Many Brantford families are trying to survive on part-time work or Temp agency jobs
40.3% of single people earn less than poverty line
To be at poverty level they would have to make $10/hr – work 40 hrs/wk - $20,000/yr
A single male can live the most frugally – he would need $22,000 to meet basic needs!
People on welfare, (Ontario Works) live 48% below the poverty line
Single person receives $548/month – Single parent with one child receives $1,000/month
Single person on disability receives $960/month
Each of these scenarios is less than $13,000/yr
You do a living budget from their incomes!
Numerous seniors – the people who helped build this country – are living in poverty!
The child of a single parent on disability is only allowed to earn approximately $200/month before income is taken off the parent’s cheque – OSAP does not advance monies until school has begun, yet many fees are due before that – How do these children save to go to college?
Prices farmers receive today have not increased in 30 years!
In 1991, 77,910 Canadian farm operators were under the age of 35 –
Today, there are just 29,762!
For the past 20 years the net income of farms has been near or below 1930’s levels –
However, corporate profits have increased!

Real stories from our own backyards, here in Brantford
(so as to protect the innocent I will use an initial…)

Survival? L. is a single mom with two children. After having finally escaped her violent partner, he still used tactics to try and control her, one of them being to accuse her of "welfare fraud". During the investigation, L. received no benefits. She borrowed cab money from her landlord to take her sick baby to the hospital. He began harassing her for the money, eventually offering to forget the loan if she had dinner with him. After dinner, he pushed for "favours" which she felt she couldn’t refuse – he’d spent money on her. L. found herself doing things she’d never have thought she’d be capable of, but her kids didn’t have some of the basic necessities – she feared contact with their father – there just wasn’t enough money…
Existence? T.’s husband of over 20 years left her for another woman. She had two teenagers to support, one of them having autism. Eventually, her husband was ordered to pay $413.00 a month for that child. "To be able to purchase wholesome food for my children was a challenge," T. said. "I could barely pay my bills. Due to the injuries I had suffered from a car accident, I was unable to work, but after the Mike Harris system anyone on O.W. had to. Disability denied me four times. In May 2005 I was awarded $300.00 a month in support, which was taken off my check. Finally, I was forced into bankruptcy – I was so ashamed. Eventually I had to place my autistic child in assisted living. There was no money for physiotherapy, counselling, or to help with ‘special needs’. I never realized this level of life existed!" T. finished, tears in her eyes.
Education? A. has four children. After a lengthy marriage, she found herself alone and on O.W. When her eldest child was ready to go to college, there was no money for the advance fees. A friend loaned them the money until the OSAP came through. The same scenario happened for the next two. By the fourth, A. was on disability. Her youngest child got a summer job; sure they could earn enough to cover the pre-OSAP costs. However, A. found out if her child made anything over approximately $200 a month; it would come directly off her cheque. "I was once again very grateful for good friends," A. said. "My children didn’t become a statistic!"
Seniors? M. is a widow. In order to survive, she has taken out a reverse mortgage on her home. She doesn’t know how long she will be able to stay in her own home with the cost of everything going up. She wonders what will happen to her then!
Disabled & Senior? Years ago, C. lived in an Ontario Housing unit and was a driving force behind some very worthwhile programs. For example, a 2000 square foot community garden was started and 8 to 12 year olds were paid $30 a week in the summer to maintain it – the vegetables were spread equally amongst the community; teens were placed in jobs throughout the community, (thanks to a program sponsored by the federal government); an on site resource centre was established, and a doctor visited once a week. Fast forward 20 years…C. now suffers from major disabilities. The provincial government finally increased one of his pensions and then turned around and cut his diet benefit. His wife is restricted, by the limits to the amount of money she can earn before it affects their income, and by the fact that C. needs extra care. C. fears if anything happens to him his wife would be left with two months of income before having to apply for welfare and she’d have a difficult time getting a job because of her age! Perseverance! C. continues to push for youth programs in the hopes of making things better for the next generation. "Change has to come from within the population in need – it is their voice that will lead the others towards change!"
Farming anyone? J. has been farming for 40 years, however, "many young farmers are getting out of the business," she mentioned; "my own son has to have a job off the farm in order to keep the farm going!" There was a time that J. remembers when at least a farmer could put preserves on the shelf, and meat and vegetables in the freezer, to tide over the winter. She is shocked at the fact that even farmers now are using the city food banks in order to make it through the cold months! "Farmers are the ones who have always fed the cities. Something needs to be done to promote our own domestic agriculture!"
On December 22, 1992, the United Nations recognized October 17th as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Pere Joseph Wresinski said: "Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty."
For further information on any of the up-coming events, or on how you can help in your community of Brantford , you can contact JoAnne Dubois at 519-752-8669.

Attention News Editors:
TVO's November 2007 Highlights



TORONTO , Oct. 11 /CNW/ - TVO puts a spotlight on Autism Sunday, November

18 with multifaceted programming designed to help us gain deeper insight into

condition that affects about 1 in every 450 Canadians. The evening begins at

8 pm with the in-depth documentary "The Autism Puzzle," which looks at the

history of the condition and the latest research. At 9 pm the feature-length

drama "After Thomas" is based on a true story
of a couple's challenges trying

to find help for their autistic child. And immediately following the film,

viewers are welcomed to join a discussion with autism experts at "Your Voice,"

both on air and online at

Also in November, Remembrance Day programming includes the hard-hitting

drama, The Relief of Belsen, on November 11 at 9 pm, about a British medical

team that fought to avert a humanitarian catastrophe at the Bergen-Belsen

concentration camp at the end of World War 2.

On the
"Agenda with Steve Paikin," a four-day examination of the

Israeli-Palestinian conflict gets underway November 26 at 8 pm, and will

include guests from both sides of what is sure to be a challenging and

thought-provoking debate. For another perspective on Israeli-Palestinian

relations, the
"Human Edge" documentary "9 Star Hotel," airing November 28 at

10 pm, follows a group of Palestinian workers building a new Israeli city

while dodging authorities.

More documentaries in November include "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary"

on November 7 at 10 pm in which eighty-one year old Traudl Jung recounts her

experiences as the private secretary to Adolf Hitler. "Can Dogs Smell Cancer?"

on Sunday November 25 at 8 pm reveals the results of an astonishing new study

that suggests dogs could be better at diagnosing cancer than

technology. And on "Masterworks" on November 29 at 10 pm, "Remembering Arthur"

explores the life and work of innovative Canadian filmmaker Arthur Lipsett.

New dramas include "The Refuge" on Sunday, November 4 at 9 pm about a

standoff in a London church where Kurdish
refugees have sought asylum. "Losing

It" on November 6 at 9 pm stars Martin Clunes as an advertising copywriter

diagnosed with testicular cancer.

TVO is Ontario 's public educational media organization and a trusted

source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires, and

stimulates curiosity and thought. We are committed to empowering people to be

engaged citizens of
Ontario through educational media.

Where to find TVO: Cable subscribers channel 2 (channel may vary in some

areas), Bell Expressvu subscribers: Channel 265, Star Choice subscribers:

Channel 353

For further information: Media Contacts: Paul Ginis, (416) 484-2600

x2445,; Anne Rubenstein, (416) 484-2600 x2881,; Audience Relations: (416) 484-2665,

From a listmate
Globe's Murray Campbell on the Ontario election
Globe and Mail Update
October 11, 2007 at 12:20 PM EDT
"Dalton McGuinty was handed victory on a silver platter," The Globe's Queen's Park correspondent Murray Campbell writes today in his front-page column McGuinty must now tackle issues he sidestepped in his first mandate
"He became the first Liberal Leader in 70 years to fashion back-to-back majority victories without having to do much more than stick to his script and poke Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory with a sharp stick every once in a while.
"Mr. McGuinty enjoyed a healthy stretch of similar good fortune in his four years as Premier. When he came to office, he was sorely tested by the $5.6-billion budget deficit left for him by the departing Conservatives. He rose to the occasion by making a definitive (although unpopular) decision to implement a $2.5-billion annual health tax rather than watch Ontario 's social services erode further.
"But in the later years of his term, he was largely spared such crucial leadership moments. Revenues soared and in the way that a rising tide lifts all boats, Mr. McGuinty suddenly found he had enough money at his disposal to cut off at the knees a lot of problems . . .
"[But] Mr. McGuinty still faces a forbidding agenda," he concludes.
In an earlier column, The victor faces a forbidding landscape, he wrote last week: "Whichever political party forms the next Ontario government will face a daunting set of very expensive problems that will have to be confronted amid worsening economic conditions,"
"New contracts will have to be negotiated with public servants, teachers, nurses and doctors, a new structure for financing municipalities found, and some delicate stickhandling will be needed to deal with the volatile property-tax assessment system.
"If that's not enough, the new government will also have to make some quick decisions about new nuclear power plants and try to find a way to solve the protracted confrontation with natives in Caledonia . . .
"These issues will cost billions of dollars, but economists warn that the government cannot count on the boom of the past few years to continue."
Mr. Campbell is online today to answer your questions on the result of yesterday's election and on how the re-elected Liberals can try to meet the challenges Ontario faces.
This is not one of our regular live discussions. Rather, it's a question-and-answer session. Your questions and Mr. Campbell's answers are posted at the bottom of this page.
Mr. Campbell has written The Globe's Queen's Park column since 2002.
He joined The Globe in 1977 after earlier experience at The Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen and in England .
In his career with The Globe he has worked in a wide variety of positions, including city editor and sports editor.
He served as bureau chief in both Los Angeles and Washington in the 1990s. Since then, has worked as a national and foreign desk reporter, both based in Toronto , and as a feature writer.
In reporting from five continents, he has covered innumerable elections, four Olympic Games and the aftermath of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda .
He was a Southam fellow at Massey College in the University of Toronto in 1983-4 and won The Globe's Stanley McDowell award for writing in 1992 for his coverage of (among other things) the L.A. riots and the U.S. presidential election that year.
Editor's Note: We will follow the same rules for this Q&A that we do for our regular live online discussions: editors will read and allow or reject each question. Questions may be edited for length, clarity or relevance. HTML is not allowed. We will not publish questions or comments that include personal attacks on the participants in this forum or other commenters, that make false or unsubstantiated allegations, that purport to quote people or reports where the purported quote or fact cannot be easily verified, or questions that include vulgar language or libellous statements. Preference will be given to readers who submit questions/comments using their full name and home town, rather than a pseudonym.
Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, Welcome, Murray , and thanks for taking questions today from the readers of
You wrote in today's paper about what the McGuinty Liberals are facing in the second term. But a lot of our readers are also wondering about John Tory's fate. Is he safe as PC Leader? Do you foresee any dissension with the ranks? Or calls for him to step down?
Murray Campbell : I know that Mr. Tory is saying that he will stay on, but I don't see how he can do that for very long.
He doesn't have a seat in the legislature and it's unlikely that anyone in his caucus would step aside for him.
As well, he left a safe Conservative seat outside Toronto because he wanted to run in the city and it would be unseemly to have to retrace his steps to a rural seat.
It is difficult to lead a party without being in the House. Mr. Tory did it for a few months until he won his by-election in 2005 but it is not ideal.
I'm certain that in the coming days there will be internal talks about his stepping aside.
He was instrumental in getting the party back on its feet after the 2003 election loss but I just can't see him hanging in.
Ideal Pragmatist: Mr. Campbell , Ontario got the government it didn't dislike as much as the alternatives.
But don't you think there is a stale smell in democracyland here?
I think the Liberals got away with one — no punishment for probably the biggest bunch of fibs ever told to voters (in 2003), a free ride in an election campaign pretty much devoid of any analysis of their achievements (or lack thereof), and no serious debate about Ontario's uncertain economic future.
Murray Campbell : Well, Mr. McGuinty certainly benefited from the Conservative pledge to bring private religious schools into the public education system.
Voters looked at that policy and they weighed it against the government's record and decided they could live with an imperfect government rather than one that wanted something that went against the grain of Ontario populism.
It's probably a little unfair to accuse a government of being stale just because it won a second channel but it's worth noting that the Liberals got (if my math is correct) the support of 22 per cent of eligible voters.
Ross Smith, Niagara Falls : Mr. Campbell, do you feel that the re-elected Liberal government will address the issue of a more-fair approach to levying the Ontario Health Premium? Applying it like income tax, as a percentage of income, would be more equitable, I think.
Murray Campbell : The Liberals have given no indication that they have any plans to remove the regressive nature of the tax. In the Premier's words, he needs "every penny" of it.
There is a review of the tax scheduled for 2009, however, and perhaps that will be the time they would consider rejigging the way in which it is collected.
D.K.: How long do you think it will be before Dalton raises taxes again? I fully expect an increase in the health levy, now that the Liberals have secured a majority.
Murray Campbell : Mr. McGuinty is now on the record as saying he will not raise taxes in his second term.
I know he said that before and cynics would say he would have no compunction about breaking the promise for a second time. But I think he understands that his reputation would be irredeemably tarnished by raising taxes yet again.
Michael De Wit: Now that the Liberals are moving into four more years of majority rule, will they finally address the overall questions related to autism?
My impression is that they are now going to try and sweep it under the carpet and do anything but — which is only going to make things far worse that they already are.
Murray Campbell : The autism file has nagged the government for four years.
The Liberals argue that they have, in fact, implemented their promise to provide treatment for school-age children.
Still, there's a huge waiting list and I would expect the Liberals will make some moves to whittle it down because it's an issue that has become very high profile and bothersome to them.
Lunatic Moon: Murray , I agree with your column that the Ontario government faces huge challenges in the next four years.
But one challenge which never gets any attention is our rapidly changing demographics.
"Old Ontarians" simply are not reproducing and we therefore require replacement workers. Is it conceivable — within the next four years — that the province could be controlled by "New Ontarians" who may wish to revisit the faith-based funding issue?
Murray Campbell : I don't think old Ontarians are going to loosen their grip that quickly and, besides, there's no compelling evidence that recent immigrants want to revisit the religious schools issue.
Many have said throughout the campaign that they want to integrate into Ontario society and that they value the role that public schools play in such a process.
Inge Jordan, Ottawa : What effect do you think the Ontario election result will have federally? Will it help the federal Liberals?
Murray Campbell : I talked to someone in Stephen Harper's office last night and I was told that the federal Conservatives would not draw any lessons from the election.
They are two different landscapes.
It's also instructive to note how often Ontarians like to vote so that they get different parties in office in Ottawa and at Queen's Park.
Given that, the federal Liberals can't expect any bounce from Mr. McGuinty's victory.
Josie Erent: I do not understand why this Liberal government insists on spending $40 billion on nuclear energy when other countries such as Germany and England have decided not to go that route.
What is the reasoning behind building this extremely expensive, environmentally unfriendly technology that has even been criticized by respected scientific groups such as the Pembina Institute.
The Ontario public does not support nuclear energy. Yet, the government, power generation unions, the atomic energy industry and the natural gas industry are trying to ram it down the unwilling Ontario taxpayers' throats.
Murray Campbell : It's difficult to gauge the public's attitude toward nuclear power.
It depends on how the question is asked, whether it's phrased in the context of budget overruns and waste problems or whether it's put in the context of electricity shortages.
The government has concluded that it has to keep the current share of electricity production borne by nuclear plants because if it didn't it couldn't guarantee electricity supplies after about 2020.
I recognize that there is criticism that they are not doing enough to support renewable energy sources but it's a tough, tough call and no government can afford to run an electricity system on hopes and wishes for alternative sources of energy.
It's worth noting that there are nearly 40 applications to build new nuclear plants in the United States .
Martha K.: Mr. Campbell, thank you for taking our questions. Might it be correct to interpret the results as many Ontarians not necessarily voting for Mr. McGuinty but against faith-based funding? That was my perception.
Murray Campbell : That's a perfectly valid interpretation.
The Liberals were very skilful in exploiting the anxieties of Ontarians about the faith-based schools proposal, but that's not the same as saying that those who voted Liberal did so because they support its agenda.
I'm willing to bet that most people don't even know what their second-term platform is because it barely got discussed.
It's worth noting, too, that Liberal support barely budged during the campaign and the people fleeing the Conservatives seemed to have voted for the New Democrats or the Greens.
For most of the campaign, Mr. McGuinty's approval ratings ran behind those of his party.
Jim Sheppard, Executive Editor, Murray, thanks very much for joining us today. I'm sure our readers appreciated your insight and analysis.



October 11, 2007

Mississauga-Streetsville: Transit, health care help Liberal incumbent
For the second time in a row, Liberal MPP Bob Delaney has beaten Progressive Conservative Nina Tangri, this time in the booming new riding of Mississauga-Streetsville.
Delaney, who trounced Tangri in 2003 in the former riding of Mississauga West, held onto the new riding, which was created in 2007 from a blend of Mississauga West and the old Brampton West-Mississauga.
"I'm absolutely elated, and we won on a combination of factors, from the government's record to the fact that things are better in western Mississauga ," said Delaney, 55, moments after being declared the winner last night.
"My two marquis issues were reducing gridlock with the new Go Train station, and hospital expansion," said Delaney.
However Tangri blamed her loss on a province-wide "protest vote" against the Conservatives' vow to fund private religious schools, a promise she said the Liberals used to scare voters.
"The Liberals clearly spent the whole time fear-mongering about faith-based school funding and we shouldn't have let them do that," said Tangri, 42, an insurance broker who said voters raised the funding of faith-based schools with her about twice a day.
"The Liberals centred on this one issue in our platform to keep from confronting their record of broken promises, and the people who lost in this election were really the parents of autistic children and people who need better health care – all the other issues we should have been debating.
However Delaney said it was transit and health care that won the riding. The former public relations consultant had campaigned on the McGuinty government's support of the first new GO Train station in Mississauga in 25 years; the new Lisgar station opened in September.
Tangri had accused Delaney of rushing the opening of the station as a pre-election photo op, although she also campaigned on a vow to ease gridlock through more HOV lanes and extending the Toronto subway line west from Kipling station.
It is the fourth failed bid for Tangri, who ran for the Conservatives twice federally, as well as in the 2003 provincial election. She said she had agreed to run again this time out of admiration for party leader John Tory.
The riding is a relatively affluent hub of many new Canadians – many from South Asia and China – who mostly own their own homes and have an average annual income of about $78,000.
Long a conservative stronghold that sent Tony Clement and John Snobelen to Queen's Park, the area went Liberal during the 2003 McGuinty sweep, and stayed Liberal red last night.
NDP candidate Gail McCabe, a sociology professor at York University , had campaigned for a $10 minimum wage and more social services for those living in poverty.
The Green Party's Scott Warner vowed more government protection for the environment and the Family Coalition Party's Masood Atchekzai promised more support with families struggling with disabilities.
All candidates pledged to support expanded health care, but it was the Liberal government's support for a new wing at Credit Valley Hospital that Delaney said won him widespread support across the riding.
"A new four-story block is under way at Credit Valley that will extend complex continuous care and maternity care, with 140 to 150 more beds," said Delaney, although Tangri, who sits on the Credit Valley Hospital Board, said the expansion was initiated by the hospital, not the Liberals.
Health care also tops Delaney's list of priorities for his new term of office; he vows to champion a new ambulatory surgery centre that would relieve the operating room pressures at Credit Valley .


October 11, 2007

Modest gains for New Democrats
FORT FRANCES , Ont.–NDP Leader Howard Hampton had hoped to hold the balance of power by the end of the night. Instead, he settled for an extra seat.
"We're quite happy," Ontario NDP party president Sandra Clifford said after the party won 11 seats, including Hampton 's riding of Kenora-Rainy River .
"With an even bigger caucus we'll have an even bigger voice and be able to highlight issues of importance to Ontarians," she said last night.
Before the polls even closed yesterday, a confident Hampton squelched speculation that this would be his last election as leader, saying: "I like my job."
This is the third time he has led the party in an election, and while gains were made, there was still disappointment that they didn't manage to wrest enough seats from the Liberals to give Ontario a minority government as they had hoped.
"It would have been great to have a minority government. It would have been a more responsive government," Clifford said.
At dissolution, the Liberals held 67 of the 103 seats in the Legislature, the Conservatives 25, the NDP 10, and there was one vacancy. Four extra ridings were added due to redistribution.
The controversy over the Conservative proposal to fund religious schools meant, "a lot of voters turned off the whole discussion and that always favours the incumbent," she said.
For Hampton , unlike Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty and Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory, this election was never about trying to win enough seats to become premier.
The NDP strategy was simply to win enough ridings to keep the Liberals from getting another majority. Vote for the NDP, Hampton told Ontarians, from one end of the province to the other, and "we'll be able to hold them accountable." It was a strategy he was sure would succeed.
Hampton, 55, pushed hard on the party's six election issues.
The NDP would reduce or eliminate the controversial health tax for middle- and low-income earners; immediately raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour and roll back last year's pay hike for MPPs; increase funding to schools so parents don't have to fund raise for essentials and pay for intensive therapy for all the autistic kids who need it; freeze university tuition at 2003 levels and eliminate classroom fees; expand home care beds and give seniors in long-term care homes 3 1/2 hours of nursing and personal care a day; and introduce a right-to-know law so people know what toxins are being used and stored in their neighbourhoods.
There was a confident air, in the early days of the campaign, that these six issues would resonate with Ontarians and the way to make them happen was to elect New Democrat MPPs so they could play a strong role in a minority government.
By the final days Hampton had changed his tune and, rather than encourage people to vote for New Democrats because of what they stood for, he urged Ontarians to vote for them to stop the Liberals from walking away with the election and letting down people afterward.
The NDP was the best option for traditional Liberal voters who "neither trust nor believe" McGuinty and for Conservative voters dismayed that Tory "took a long walk in right field the day the election was called," Hampton said.
Asking voters to vote NDP "just this once" was a bit of come down from the early days when Hampton was being questioned about which party he'd prop up in a minority government and which NDP policies the other leaders would have to implement to get his support.
But Hampton said he had no regrets.
"We set out to raise the issues that matter to ordinary Ontarians, people who have been disappointed and let down by the McGuinty government and in the last week or so we actually managed to get some attention focused on those issues."



PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVES | Unassigned | Tory suffers humiliating defeat
Tory suffers humiliating defeat
Insists he'll stay on as party leader despite losing Don Valley West race to Liberal Wynne
Oct 11, 2007 04:30 AM
Richard Brennan
The Progressive Conservatives lost the election and despite being personally defeated, party leader John Tory insisted he is sticking around.
"I will continue to have my job ... much remains to be done," he told a cheering crowd of more than 200 party faithful. "I want to continue to listen and make a difference because it is the right thing to do."
A sombre Tory, who lost the Don Valley West riding to incumbent Liberal Kathleen Wynne, watched in disbelief as the Liberals dealt the Conservatives another crushing defeat. Tory had won the now-defunct Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey riding in a 2005 by-election.
"I regret that outcome for other people who are affected one way or the other," said Tory, whose faith-based funding election promise sent voters fleeing from the party.
Despite Tory's insistence that he was staying around, the big question is whether the 53-year-old life-long Conservative will be allowed to hang on for long term. Tory told the Star earlier he would take some time before deciding whether to stay on and rebuild the party or leave the job to someone else.
"It's better to make those decisions after a few moments of reflection, whether that's a day or a week, and to talk to other people," he said.
Even before the ballots were counted, party supporters furious over the religious school funding issue had the knives out for Tory.
"Tory is dead man walking," said one Ottawa-area Conservative, insisting there are already three potential leadership candidates, MPPs Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora), Tim Hudak (Niagara West-Glanbrook) and Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton).
Blair McCreadie, president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, said school funding became "a top of mind issue" for many Ontario voters and overshadowed all else. But he had nothing but praise for Tory, who inherited a party in 2003 with a $10 million deficit, which he helped clear in two years.
"There is a tremendous amount of goodwill for John Tory in this party for the work he has put in as leader," McCreadie said.
Even before the official race began, faith-based school funding shaped Tory's campaign. People who said they had voted Conservative all their lives could not support using public money to fund religious schools.
Just as Tory was dogged by the issue at the doorstep, so were Conservative candidates who told the Star they were getting "pounded" and no matter how much they tried to explain it, people weren't buying. Rather than the spotlight being on Premier Dalton McGuinty's legacy of broken promises, it was squarely on Tory.
Tory's campaign message of more money for transit, the need for more family doctors, more funding for treatment of children with autism and for public housing, and phasing out the health tax, was drowned out by the controversy over religious school funding.
"I never had control of the message," he complained hours before the end of the campaign, blaming in part the media for seizing on one issue in his 52-page platform.
Tory said that for him, extending funding to religious schools was a matter of fairness, and he did not regret defending the position.
"If you believe you did the right thing and act with integrity and honesty then you can't sit around regretting," he told the Star, adding he was incensed that McGuinty, educated in the Catholic system, "stoked the fire" of cultural and religious differences.
Tory promised during the leadership campaign he would go to bat for parents sending their children to religious private schools as long as those schools followed the provincial curriculum and hired certified Ontario teachers.
"When I make those commitments I carry through with them. It was an issue that needs to be addressed, it still is," he said during the dying days of the campaign.
Throughout the campaign, Tory insisted the election was about leadership and a higher sense of honesty and integrity, a message he was adept at delivering during the televised leadership debate as well as challenging McGuinty's record.
But three days later, Tory announced his faith-based funding proposal would be put to a free vote if he were to form a government.


York Simcoe: MPP wins in new riding
Experience paid off last night for Progressive Conservative Julia Munro, who managed a strong victory over Liberal John Gilbank in the new riding of York-Simcoe.
Munro said her 12 years as a hard-working MPP in the region, three previous campaigns, and a strong team of volunteers on the ground, were the main reasons she was re-elected amid a second Liberal sweep.
"The most important thing in my view is to work hard and be accessible," Munro, 65, said at her victory party at a local restaurant.
While disappointed at her party's resounding defeat, Munro promised to fight for the concerns of constituents in York-Simcoe, a sprawling riding that covers the southern half of Lake Simcoe and includes a mix of farmers, commuters with young families, seniors' communities and the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nations Reserve.
"The key issues I heard in this election were around gridlock and the need for highway infrastructure and the continuing shortage of doctors," she said. Munro supports investment in transit, the proposed Bradford Bypass, and the extension of the 404.
Gilbank, 60, of Jackson 's Point, had run largely because of his commitment to cleaning up and preserving Lake Simcoe . The health of the lake and the greenbelt are among the many environmental concerns in the riding.
Munro of Georgina said the campaign was largely highjacked by the controversial faith-based school funding proposal by the Progressive Conservatives. As a result, she didn't take a fourth election victory for granted. She focused on covering the riding and even up until the final hours, until the polls closed, her organizers were working the phones and spreading out through the riding to get their vote out.
Jim Reeves of the Green Party, who lives in Sutton, had hoped for an improved showing by his party in order to push environmental issues up the agenda of the major political parties. New Democrat Nancy Morrison of Bradford is a well-known advocate who drew attention to the shortage of services for children with autism. She had run promising to fight for working families and children.


Ottawa Sun

It's an early TKO for Grit McNeely

Ottawa-Orleans was expected to be close, but incumbent makes it a rout

October 11, 2007


Liberal incumbent Phil McNeely handily captured the riding of Ottawa-Orleans last night, edging out a star Tory candidate many predicted would give him a much tougher fight.
In the end it wasn’t much of a race at all, with the 69-year-old McNeely pulling in 19,947 votes, more than 7,000 votes ahead of Graham Fox, 33.
“I’m very, very humbled by the victory, by the support I’ve received from the people of Orleans ,” McNeely told supporters.
McNeely, a retired civil engineer and former Ottawa city councillor who was first elected to the legislature in 2003, met about 100 supporters at the Orleans Legion shortly after Fox conceded.
He confessed Fox’s credentials — a public policy researcher who has worked for federal Tory Joe Clark — and the hype surrounding his candidacy were daunting. Conservative Leader John Tory visited the riding six times, which proved unnerving even though McNeely managed to unseat a strong Conservative, Bruce Coburn, in the last provincial election.

“I was (worried),” said McNeely, who lost 25 pounds leading up to the election. “I worked very hard. I knew I had a challenge.”
McNeely praised Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty for bringing in a second majority government, despite “low, low, low” negative ads that left him getting “blamed at the doors” for the provincial court action on autism.
It was a disappointing night for Fox who, with 176 of 215 polls reporting, came away with 12,744 votes in a race many thought would go his way.
“In the end, we came up short,” he told supporters after conceding to McNeely and making his way to Orleans ’ Gabriel’s Pizza.
But a composed Fox stressed the campaign was not in vain.
“While the McGuinty government thought they could coast through this election, we asked the tough questions and made sure they were accountable,” he said.
Fox danced around the issue of whether he thought Tory's faith-based school funding stance hurt his campaign.
"I'm going to leave the speculation to others and let the dust settle on the results," he said. "But certainly I'm proud of my leader, who took a principal stand on fairness and we'll see what happens from tomorrow on."
A boyish smile crossed Fox's face when the first-timer was asked if he’d run again.
"We'll see," he said.
NDP candidate Andree Germain, a 31-year-old social worker who works with the HIV Prevention Research Team at the University of Ottawa , came third in the race with 2,421 votes. Germain — who is getting married in 10 days — only decided to run for the NDP at the last minute when she realized no one else was.
“I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be first or second,” she said.
- with files from Alex Hebert and Jennifer McIntosh
Ottawa Sun
October 11, 2007

Bittersweet win for young Tory
Lisa MacLeod laments party's fate, death of father as she wins Nepean-Carleton
“Life is a lot like political campaigns — it can take an awful turn so quickly, so quickly that when the dust settles you wonder how you can be standing,” she told supporters. “Six weeks ago tonight, my father passed away from a very brief illness with cancer.
“He was my biggest supporter, my closest adviser and my greatest ally. He would have taken great pleasure tonight no doubt in our very solid win here in Nepean-Carleton but I also know he would share with me and you the disappointment in tonight’s provincewide result.”
MacLeod’s father, veteran Nova Scotia municipal politician Dan MacLeod, was on hand at Greenfield ’s in Barrhaven when MacLeod swept to byelection victory after longtime MPP John Baird jumped to federal politics.
Eighteen months later, supporters again cheered as the 32-year-old strode in with her toddler daughter on her hip but the mood was subdued as news of the Liberal victory filled the pub’s TV screens.
MacLeod paid tribute to leader John Tory and promised to be a merciless critic of the government in opposition and to work to renew and rebuild her party.
“We’ve worked hard,” she said of her own win. “I ran on my record which was working with other community leaders regardless of political stripe or level of government to achieve results. We have a proud Conservative tradition in this riding, building on that with the work I’ve done with community leaders it spelled success.”
“More likely than not, people voted on the local candidate here,” she added.
“And more likely than not, they voted on a package of issues I’ve been working on and brought resolution to, rather than a party platform of the Conservatives or the Liberals or the New Democrats.”
In the next session, she wants to push for a children’s bill of rights and continue to try to make the legislature more welcoming to MPPs with families. Local issues she is pushing include preserving Manotick Square and continuing work on a new autism centre.
While MacLeod held a blue bastion, with 21,034 votes (with 232 of 272 polls reporting), Liberal Jai Aggarwal was left behind in a Liberal sweep, bringing in 13,531 votes.
Aggarwal, 27, said he’ll continue to be involved in his community and urged MPPs to work with city councillors to plan for light rail.
“I’m very happy with the kind of campaign we’ve run,” Aggarwal said. “I think we’ve given the electorate a lot to think about and the results are obvious. People are very much embracing the vision and ideas of Dalton McGuinty. Our team was a small part of a large effort and I’m very happy about that.”
The Green Party was poised to replace the NDP as the third party for the first time, with 3,562 votes.
“We’re on the radar screen,” said candidate Gordon Kubanek, who said his party is now seen as a credible alternative by voters worried about the lack of transit and disappearing farmland.
“People see us as realistic in the long term. There’s no panacea for the problems but we can steadily solve the problem. People don’t believe in quick fixes anymore.”
NDP candidate Tristan Maack, 28, who received 3,075 votes, said he was able to raise his party’s core values — a better minimum wage, dental care for the poor and other policies that promote social justice.
“I work at a grocery store and I’m not experienced in politics but I hope I have brought to the front the NDP values,” he said. Suzanne Fortin of the Family Coalition Party had 416 votes with 232 polls reporting.
— with files from Frank Appleyard and Jennifer Potter
October 10, 2007
I'm sticking around, Tory insists
Oct 10, 2007 11:49 PM
Richard Brennan
The Progressive Conservatives lost the election and despite losing his own seat, party leader John Tory insisted he is sticking around.
"I will continue to have my job ... much remains to be done," he told a cheering crowd of more than 200 party faithful.
"I want to continue to listen and make a difference because it is the right thing to do."
A sombre Tory, who lost the Don Valley West riding to Liberal Kathleen Wynne, watched in disbelief as the Liberals dealt the once powerhouse Progressive Conservative Party another crushing election loss.
"I regret that outcome for other people who are affected one way or the other," said Tory, whose faith-based funding election promise sent voters fleeing from the party.
Despite Tory's insistence that he was staying around, the big question of the night was whether the 53-year-old life-long Conservative will be allowed to hang on for long term. Tory told the Star he would take some time before deciding whether to stay on and rebuild the party or leave the job to someone else.
"It's better to make those decisions after a few moments of reflection – whether that's a day or a week – and to talk to other people," he said.
The Progressive Conservatives went into the election with 25 seats and ended the night – $15 million later – with exactly the same number of seats.
Even before the ballots were counted, party supporters furious over the religious school funding issue had the knives out for Tory. The sharp end is also being pointed at campaign manager John Laschinger, a political warhorse, for fumbling the ball.
"Tory is dead man walking," said one Ottawa area Conservative, insisting there are already three potential candidates, MPPs Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora), Tim Hudak (Niagara West-Glanbrook) and relative newcomer Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, whose Conservative pedigree has deep roots in Nova Scotia.
Blair McCreadie, president of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party said school funding became "a top of mind issue" for many Ontario voters and overshadowed all else.
But he had nothing but praise for Tory who inherited a party in 2003 with a $10 million deficit, which he helped clear in two years.
"There is a tremendous amount of good will for John Tory in this party for the work he has put in as leader," McCreadie said.Even before the official race began, faith-based school funding shaped Tory's campaign. People who said they had voted Conservative all their lives could not support using public money to fund religious schools.
Just as Tory was dogged by the issue at the doorstep, so were Conservative candidates, who told the Star they were getting "pounded" and no matter how much they tried to explain it, people weren't buying. Rather than the spotlight being on Premier Dalton McGuinty's legacy of broken promises, it was squarely on Tory.
Tory's campaign message of more money for transit, the need for more family doctors, more funding for treatment of children with autism and for public housing, and phasing out the health tax, was drowned out by the controversy over religious school funding.
"I never had control of the message," he complained hours before the end of the campaign, blaming in part the media for seizing on one issue in his 52-page platform.
Tory said that for him extending funding to religious schools was a matter of fairness, and he did not regret defending the position, even though it proved fatal for his campaign.
"If you believe you did the right thing and act with integrity and honesty then you can't sit around regretting," he told the Star, adding he was incensed that McGuinty, educated in the Catholic system, "stoked the fire" of cultural and religious differences.
Tory promised during the leadership campaign he would go to bat for parents sending their children to religious private schools as long as those school followed the provincial curriculum and hired certified Ontario teachers.
"When I make those commitments I carry through with them. It was an issue that needs to be addressed, it still is," he said during a campaign stop in the dying days of the campaign.
Throughout the campaign, Tory insisted the election was about leadership and a higher sense of honesty and integrity, a message he was adept at delivering during the televised leadership debate as well as challenging McGuinty's record.
"If there was a moment when I was filled with quite a bit of optimism ... that was a moment that was very important to me," Tory told the Star.
But just three days later, Tory was forced to back off on his faith-based school funding proposal and instead announced it would be put to a free vote if he were to form a government.
It was in Sarnia during a partisan rally that the widespread animosity to the school scheme finally sunk in when Beverly Cassel, 66, gave him a piece of her mind. Many others had before her but Tory recalls it being a defining moment.
"I had come off the stage thinking I had made one of my best speeches, speaking from my heart about what I thought the issues were ... and these two ladies (including) Cassel just start up with me about the schools issues, which I had quite deliberately not discussed because I really wanted to make sure we had discussion on some of the other issues," he said.
Party insiders said it was too little too late because the damage had already been done. But for some Conservative supporters, it was enough to keep them in the fold.
"I would not have voted for him," said Ken Scovell, a retired teacher living in a Don Valley West riding, who described himself as a life-long Conservative supporter.
Tory also battled the ghosts of governments past, in particular former Conservative premier Mike Harris' years of cuts to civil service, slashing welfare payments and closing hospitals.
At a farmer's market in London , Ont., Wendy Desmond, a Bell Canada employee, told Tory she was a single mom when Harris was premier. "He took everything," she said.
"I had to send toilet paper with my son to school because they didn't have enough money for toilet paper in the bathrooms. The party is the same. The face has changed but the party is the same. I'm just not interested," she after he walked away.
Working Families, which is under investigation by Elections Ontario after the Tories complained it is a front group for the Liberal Party, made direct comparison between the two men in hard-hitting U.S.-style ads.
Tory insisted on framing himself differently from the highly scripted McGuinty by mainstreeting and door knocking throughout the campaign. It was both a curse and a blessing because it exposed the PC leader to ordinary voters.
In a high-end men's store in Oakville , employee Maria Caetano of Hamilton , buttonholed Tory to tell him "I'm an immigrant myself and I don't like where our country is going. We should abolish religion in schools," she said.
Undeterred, Tory kept walking and talking.

Reviewers WANTED from Autism Ontario

>From: "Margaret Spoelstra"

>To: "Marg Spoelstra"

>Subject: FW: "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Aspeger's" - call for


>Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 17:46:21 -0400


>Hello members and friends of Autism Ontario ,


>We are interested in having someone write a book review for the Winter

>issue of Autism
Matters. The book we have in mind is called "Look Me


>the Eye: My Life with Asperger's" by John Elder Robison, a man with

>Aspergers. See book cover below. How could you resist a cover like


>Beneath that is a link to Amazon books that contains a short video


>of Jon's brother (Augusten Burroughs), talking about his brother's


>and also interviewing Jon. It's worth a look.


>We'll be accepting the names of people interested in reviewing the


>and we'll make a draw from the names submitted on Wednesday, October


>2007. Please
respond to this email with your full name, address

>phone number if you're interested in being part of the draw, and if


>are prepared to submit a written review of the book (500-750 words) by

>Friday, November 9, 2007. If your name is selected, we'll ask the fine

>folks at Parentbooks to send you a complimentary copy of "Look Me in


>Eye." Thank you, Parentbooks, for your generosity.









>Thanks for your interest!





A mother remembered - autism has a face

by Brian Channon

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 - 17:00

Local News - Resting on the strong shoulders of his step-grandfather a young boy asks, “When are they going to say something about my Mommy?”

It has been three weeks since Stephanie Dye of Espanola passed away leaving her five-year-old autistic son, Miles, without a mother. Dye, who was instrumental in organizing both annual candlelight vigils in Espanola, the first last year and the second, which was held in Espanola last week, in cooperation with the Alliance for Families with Autism (AFA), was considered a true crusader for the cause.

After the diagnosis of her son, Dye threw all her time and energy into learning all she could about the disorder to ensure the best care for her son.

Dye agreed with the AFA, that building awareness was a key element in supporting autism. She would have been proud to know that on Monday, October 1, during the second annual candlelight vigil, a soft glow illuminated 28 locations within the province of Ontario , including the office of Ontario Member of Parliament Mike Brown in Espanola.

People lit their candles in memory of Stephanie Dye and in honour of those families with children affected by autism.

Although this wasn’t a politically driven event, the importance of government awareness is recognized as being crucial to the overall outcome of autism itself.

“Governments at all levels need to support the research, support the measures that will make it easier for families, for the schools and for the public to engage themselves while in this very challenging position,” said Algoma-Manitoulin federal Member of Parliament Brent St. Denis in his opening statement.

St. Denis had been asked to attend on behalf of Brown.

Brown was unable to attend the gathering (see Letter, Page 4).

“If there is a pill involved it’s easy to get medical coverage, Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP) in the case of Ontario . But, there is no pill that I’m aware of to deal with autism and that’s sort of an unfortunate line that’s drawn when it comes to what’s covered and what’s not.”

The financial burden is overwhelming, with behavioral modification therapy (IBI), costing upward of $70,000 per year for each child. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which was once considered a rare neurological disorder, now afflicts approximately one in every 200 children in Canada and over 20,000 people within Ontario alone, according to the AFA.

As the years pass, those numbers continue to escalate expeditiously, according to Statistics Canada. The more those numbers grow, the longer the waiting list becomes to access treatments. Without proper research and funding, families are left to struggle and face the burden alone.

In the case of Wendy Marsh of Espanola, her challenges are even more consuming as she raises her grandson, Miles, with the help of her husband. Marsh admits she would do anything for her grandson. However, disabled by grief of the recent loss of her daughter, she is constantly explaining to Miles why he isn’t able to go home to the more regimented lifestyle he was accustomed to with his mother. The most common symptom of autism is the inability to adapt to change, which often causes frustration in the form of tantrums.

Blake Priddle, 13, student of AB Ellis Public School, was diagnosed with autism while in senior kindergarten. With candle in hand, he describes some of the common challenges associated with the disorder.

These range from dealing with change, learning how to socialize, as well as his struggles with language and writing skills.

According to Priddle, the respect and guidance he receives from his teachers is irreplaceable. The school has developed programs that provide children with an informed overview of various forms of autism.

“Kids from the fifth to the eighth grade, whoever is interested in being in the Peer Buddy Program, can be in it,” emphasized Priddle. “We have toonie Tuesday once a month with vegetables and fruit. And, what we do is watch videos about different kinds of autism. We talk about low functioning autism because hey, it’s not all about me.

“It can help other kids with autism and other disabilities too. So that way they’ll know how to work with other kids besides people like me with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism. So, a lot of the kids really liked the program and they think that other schools should have it, to help people understand autism,” said Priddle.

Awareness and understanding of those afflicted by the disorder is central to creating a healthier, more patient society. Priddle’s mother, Joanne Beyers said, “Having Blake has enriched my life. Everyday he shows me a different way to look at things.”

As the candles were being extinguished and the holders shuffled back to their cars it was obvious that the AFA with the help of the late Stephanie Dye, had fulfilled their wish, at least in Espanola, “that every individual with ASD has the right to shine.”
A Hallowe’en Event!!!

Hello Families and Friends,

It is that time of year again – October as Autism Awareness Month and
Children at Risk’s Celebrity-Carved Pumpkin Contest!

Our event runs next week from Thursday, October 25th to Saturday, October
27th in 4 Shopping Centres. In order to make this event a success, we need
many volunteers to come forward to man the displays.

This fundraiser is one of the most high-profile events for Children at Risk,
raising not only valuable funds but awareness and support! Many hands are
needed, so please check your schedules and give a little time, even a few

Here are the Mall Requirements:

Merivale Mall

Thursday, October 25th – 10 AM (reception)to 9 PM Friday, October 26th –
9:30 AM to 9 PM Saturday, October 27th – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Please contact Sylvie Parisien at 723-4754, email: Sylvie@rocon. ca

Place d’Orleans

Thursday, October 25th – 12 NOON to 9 PM Friday, October 26th – 9:30 AM to 9
PM Saturday, October 27th – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Please contact Andrea Allingham at 824-7919, email Allingham@amadha. ca

Carlingwood Shopping Centre

Thursday, October 25th – 12 NOON to 9 PM Friday, October 26th – 9:30 AM to 9
PM Saturday, October 27th – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Please contact Alison Armstrong a 836-4742 (h), 613-941-6686 (w), email

Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre

Thursday, October 25th – 12 NOON to 9 PM Friday, October 26th – 9:00 AM to 9
PM Saturday, October 27th – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Please contact Bambina Lemme at 834-9169, email amc52@primus. ca


EVENT: Children at Risk, Ottawa ’s Twelfth Annual
Celebrity-Carved Pumpkin Contest

WHAT: Local Celebrities, Politicians and Media
Personalities will sacrifice these “orange orbs” in the name of Autism!
Over 100 pumpkins will be transformed to Jack-O-Lantern works of art for one
of Ottawa ’s most popular, annual, seasonal fundraising events! Helping to
raise funds for Autistic children, Celebrity-Carvers include Mayor Larry
O’Brien & several City of Ottawa Councillors , Community Leader Minto’s Roger
Greenberg, Philanthropist David Smith, Ottawa 67’s Owner Jeff Hunt and
celebrated Coach Brian Kilrea, Captain Jamie McGinn plus Assistant Captains
Logan Couture, Jason Bailey, Matthieu Methot & Thomas Kiriakou to name just
a few. You can vote for the best pumpkin or your favourite personality by
donating your spare change, as well as bidding on Pumpkin Prize Packages.
Support Children at Risk and join the fight against Autism!

WHEN: Thursday, October 25th to Saturday, October 27th

WHERE: Merivale Mall, Carlingwood Shopping Centre, Place
d’Orléans and Lincoln Fields

WHY: For over 28 years, Children at Risk has been
helping children diagnosed within the Autism Spectrum Disorders and their
families in the Ottawa Region. October is Autism Awareness Month and, to
recognize this, Children at Risk will be hosting the pumpkin displays.
Proceeds will fund Community-Based Special Projects such as Family Support
Groups, Information Seminars and Educational Training Workshops, assists
solely supported by fundraising and donations. To date, this event has
raised $33, 867!

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: Brenda Reisch at 613-261-4442


Oct. 11, 2007
Autism Treatment Tip:
Speak clearly:
Autistic people (adults and children) tend to take things very literally. They are not good with idioms, double meanings, puns, etc. in speech. When you are with autistic people try to avoid such figures of speech. If you say things like, “You may go to hell” or “Jump out the window” they may actually think that is what you mean. Try to keep your sentences clear, saying only what is intended. This is especially true if you have kids who are autistic. Speak slowly and clearly, telling them what you want. When you are replying to them, never use sarcasm.
Autism Treatment Tip 2:
One thing at a time:
Lots of times autistic people are unable to figure out speech as well as they are able to figure out visual input. This means that they cannot understand or analyze video and audio at the same time. You need to help them in such cases. Do not ask them to look and listen at the same time. First show them or ask them to hear and then ask for other visual activity. The nervous system of autistics is not well equipped to handle both kinds of sensory perceptions. The sense of touch is more developed in older kids and adults. If possible try to use that in older kids.
Please feel to browse through the autism treatment resources available here - We hope you find them interesting and useful.
A brand new set of autism treatment resources will be added for you weekly. We will be in touch to remind you closer to that date.

Forwarded with permission:

8 Steps to Better IEP Meetings:
Play Hearts, Not Poker
As an attorney, arbitrator, mediator and loving mother of an autistic daughter, I have a unique perspective on the process by which families prepare their children's Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).
The IEP meeting, required by federal statute, is convened at least once a school year to plan an educational program that is tailored to the needs of each disabled child. The child's "team" attends the meeting: teachers, therapists, parents, school administrators, and any other invited parties.
So far, our family has had success with Amanda's education in our district. She has been fully enrolled in standard district programs - Early Childhood and then grade-school inclusion - and has made significant educational gains. We have been able to get the district to agree, with minimal or no conflict, to provide all the services we felt she needed in her IEPs.
Over the years, many parents have told me battle stories about their children's IEPs. They comment on how "different" Amanda's experience has been from theirs, even within the same district. Maybe so.
Certainly, my daughter's innate abilities have emerged, and in so doing, have given her more skills as she goes. Success truly breeds success. I can take no credit for the marvelous daughter God gave me.
However, Amanda would not have been able to be successful if the right opportunities were not available to her. This is where good advocacy can make all the difference.
Advocacy v. Parenting
Advocacy is by its nature, a cerebral activity and involves great thought and creativity. Parenting is by nature a visceral activity that involves great emotions and heavy decisions.
I know first hand how the feelings that come with children, especially disabled children, overwhelm and confuse us. No words can adequately explain the dread and anxiety that accompany us everywhere we go. We belong to a select club, an elite group of people, who speak a foreign language ("IEP", "OT", "PT") other parents do not know. We emit sensitive radar that only those of our own kind can detect, often with one look.
For the sakes of our children, we must strive to be patient with those whose experiences have not given them access to our perspective. It is our duty to lead these people to a fuller understanding of the beauty and ability within our children. To do this, we must become effective advocates.
Learning About Rules and Strategies
Good advocacy often works like a game. I do not suggest that advocating for the needs of special needs children is trivial. It is just that the method of getting what you need from a school administration has rules and strategies that are often quite predictable.
If you learn and apply these rules, you can reduce the risk that is inherent when you negotiate for educational benefits. I liken this to the difference between poker and hearts.
Playing Poker . .
Poker is a stimulating game of wager. The fun, the skill and the whole game is in the bet. In truth, the cards make only a marginal difference to the outcome of the hand. It is not what you have in your hand that matters as much as what the other players think you have.
Every hand is a winner, and every hand is a loser. By manipulating the other players at the table, making them believe what you want them to believe, you win the bet. You do not really need to have a strategy for the cards: if you understand people, the cards will play themselves.
And Playing Hearts
Hearts is different. Hearts is all about having a strategy for the cards: how you play the cards given to you. What the other players think or feel is less import than getting them to play their cards in the order you want them to!
Yes, there is minimal bluffing, but at tremendous risk. This is because everyone is paying attention to the cards, not the players. However, the rules of the game give talented players a chance to unload their worst cards at little or no jeopardy to themselves.
In fact, the best hand at hearts is the worst hand played skillfully! If you have a wretched hand, and take every trick, you end up winning the round! Moreover, even if your round goes badly, the game keeps going, hand after hand, until all hands are played.
Thinking Like a Poker Player
Many parents and advocates involved in IEPs use "poker" language to describe the process. They have come to believe that districts, overall, do not act in good faith when setting IEPs, and that they will cheat.
They do not want to "tip their hand" or "show their cards". They talk about the personalities of the school administrators and staff. Are they bluffing? What are their cards? Are they holding back? Do they care about my child? Do they care about disabled kids in general?
When parents feel like they have to battle educators for benefits, they lose confidence in those educators. When parents lose confidence in their educators, those educators (who are often acting in good faith to do an extremely difficult job) feel unappreciated.
A siege mentality sets in, lines are drawn, and the parties toss therapies and interventions onto the table like chips. They wager with the child's needs, but rarely does the child walk away with any of the pot. This is why playing poker at an IEP does not work for the children.
Learning to Make Deals
Like hearts, advocating in an IEP might take many deals. The players, sometimes with competing goals, sit down year after year and look at their hands.
What progress has the child made in school? What skills does he or she have now? What are the demands of the next grade? How well equipped is the district or the staff to meet these needs? What resources do the parents have?
Most of the answers to these questions are known to most of the parties at the table. Unlike poker, which allows for more uncertainty to sweeten the bet, IEPs leave little to bluffing.
Either the child has abilities in certain areas, or he does not. Either she can attend in a regular education setting, or she cannot. Either the staff is prepared to deal effectively with this particular disability or they are not. And so on. A skillful advocate, like a skillful hearts player, knows when and how to play certain facts in the file so the child does not bear an undue burden in the education process.
Eight Steps to Better IEP Meetings
Here are eight steps for parents to learn. These steps will help the parent negotiator minimize conflict when dealing with good-faith district negotiators. They will also help you prepare a solid case when negotiating with district personnel who are acting in bad faith.
1. Make every attempt to sustain relationships.
Like the many hands in a hearts game, IEP negotiations play out over time. A game of cards is always more enjoyable when played in a group that likes and respects each other. Try to get to know and personally connect to the other team members.
Whether or not we personally like our child's teachers, school psychologist, school social worker, principal or other administrative personnel, we are stuck with them unless we move. If we move, we will be stuck with new school officials with whom we have conflict. Or new, difficult people will be promoted into established positions.
In any event, we have to learn to work with people we do not understand, agree with, or get along with. They are there, and will be there all year, year after year. Getting personally angry with them, even if they deserve it, lead to hostility down the line.
Now hostility can have its place, as in a lawsuit or a Due Process Hearing. However, if parties get that far in their fights, any chance for a working relationship is dead. Since it is in the best interests of our children to have a cohesive team working towards a common goal, we as parents must take a leadership role in sustaining the team atmosphere.
We cannot lead a team we do not join.
It is not enough to come into a meeting, periodically and make demands; even legitimate, legal demands. We must model the behavior we want to draw out in our children's IEP team.
If we want the other team members to be patient, prepared, and educated about our child's needs, we must set the standard.
We must be understanding of them and the demands on their time.
We must be patient with them as they learn our child's method of learning.
We must be prepared and secure helpful test results on our child's development, articles or other related materials, and then share them; and
We must be as or more educated about the objective realities of our child's disability so we can talk to other team members as peers.
Before we make any demands on a team member, we must ask ourselves, "Am I asking of this person something I have not done, or am not willing to do?"

If someone did something helpful, remember to say "thank you!"
When we can demonstrate that we are doing our part, it is more reasonable to press others to shoulder their responsibilities.
2. Keep the focus on the child's needs, not the district's resources or the parents' expectations.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), Congress set forth certain protections for children with special needs. At its core, IDEA is designed to make sure that disabled children have access to a "free and appropriate public education" in the "least restrictive environment".
The United States Supreme Court has been relentless in their insistence that IDEA may not be used to force a school district to "maximize" a child's "potential". If a child is getting a "meaningful educational benefit" and making progress that can be objectively measured, then most courts will conclude that IDEA has done its job -even if most parents would consider the results basic or minimal.
Most schools pride themselves on doing more than passing work for their students, even their disabled students. Clearly, those with the highest expectations for children are the parents. This is why we are here.
Yet, many parents engage in the IEP process without having tangible educational goals, let alone a plan to accomplish these goals. Without a plan, the IEP, school staff, and parents will flounder.
Let me share an example. Our goal for Amanda is to teach her to function as an autistic person in a non-autistic world. We do not expect the District, or anyone else, to cure her autism. Each decision made for her - educational and otherwise - is shaped with this plan in mind. This simplifies things.
When we read a map, we have a starting point and a destination. We plan our routes and back-up routes from these two variables.
Get Independent Evaluations
How do you know where you are beginning? Get the child tested and find out! Parents must obtain independent medical and/or developmental assessments for their disabled children! Without clinical data, there is no reliable starting point for the journey.
Yes, these tests are often burdensome and expensive. Do them anyway. Our children's abilities and disabilities are the cards in our hands! How can we decide how to play them if we do not look at them first?
These evaluations bring parents on board. They force parents to understand the precise nature of their child's disability, and in so doing, obtain the necessary information to formulate a cohesive strategy for dealing with it. This is especially true if the nature of the disability has a hidden educational impact.
IDEA only requires school districts to pay for special services like speech, occupational or physical therapy if doing so gives an educational benefit, not just a medical one. In other words, the disability has to effect learning.
I emphasize the need to have independent clinical medical, psychological, and /or educational or evaluations done -not evaluations through the school district or by a practitioner selected by the district. Because IDEA has provisions, which, under certain circumstances, require school districts to pay for evaluations (ostensibly to make the field more level for low-income families), many parents who can afford an independent evaluation fail to get one.
However, school district evaluations are still school district material. If there is a hearing or lawsuit, these tests are crucial evidence. Parents will have more faith in the truth of these tests when they choose the professionals who administer them. In the event that a test does not accurately reflect a child's abilities, parents who get these evaluations independently have a choice about whether to share this information with the district - something they could not control if the tests were done by the district.
These outside evaluations have another benefit in that they relieve the parties from subjective disagreements. The results speak for themselves. No one is to blame for this information. In fact, third-party reports give a willing school administrator a way to justify a difficult or politically unpopular decision to grant services.
When Amanda was going into kindergarten, I wanted her to a full-day program with kindergarten in the morning and Early Childhood in the afternoon. Our district had a "policy" (read "budget issue") against this.
When I took Amanda to her yearly reevaluation at the University of Chicago Developmental Disorders Clinic (a nationally recognized leader in autism diagnosis and treatment), I was able to persuade the U of C team that Amanda required the full-day program. They gladly made this recommendation in their report.
This relieved the sympathetic school administrator (who granted the request) from having to make the judgment herself. After all, if her boss disagreed with her, he would have a much harder time disagreeing with the University of Chicago !
With independent reports, everyone is off the hook and can bring themselves, defense-free, to the great task of addressing the child's problems. Once we know where we are, we can decide how best to get where we are going. Once everyone has an objective sense of a child's abilities, they can develop a plan to teach that child.

Design Specific, Measurable, Realistic IEP Goals
The IEP is designed to list specific educational goals for the child. Make sure the goals are realistic, specifically stated, and penned in layman's terms. As the school year unfolds, the team can look at these goals to objectively assess the child's progress. To this end, IDEA requires that the goals as they appear on the IEP form must be something that can be objectively measured.
Avoid generalized goals, as "Johnny will be able to attend in the classroom with increasing frequency". This phrase leaves Johnny's progress open to subjective evaluation. Disagreements about subjective evaluations lead to bluffing and defensive postures on all sides. Where does this leave Johnny?
If the goal read: "Johnny will be able to complete grade-appropriate class work during class time, up to 75% accuracy" the parties can evaluate what Johnny is doing in class and objectively measure this against the goal. If Johnny cannot finish a spelling test with his class with 75% accuracy, the team can agree on his inability to meet the goal.
This keeps the focus on Johnny and away from the other team members. When everyone can agree on the problem, it is much easier to brainstorm about new interventions that can help him learn, or whether the goal should be modified (e.g.: "…up to 50% accuracy", etc.).
Parental Expectations v. District Resources
A word about parental expectations and school district resources. These competing interests are present in every IEP. They represent an inherent tension in disabilities issues. Parents want the best for their children. School districts have to provide basic services within a clearly stated budget.
Never ignore these dynamics in an IEP. They are always there, even if districts are not supposed to consider budgetary concerns when they formulate an IEP.
In negotiations, emotions are often the problems to be solved.
Parents should never treat the school team as if they are sitting on limitless resources. School personnel should never forget the legitimate emotional investment each parent has in his and her child. Parents should attempt to occasionally see their child through the eyes of others. School personnel should try to be creative with what resources they do have.
Neither parents nor schools can wave a wand over a disabled child and make that child's problems disappear. Yet, the parties often treat each other as if this were true.
Parents sometimes have expectations of their schools that reach beyond academics. They want their kids to fit in, love learning, and have predictable, pleasant school experiences. Often, kids with disabilities can do many of these things. Sometimes they simply cannot.
Schools, even the best of schools, can harbor frustrations that impede learning and fitting in. These frustrations should be whittled down until only those hurdles that cannot realistically be removed remain.
Similarly, schools have rhythms that cause unnecessary pain to a disabled child. Simply telling parents "this is how we do things" is an inappropriate attitude. Disabled children may not be penalized for bringing their disabilities to school. Teachers and students must make every reasonable accommodation to welcome them.
3. Always provide "face saving" ways out of a dilemma. Have a back-up plan.
Mediators know that this is the secret of successful mediations. We call it the difference between positional bargaining and principled bargaining.
Assume we have two parties who are arguing over one lemon. Each takes a position and insists on having the whole lemon. No compromises. They go to a judge who uses the rules of basic adversarial procedure to resolve their problem by dividing the lemon in half -to no one's satisfaction.
A mediator will ask each party what they want with the lemon. One party says they want the pulp for lemonade. The other wants to use the rind for zest. The mediator sees a solution the judge missed: peel the lemon and give all of the fruit to one party and all the rind to the other. A win-win solution.
Special needs children benefit greatly from principled negotiations. When parties know what their needs are, they can be more creative in finding solutions to those needs.
Often, parties simply assess their needs in private, and make unilateral decisions as to what they require to satisfy those needs. They then present only these conclusions as their positions in a negotiation: "I need the lemon."
Poker rules dictate that you will "tip your hand" and foul up your chances of winning if your opponents know what your plans are. Keep your cards close to your chest, and bluff it out. In negotiations, especially delicate negotiations, the goal should not be to win (which forces the other side to lose) but to achieve a particular objective.
Encourage brainstorming among all informed people at team meetings, especially before an IEP. When the collective resources of a group focus on a problem, the solutions that present themselves are amazing.
Have more than one approach to offer. If your initial suggestions cannot be implemented, you should have given some thought to your fallback position.
Sometimes a fallback plan contains a calculated failure. Failures, though unpleasant, are our greatest teachers. If you find yourself at odds with a school administrator's idea, and if this idea will not cause real harm to your child, set a trial period, then let the idea go forward and fail. Just let experience speak for itself.
No one likes to feel like a loser. No one likes to feel humiliated. No one likes to feel stupid, or to worry that if she makes a mistake, this will be held up for everyone to see. No one wants to worry over failing in front of a group. Moreover, everyone will fight tooth and nail to keep these things from happening.
I promise you, if an IEP becomes a contest of who is right and who is wrong, no one will roll over and play dead. Present a position (even a perfectly legal and legitimate one) in unnecessarily demanding terms, and you risk creating an atmosphere where the other side would rather eat steel wool than admit that they are wrong (and they certainly won't capitulate if their opponent is not wholly right on the facts in the first place!)!
I am amazed at the number of parents who walk into a meeting and flatly accuse school personnel of professional incompetence - in front of their supervisors - then expect everyone to agree with them!
Sure, wouldn't you, if someone did that to you at your job?
4. Build your record.
What if you are right? What if school personnel are flatly incompetent? Do not say it. Show it!
Be reasonable and calm while you admit that you are concerned about how a situation is developing. Be prepared to show, objectively, how your child is not meeting his goals. Produce reports, articles or test results that will persuade an objective listener (like a due process hearing officer, or a judge) why your suggestions are reasonable.
If you can lay out a "court ready" case at this level, everyone will quickly read the handwriting on the wall. Threats and accusations are unnecessary. The facts speak for themselves. Of course, this assumes that you have some facts on your side.
Do not shy away from the damning evidence. Develop a strategy to deal with it. A good lawyer knows all the strengths and weaknesses of her case. We know where we expect to have trouble and prepare for this as best as we can. Again, objective data from non-school district personnel is the best place to start.
Independent medical, developmental and psychologist's evaluations and private therapists' reports and evaluations are crucial to setting up the facts. So are third party advocates or therapists who come to the school and observe your child in his school environment. You have to listen to what these reports and third parties tell you.
Parents must be willing to face the reality of their child's abilities!
If your child has tantrums when frustrated, do not demand that his day be frustration-free. Provide and document solutions how the frustrations and tantrums should be handled.
You are not being disloyal to your child by admitting his problem areas. You are being disloyal to your child if you do not prepare for them. Get the facts in writing. Do not rely on your own opinions and feelings.
This is not to say that parental opinions and feelings are bad. In fact, they are wonderful! In addition to what we may think or feel in our guts, we need to understand of what we can reasonably expect for our child in the classroom environment in a given timeframe.
Our best hopes and dreams come true one step at a time. Parental feelings are the most powerful thing on earth. Our insights are invaluable in setting goals, therapies, and just getting things done. They are not evidence!
We will fall flat on our faces if we indulge in the belief that our opinions, by themselves, will persuade an objective hearing officer or judge that we are right in any contested issue. Courts sympathize with parents but do not defer to parents.
As parents, we are expected to be many things for our children but "objective" is not one of these things. We are, by Nature's design, the least objective persons in the room. Cull and collect objective evidence to buttress any argument you have. If you get caught off-guard on an issue in an IEP and believe you need written back-up for your position, adjourn the meeting and reconvene when you have a chance to have your child assessed by a qualified professional. IDEA does not require the parents to be rushed into anything.
5. Walk a mile in the other side's moccasins.
It will not hurt to indulge your thoughts about how things are for the other side. In fact, experimenting with perspective is necessary to brainstorm solutions or to decide the order in which you will play your cards.
Spend sustained time at the school. Volunteer in your child's classroom and other classrooms. Watch the kids on the playground and in the lunchroom. What really goes on inside school? How tired are you at the end of a school day? How tired must the teachers, the aid, the principal, and your child be?
On the other side, encourage teachers and other school persons to visit you at home in different circumstances, so they know what your life is like, too.
Do not forget to sell your solutions. When we want interventions for our children that are designed to maximize potential, do not forget that IDEA will not support us. Find a way to make your proposal appealing for the school district.
When Amanda was in Early Childhood, the teacher (a wonderful woman) used her tried and true methods for disciplining Amanda. While these methods may work well with other kids, they were not appropriate for Amanda. Instead of objecting to this procedure, we offered a suggestion that we said would make things easier for the teacher. Framing our suggestions this way made it easier to implement.
Well-reasoned but abstract ideas about how things should be have little application unless you can offer practical advice about how they can be. It is not enough to know how you think things should be done, although this is an excellent place to start. To make workable suggestions, you need to understand how the people involved can do this job within the context of their day, training and budget.
Learn what they have to do and how they do it. Use that knowledge to advocate. Offer practical ideas about how to address problem areas.
It is harder to ignore the problem-finder if he or she is also the solution-giver. Conversely, it is easy to ignore people who do not know what they are talking about. Parents of special needs kids know this better than anyone else. We are constantly told how to do things by people who have no idea about the realities of living with our children. We rightfully ignore those people. School personnel will ignore you unless you understand the realities of what they do.
6. Listen actively, especially to the things you do not want to hear.
No one is all knowing. Really. As much as I know about my child, and I know an awful lot about her, I still have things to learn. To my knowledge, no one has yet descended from the sky.
Often the solutions we seek are stranded on the barren land of "What We Do Not Want to Hear", and are calling out to us.
Hear them. Listen to everything with a whole heart and a whole head. If you find yourself getting angry or defensive because you disagree with what someone is telling you, or because the person is talking to you in an offensive way, pay attention to your reaction. When we feel defensive, we stop listening. We begin to think about a rebuttal. Our thoughts are no longer on the issue, but how we will respond to it.
If you find your temperature rising, disengage your ego from what is happening. Breathe deep. Calmly restate what you heard like this: "I want to understand your position, Ms. Jones. Are you saying _____________?" Then restate what you thought she said, not what you thought she meant.
She will confirm or deny your recollection. Keep at this until you are sure you understand her position. Only then can you calmly state your position. Often, what we think we hear, we did not hear. Or the other party innocently misspoke.
These oversights can be remedied easily. If not, then everyone at the table fully understands what the disagreement is about, and can try to deal with it. In addition, hearing all points repeatedly allows even the most uncomfortable of them to sink in enough to be objectively evaluated.
7. Encourage everyone to love your child, then let them!
Pediatricians and child psychologists have a term of art called "gate-keeping". Gate keeping occurs when people set themselves up like watchdogs over a child, guarding the gate against intruders. Sometimes nurses and doctors will gate-keep a particularly sick child. They become convinced that they are the only ones who can really act in the child's best interest and actively discourage others from helping.
However, no one can gate-keep over a sick or disabled child the way parents can. We are stunning in this ability. Nature has blessed us with innumerable instincts for just this task. When is gate-keeping appropriate? When it protects your child from a real harm. When is it not appropriate? When it gets in the way of loving or talented people who can help.
Parents must strive to maintain their sense of judgment. They must be able to tell the difference between real harm and potential or imagined harm. If we treat every person who disagrees with us as an enemy, we will dull our instincts so we will not be able to detect the real enemies in our presence.
A school speech therapist told the mother of a nonverbal autistic boy that there was no hope for him because she could not reach him. She told the boy's mother: "You know, these autistic kids just don't get it!" This statement demonstrated her dangerous ignorance about autism. She may as well have said, "You know those deaf kids? You talk to them, but they don't hear you!" This woman was a real threat to that boy. She would not help him. In fact, she caused him to regress. Gate keeping was a wonderful skill for his mother as she strove to get another therapist for her son.
However, if a knowledgeable educator has a different approach or opinion from ours, this does not make her the enemy. Do not gate-keep around those people - they are invaluable, untapped resources.
Let them close to your child to see the wonders and beauty you do. When they learn to love your child from their heart, they will be motivated to do what they can to help and will listen to what you have to say. If you push them away, they will never get a chance to find out what they and your child are capable of doing. Everyone loses that way.
I am convinced that children can never be loved too much or by too many people. Love will move mountains. Let it in.
8. Have a little faith.
As a lawyer, I have remarkable faith in the human spirit. I believe that most people are good at heart and will do their best if they are given an opportunity.
In the field of education, it makes sense to be optimistic. Think about it. No one becomes a teacher, an aid, an administrator or a facilitator because of the money, the hours or the Nike endorsements. They do this because they want to make a difference to children.
Of course, intelligent people will disagree about the proper way to make that difference. Those persons closest to the children will have a different perspective than administrators.
Very few, if any, of the people you will meet in your child's school is out to hurt anyone. Be alert for the occasional bad apple.
Generally, give your child's team some credit for acting in good faith. If they need education, supply it. If you disagree, try to work it out without getting personal. Do not demonize well-intentioned people. Utilize them. Even if they have priorities that you cannot share, they can turn out to be of great help to your child.
Summing Up
Your child's IEP should never be a gamble. IEP meetings should not turn into a game of nerves with everyone trying to guess who is bluffing, betting or folding on the strength of their guess. An IEP should be a strategic meeting where a talented advocate need not lie about his or her hand, but can play any facts to the child's advantage.
Keep the game fair and in good spirits, when possible. Know what your goals are and work them. Many roads lead to the same place. Many different cards can win the game.
From a listmate

Come scare the "HELL" out of Autism.

Featuring : Still Standin!!!!!!

Date : Friday October 26th, 2007
Location: Zorbas 1474 Bath Rd. Kingston , Ontario
Time : 8 pm - 1am

Tickets are $15 single or $25 per couple


FOR TICKETS CONTACT : TAR (613)389-6231 or at the door.

Bring your friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.
Come celebrate Autism Awareness Month. All proceeds stay in Kingston .

The only thing missing in A TISM is U.

Hope to see you all there..... It should be a howling good time.....

From a Listmate

Oct 15, 2007 04:30 AM
Witness describes autistic
woman's drastic decline
Oct. 12
There are not enough strong words to describe the horror of the death of 23-year-old Tiffany Pinckney, who was found dead on April 2, 2005, in the basement of the Mississauga home where she lived. This case is shocking, first and foremost, because she weighed just 84 pounds when she was "found lying on a rug amidst her own urine and feces," down dramatically from weighing as much as 200 pounds in 1997. The Crown alleges Pinckney was starved to death.
The case is also shocking because it appears staff at Pinckney's school suspected something was wrong, but they chose not to act upon their suspicions. A teaching assistant at the school for developmentally challenged children that Pinckney attended in her teens told court last week: "If she had been 3, I would have called the children's aid society." Pinckney, the witness said, "lost 50 pounds if not more. Her hygiene was horrible. Her hair was messy. She wore the same clothing every day. She smelled really bad. She did not look well."
School personnel have a legal obligation to act in loco parentis. What kind of a society do we live in if a school does not act in a kind and judicious manner and follow a duty of care to look after one of society's own? How many more young people are living in similar circumstances? How prevalent is this in family homes, nursing homes and the homes of other "caregivers," not to mention some group homes?
In addition to the school, was there a role that adult protective services and the police should have played to ensure Pinckney's emotional and physical well-being? It seems that the police are quick to investigate and make an arrest once someone has died, but how is the person protected while they're still alive? When will decent supported accommodation become a reality for more individuals with additional needs?
No more excuses. Each and every individual should be able to live with dignity and meaning. Tiffany Pinckney's death should not be in vain. This is a wake-up call – to schools, protective services, families, community associations, government policy-makers, etc. – that each and every life counts. How many more stories do we need to read about the tragic loss of life that could have been prevented?
Janis Jaffe-White, Toronto Family
Network, Toronto

From a listmate
The New York Times
Web Site Shows Autism Videos
Published: October 15, 2007
Filed at 12:44 a.m. ET
CHICAGO (AP) -- What's so unusual about a baby fascinated with spinning a cup, or a toddler flapping his hands, or a preschooler walking on her toes?
Parents and even doctors sometimes miss these red flags for autism, but a new online video ''glossary'' makes them startlingly clear.
A new Web site offers dozens of video clips of autistic kids contrasted with unaffected children's behavior. Some of the side-by-side differences can make you gasp. Others are more subtle.
The free site, debuting Monday, also defines and depicts ''stimming,'' ''echolalia'' and other confusing-sounding terms that describe autistic behavior. Stimming refers to repetitive, self-stimulating or soothing behavior including hand-flapping and rocking that autistic children sometimes do in reaction to light, sounds or excitement. Echolalia is echoing or repeating someone else's words or phrases, sometimes out of context.
The new site is sponsored by two nonprofit advocacy groups: Autism Speaks and First Signs. They hope the site will promote early diagnosis and treatment, which can help young children with autism lead more normal lives.
Pediatrician Dr. Michael Wasserman cautioned that the site might lead some parents to needlessly fret about normal behavior variations, and said they shouldn't use it to try to diagnose their own kids.
''Just as there's a spectrum in autism... there's a spectrum in normal development,'' said Wasserman, with Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans . ''Children don't necessarily develop in a straight line.''
But Amy Wetherby, a Florida State University professor of communications disorders who helped create the site, noted that sometimes ''parents are the first to be concerned and the doctors aren't necessarily worried. This will help give them terms to take to the doctor and say, 'I'm worried about it.''
And while the children shown in the ''Red Flags'' video clips on the site have been diagnosed with some form of autism, the sponsors note that not all children who behave this way have something wrong. In fact, the behaviors in some of the short video clips -- when viewed individually -- look fairly normal.
The important thing is to seek medical help if a child does exhibit persistent unusual behavior, to either rule out autism or get an early diagnosis, said Alison Singer of Autism Speaks.
Added Wetherby, ''We now know that one out of 150 children has autism, or one out of 94 boys. It's not a rare disability. We also know that early intervention is critical.''
The site was to be available to the public starting Monday on the Autism Speaks Web site
Several autism specialists who reviewed it at the request of The Associated Press called it an unusually helpful tool for parents and doctors.
''The moving pictures speak a million words,'' said Dr. Edwin Cook, an autism researcher and educator at the University of Illinois at Chicago .
''Not only do I see this as useful for the general public and for parents who might be wondering ... but I will frankly be using it for education'' and training, Cook said. He has received research funding from Autism Speaks but has no connection to the new site.
Stefanie Voss of Tallahassee , Fla. , said it will be a great tool ''for parents who are in the situation that I was in three years ago, which is, 'I'm not sure if something's wrong with my child.'''
She said she asked her pediatrician about her son Nicholas when he was 14 months old and was told he didn't show ''the classic signs'' of autism.
''He did smile and have eye contact, but what I've learned since is those aren't the only red flags,'' Voss said.
Nicholas didn't point, wave, or demonstrate any other nonverbal communication. He'd also spend hours opening and closing cabinet doors or spinning plastic bowls on the floor.
She eventually took him to Florida State where he was diagnosed at age 17 months and intervention began. Nicholas is featured in a video clip on the site.
With speech lessons, physical therapy and behavior training several hours daily, he's now affectionate, social, talking, walking and in preschool.
''It shows you that all your hard work and early intervention pays off,'' Voss said.
Dr. Karen Ballaban-Gil, a pediatric neurology specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York , said the site ''will be doing a real service.''
The site will eventually feature a section on autism treatments and Ballaban-Gill said the only scientifically sound ones are intensive behavior training. Others, including special diets, are unproven and should not be included, she said.
Singer said there is no decision yet on which treatments will be added to the site.
Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disorders:
Join The Autism Tree

Here's a quick look at what's been added to the site in the


Tina and Shane's Story


My family consists of my two children and myself. My daughter,

Samantha, just turned 10 and my son, Shane, turned 7 in June. We

live in Lawton , OK and I am German and moved here 14 years ago. I

have no...

How the Stomach - Brain Connection Influences Autistic



Scientists from the University of Western Ontario have released new

findings that suggest a change of diet can improve some symptoms of

autism. In a report on CBC News, the research director for this

particular study, Dr. Derrick MacFabe, spoke about a connection

between the brain and the stomach in which certain foods can have


The GFCF Diet


Interest began in a Gluten Free/Casein Free diet for people

autism in the early 1980s when researchers noticed that autism

symptoms looked much like the behaviors animals displayed under the

influence of opioids like morphine. As
a result, a researcher by

the name of Panksepp suggested that...

Study Suggests Autism Symptoms May Improve With Age


A new study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental

Disorders suggests that those with autism will see some relief from

symptoms as they grow into adulthood. For parents and children

alike, this is welcome news. This could mean some improvement

areas of communication, socialization, ritualistic actions and

motions, and even temper outbursts...

So, if you want to discover more and become a member of Autism Tree

all you have to do is copy and paste the link below into


I look forward to welcoming you to Autism

Kind regards

Rachel Evans

P.S. Here are a couple of comments that members have made about the

content of Autism Tree:

A user commented on the article " What to Say to Family, Friends

and Strangers about Autism

"I found the content in "what to say to family etc..." quite useful.

We have great-grandparents alive (84 years)and as much loved as our

child is they do not understand why he doesn't like them. I will

up a sheet in reference to your comments to try to help them


A user commented on " Jennie And Josh's Story " personal story:

"I enjoyed reading Jennie and Josh's story. We as parents of

special children have a special bond that most people cannot

understand. This website is truly a blessing."

Rachel Evans

Sandown House, High Street, Esher, Surrey , UNITED KINGDOM

google alert
Dead woman 'skin and bones,' trial told
Oct 15, 2007 02:00 PM
Bob Mitchell
Staff Reporter

A forensic pathologist who peformed an autopsy on an "extremely thin" autistic Mississauga woman said he had never seen such a case in his entire career.
"This woman was basically skin and bones," Dr. Timothy Feltis, who has conducted more than 3,600 autopies, told a Brampton court today.
"This was a person who had basically lost all of her fat and had tremendous muscle atrophy."
Tiffany Pinckney, 23, was found dead on April 2, 2005
She weighed between 150 to 200 pounds about a year earlier, court heard..
But the woman, who was also severely mentally challenged, was only 84-1/2 pounds when she was found lying on a rug in unkempt basement living quarters of the home of her sister and brother-in-law.
Pinckney's sister, Allison Cox, 32, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life.
Cox's husband, Orlando Klass, 33, was convicted earlier this year of criminal negligence causing death. He was sentenced to two years' house arrest.
Prosecutor John Raftery alleges that Cox deliberately starved her sister to death over several months.
Feltis said today that he had seen cancer patients where their significant loss of weight was caused by their malignancy but had never seen such "significant" loss of weight in a relatively healthy person.
"This is the first time I've ever been confronted with a case like this," the doctor said.
Based on his autopsy, he said there was no evidence of any bowel obstruction, intestinal infection, or disease that could have caused Pinckney's alarming weight loss.
He concluded she died from malnutrition.
Feltis said a person of Pinckney's age and height of 5-foot-2 normally weighs between 100 and 145 pounds.
But he'd been told that Pinckney had weighed as much as 200 pounds about a year earlier.
"This person lost at least 100 pounds in a relatively short period of time of between nine months to a year and I looked for a cause, Dr. Feltis told Jason Bogle after he was questioned on whether any physical reason could have caused her weight loss.
"I did not find any infection or malignancy or abnormality of the gut that could have caused this weight loss."
Although Feltis said he was aware that developmentally challenged children can have eating problems, he said that condition didn't apply in this case because he was dealing with an adult.
Court also heard persons with autism can suffer from poor digestion, chronic diarreah and problems with nutrient absorption but Feltis didn't believe any of these medical conditions caused her death.
In conducting the autopsy, Dr. Feltis said he looked for other causes, including whether the "severely emmaciated" woman had been strangled but found no such evidence.
He found several abrasions, scrapes and bruises over her entire body but considered these injuries to be superficial and didn't cause or contribute to her death
Feltis said the woman had significant dirt on her hands and nails, including fecal matter and dirt was "caked" onto her abdominal wall that took a considerable effort to clean beforehe could begin the autopsy.
He also found that Pinckney had been dehyrated for a period of time but then given water at some point - likely 10 days before her death.
"Major dehydration was not an issue in this case," he said. "This person was not significantly dehydrated at the time of death."
In his dissection of her body, Dr. Feltis found strands of fat where layers should have existed.
Because of the condition of the body at the time of the autopsy, Feltis could only guess about the time of death but suggested she likely died within two days of when her body was found.
He said when a person becomes malnourished the body initially absorbs fat and then muscle tissue.
Disturbing death scene and autopsy photos of Picnkney were entered as exhibits last week. Another forensic pathologist said they showed the dead woman had been wasting away. Bones were protruding from her skin, especially her ribs and pelvic area.
Based on his review, Dr. Pollanen, Ontario 's chief pathologist, said he believed Pinckney died from "complications from inadequate food and water intake."
Pinckney's mother, Margret Cox, had been her primary caregiver until she died of cancer in 1998 when the dead woman was in high school and weighed about 200 pounds. Her sister Allison took over her care at that point.
Evidence presented in court indicates outside government help soon stopped and there was no evidence that Pinckney ever saw a doctor after April 2000 and only saw a physician three times since April 1997.
She also never attended her graduation from Applewood Acres, a school for developmentally challenged children and teens, in 2003.
Peel Police discovered her dead in her windowless basement room that had no washroom following a 911 call.
Court heard neighbours had no idea she even existed or lived at the Fairwind Dr. residence.
The judge-alone trial continues this afternoon before Justice Joseph Fragomeni.

From a listmate
Website helps parents spot autism
The Associated Press
October 15, 2007 at 1:23 PM EDT
CHICAGO — What's so unusual about a baby fascinated with spinning a cup, or a toddler flapping his hands, or a preschooler walking on her toes?
Parents and even doctors sometimes miss these red flags for autism, but a new online video “glossary” makes them startlingly clear.
A new website offers dozens of video clips of autistic kids contrasted with unaffected children's behaviour. Some of the side-by-side differences can make you gasp. Others are more subtle.
The free site, debuting Monday, also defines and depicts “stimming,” “echolalia” and other confusing-sounding terms that describe autistic behaviour. Stimming refers to repetitive, self-stimulating or soothing behaviour including hand-flapping and rocking that autistic children sometimes do in reaction to light, sounds or excitement. Echolalia is echoing or repeating someone else's words or phrases, sometimes out of context.
Google alert
Hunting autism's Holy Grail

Joanne Laucius
Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The 16-year-old boy whose case will be outlined at a Carleton University lecture Thursday is an example of a phenomenon many used to dismiss as impossible - that an autistic child can "recover" from the disorder.
At three years old, the boy was so obviously autistic he could barely understand the word "no," says autism researcher Deborah Fein, who will be presenting her findings tomorrow.
By five, the boy was talking, had good pre-academic skills and was developing socially. Today, no one could guess that the teenager was once diagnosed with a perplexing brain disorder that can cause severe social interaction and language problems.
"He's bright, he has a girlfriend, he writes beautifully," said Ms. Fein, a clinician and professor at the University of Connecticut , who is giving the 2007 Pickering Lecture.
Ms. Fein, whose work is funded by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Development, is at the forefront of research that suggests 20 per cent of children diagnosed with autism may recover. While some examples are more dramatic than others, her work gives hope to the families who fear the devastating diagnosis means their child will be locked forever in their own world.
"I think the most responsible thing to do is to tell parents, 'When they're two, we don't know what they'll look like when they're seven'," said Ms. Fein in an interview from Connecticut.
The idea that a child can recover from autism, generally considered to be a lifelong condition, is controversial and exciting. "This is the Holy Grail. This is what parents dream of," said Shelley Parlow, an associate professor in Carleton's department of psychology and the child studies program in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies .
Most of the children in Ms. Fein's research have received Applied Behavioural Analysis ( ABA , often called Intensive Behaviour Intervention or IBI in Canada ). The therapy is an intensive series of highly structured sessions that emphasize compliance, social interaction and language.
Funding ABA was also an issue in the provincial election earlier this month, as parents of some of the estimated 18,000 autistic children in Ontario sought assurances from candidates that the therapy, which costs some families $60,000 a year, would get more funding.
Still, to Ms. Fein and other researchers, the mystery is why a minority of children recover and others do not. It is not ABA alone that results in recovery, she believes. No one knows what the magic key is that opens the lock.
Many psychologists are still dubious about recovery and Ms. Fein also believes in injecting a healthy dose of skepticism. She doesn't want to give people false hope.
"Parents are often more receptive than professionals," said Ms. Fein. "Professionals are very wary of miracle cure claims. I'm with them on that."
Ms. Fein and her colleagues are following 77 children who were identified as having some autistic attributes at two years of age. Of these, 61 were identified as having autism at two years old. Two years later, only 46 of the children were still diagnosed as autistic. (The remaining 15 children were not autistic, but had some characteristics that fit the profile, such as language delays.)
Another study of 23 children with autism taking ABA found that, after four years, 11 of the children were in regular classes and scored normally on tests of IQ, language, adaptive functioning and personality.
Still, recovery from autism is usually not complete, and many of the children show "residual" autistic behaviour such as anxiety and social adjustment problems. The 16-year-old boy, for example, still has attention problems.
One study showed that some autistic children who recover develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said Ms. Fein.
It is possible these children suffered from both disorders and, after they recovered from autism, ADHD remained, or that ADHD is a feature of autism that remained after the child recovered from autism.
Researchers can usually tell if a child is going to recover after they have been in an ABA program for about a year, said Ms. Fein. "If they haven't responded dramatically within a year, my guess is that they won't make dramatic progress."
One of the problems that governments face in the ABA funding debate is determining how money earmarked for autism is best spent. Other researchers are looking at whether 40 hours of ABA is necessary, or if 10 or 20 hours are enough, said Ms. Fein.
Even though Ms. Fein is an advocate of ABA , she believes there has to be something else that results in recovery.
"It has to be factor X. Other children had programs equally good, and they made no other progress," she said.
There have been several explanations, including that, in some cases, a first diagnosis is incorrect. That is unlikely, said Ms. Fein. It's more likely that those who recover have a different form or variety of autism than those who don't or that some children have an "unstable" form of autism.
She is embarking on a study using brain scans to determine if there is anything different about the brain structures of the children who recover.
"Personally, I don't think we're going to find it," she said. "It's possible, and we're going to look."
Ms. Fein's work supports the idea that early intervention can be effective. But it also points out that even the best outcome is not perfect, said Ms. Parlow.
For all researchers know, many autism treatments may be effective, she said. But only ABA has strong scholarly research to support it.
"I take from her a healthy reminder that even kids with an optimum outcome need help," said Ms. Parlow. "There's a spectrum of kids. We need a spectrum of treatment."
The Pickering lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place Thursday at
7 p.m. in Kailash Mital Theatre (formerly known as Alumni Theatre) in Southam Hall at Carleton University . A reception will follow. Pay parking is available in lot P1 and the Library Garage, off of Library Road . Overflow parking is available in lot P2 off Campus Avenue .
© Ottawa Citizen 2007

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Our therapy service is developed on an individual basis, with target areas for each child. This therapy is targeted for children 2-12 years of age.

Our therapies focus includes but is not limited to:

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We apply the following principles but are not limited to:

* Prompt-fading techniques
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S.T.E.P.S. is a social service business which provides Intensive Behavioural Interventions (IBI) on a one-to-one basis by our trained Instructor Therapists’. ST.E.P.S. will offer effective, evidence-based, educational practices which deliver systematic methods derived from Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas' principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).
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