Thursday, August 16, 2007

Autism News Articles for August 10th - 16th URGENT

Autism News Articles

August 9th- August 16, 2007

We appreciate your patience for these mailings
Delays are expected due to vacation

Thank you.

Minister of Children and Youth Services to make an important announcement regarding services and support for children with autism and their families

TORONTO, Aug. 16 /CNW/ - Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary
Anne Chambers will make an important announcement about additional services
and supports for children and youth with autism and their families.

DATE: Friday, August 17, 2007

TIME: 10 a.m.

LOCATION: Surrey Place Centre
2 Surrey Place
(across from Women's College Hospital, west of Bay St.,
north of College St.)

Disponible en français

For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (cell); Anne Machowski-Smith; Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156

From A Listmate

As many already know Shelley Martel who has been one of the most vocal Canadian politicians for the equal rights for people with Autism is retiring this fall after 20 years in politics.

For over half a decade she has gone beyond the call of duty in helping
families with children who have autism bring serious issues to the forefront of Government, media and the general population at large.

FEAT of Ontario has added a guest book on it's site for Shelley Martel. We hope to have all the names with their comments presented to Shelley at her retirement event coming up next week.

We hope that all organizations, professionals and most importantly families will take a few minutes of their time to visit www.featontario. org to let this amazing person know what her time and effort have meant to you. I"m hoping to have Nancy Morrison present it to her.

Please feel free to pass along this email to all your contacts. Shelley has
done so much for us, let's show her it has been appreciated.

Best Regards,
Norrah Whitney
E.D. FEAT of Ontario
www.featontario. org

ps. there is a link on the main page for it

Michelle Robinson
Autism Ontario - North Bay

>From: "Karyn Dumble"
>Subject: FOR DISTRIBUTION: Weekly News
>Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2007 11:48:35 -0400
>This message has been sent to all Chapter Presidents and Staff.
>Please distribute to your members.
>Autism Ontario is creating a Public Service Announcement (PSA)
>Looking for males with autism for PSA
>This fall, Autism Ontario is producing a public service announcement
>broadcast on radio and television. We are looking for three males
>between the ages of 5 and 35 to participate. Production will take
>in and around Toronto on one day in the fall. Specifically, we are
>looking for individuals with autism whose symptoms would be similar to
>an individual in the middle of the spectrum with some visibly typical
>physical behaviours.
>Interested participants should email a picture, contact information
>short introduction to Jeff Dobbin of Parashoot Productions Inc. (
> by Friday September 7, 2007.
>Funds are still available for one-to-one workers to accompany children
>and youth to summer camp.
>Autism Ontario received funds from the Ministry of Children and Youth
>Services to provide workers for at least 500 children or youth with
>diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. To find out how your family
>can access these funds, check out our website at
> .
>Questions can be directed to Ginny Kontosic, Summer Camp Subsidies
>Coordinator. Her phone number is 416-246-9592 x225 and her email is
>The application form and FAQs are easily accessed on our website at
> .
>Realize Community Potential Program Update
>From Marilyn Thompson, Program Manager
>I want to take this opportunity to thank those Chapters that have met
>and forwarded Social Learning Opportunity ideas. Information about the
>Social Learning Opportunities is now posted on our website at
>There is still time to submit more ideas. We've extended the deadline
>for submissions to August 13, 2007.
>Thank you to the many volunteers that are continuously supporting the
>program in a variety of ways. Your participation in attending meetings
>to review planning processes, contributing to creating documents,
>emailing and identifying needs to address for the future, and
>the social learning opportunity ideas helps to shape the program and
>ensure that it continues to meet the needs of families. We value your
>Disclaimer: It is important to do your own research and make your own
>informed decisions. Please note Autism Ontario does not endorse any
>specific therapy, product, treatment, strategy, opinions, service, or
>individual. We do, however, endorse your right to information.

Pickering respite program growing, seeks volunteers
Friday, August 10, 2007 -- Michelle Strutzenberger
After a slow start, a respite program in Pickering is growing, bringing with it a need for more volunteers.
Footprints is a non-profit organization started in 2004 to provide respite for families who have children with autism spectrum disorders.
Corrine Brook-Allred, chair of the organization’s steering committee, says when the program first began, there was a surprising lack of interest from families.
“We thought the door would be knocked down by families wanting to get in,” says Brook-Allred.
Knowing that about one in every 150 children is affected by autism spectrum disorder, the founding group had determined the need for respite would be high.
In the Durham region, only one other respite program exists, and its location in Oshawa makes it difficult for many Pickering and Ajax families to access.
With funding from the local United Way, Footprints hired a consultant to determine what would make the program more attractive to families.
“With those ideas, we tweaked a few things, lowered the price and extended our Saturday to five hours instead of just the three hours,” says Brook-Allred.
Numbers have since increased and the program now has a waiting list.
“Now we’re just trying to make sure we stay ahead and have enough volunteers,” says Brook-Allred.
The program is offered under the supervision of a trained and qualified part-time co-ordinator. All the children are partnered with a volunteer who has been trained in crisis prevention and intervention and First Aid.
Every Saturday parents can bring their children for a few hours of activities tailored to the child’s interests and skills. The program is also offered Friday evenings.
Last October Footprints received a multi-year grant of over $130,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The grant will be used to facilitate the development of Footprint’s five-year strategic plan, which includes expansion to accommodate the increased number of clients and bringing in more volunteers.
Footprints was started when the pastor of Dunbar Heights United Church, Glenn Brown, visited a family with a child with autism spectrum disorder and saw firsthand how the parents would need time for rest or just to do other things.
“He couldn’t get over how busy the child was,” says Brook-Allred, who took on the task of researching the feasibility of a respite program.
Footprints is offered as an outreach of the church, though it operates as a separate entity, looking after its own finances and making its own decisions.
For more information, see

Ask Lindsay Moir:
The decision of a child's "school readiness"
Friday, August 10, 2007
I am a family support worker who works with preschool families of children with special needs. Over the past two years I have heard a familiar story at "Team Meetings":
"we will allow the student to come to school in September for a couple of weeks to assess their "school readiness," then we will decide if they can come to Junior kindergarten, or remain in preschool."
To be honest, our association has gone along with this for years, and many of the students we work with have been sent back to preschool until Grade 1.
This year, I have a new colleague who says that this is not legal. Is it?
The most common reasons given by the school for a child not being "school ready" are:
- not toilet-trained
- needs 1:1 support
- cannot ride the big yellow bus without support
Can a school set-up a trial placement, then refuse to educate a student on these grounds??
Other than age and residence (and religion of the parent in Separate schools), children do NOT need to qualify to attend schools in Ontario.
That means that there is no such thing as a "Trial Placement to determine school Readiness"!
The purpose of the Team Meeting should be to to deterimine "the pupil's apparent needs" so that the appropriate program is provided in the Fall until such time as an IPRC can be held.
In Regulation 181/98,The Ministry of Education gives clear and strong direction to school Boards:
Reg 181/98 Section 9:
(1) in accordance with the requirements under the Eduaction Act, no pupil is to be denied an education program pending a meeting or decision under this Regulation.
(2) Where an education program is provided to a pupil pending a meeting or decision under this Regulation,
(a) the program must be appropriate to the pupil's apparent strengths and needs;
(c) appropriate educational services must be provided to meet the pupil's apparent needs.
In their "determination of school readiness" the school has done a great job of identifying the "pupil's apparent needs" — now the discussion is HOW WILL THEY PROVIDE THE "APPROPRIATE EDUCATION SERVICES" (REG 181 9:2(c) above)
In law the word "must" is a very strong one — it creates a legal obligation — Section 9: 2(a) and 2(c) above make the illegality of this situation very clear. Since this an ongoing issue, perhaps rather than dealing with each case individually, your association should meet with the Director of Education and ask for a clarifying memo to be sent to all principals.
In the matter of "toiletting," just a reminder that this is no longer a Duty of a Pupil in the Education Act — it is not grounds for refusing entry — it is just a need that must be addressed through a Toiletting program!
It is 100% a parental decision whether or not to send a pupil to JK and/or SK. Once they reach the appropriate age, they have a right to attend. Where there is an appropriate preschool program, a parent can consider whether to stay in preschool or send their child to school. "School Readiness" is not something that the educators determine!
Lindsay Moir retired from the Ministry of Education in 1997 and has been assisting agencies, associations and parents in obtaining appropriate special education services for exceptional pupils.
Family Net welcomes your questions about special education in Ontario.
E-mail Lindsay at He will answer as many questions as possible.

>From: "Karyn Dumble"
>Subject: FOR DISTRIBUTION: Weekly News
>Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2007 11:48:35 -0400
>This message has been sent to all Chapter Presidents and Staff.
>Please distribute to your members.
>Autism Ontario is creating a Public Service Announcement (PSA)
>Looking for males with autism for PSA
>This fall, Autism Ontario is producing a public service announcement
>broadcast on radio and television. We are looking for three males
>between the ages of 5 and 35 to participate. Production will take
>in and around Toronto on one day in the fall. Specifically, we are
>looking for individuals with autism whose symptoms would be similar to
>an individual in the middle of the spectrum with some visibly typical
>physical behaviours.
>Interested participants should email a picture, contact information
>short introduction to Jeff Dobbin of Parashoot Productions Inc. (
> by Friday September 7, 2007.
>Funds are still available for one-to-one workers to accompany children
>and youth to summer camp.
>Autism Ontario received funds from the Ministry of Children and Youth
>Services to provide workers for at least 500 children or youth with
>diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. To find out how your family
>can access these funds, check out our website at
> .
>Questions can be directed to Ginny Kontosic, Summer Camp Subsidies
>Coordinator. Her phone number is 416-246-9592 x225 and her email is
>The application form and FAQs are easily accessed on our website at
> .
>Realize Community Potential Program Update
>From Marilyn Thompson, Program Manager
>I want to take this opportunity to thank those Chapters that have met
>and forwarded Social Learning Opportunity ideas. Information about the
>Social Learning Opportunities is now posted on our website at
>There is still time to submit more ideas. We've extended the deadline
>for submissions to August 13, 2007.
>Thank you to the many volunteers that are continuously supporting the
>program in a variety of ways. Your participation in attending meetings
>to review planning processes, contributing to creating documents,
>emailing and identifying needs to address for the future, and
>the social learning opportunity ideas helps to shape the program and
>ensure that it continues to meet the needs of families. We value your
>Disclaimer: It is important to do your own research and make your own
>informed decisions. Please note Autism Ontario does not endorse any
>specific therapy, product, treatment, strategy, opinions, service, or
>individual. We do, however, endorse your right to information.

From another List:
MP requesting your stories

Notice about an MP wanting to hear our stories:

Summer is a time when MPs have some time off but parents and other
caregivers actually work harder than ever.

Luckily there are some MPs who are noticing the value of care work and
wanting to bring more attention to it.

MP Lynne Yelich, parliamentary secretary for Human Resources and Development
has advised that there will be a debate this fall in the House of Commons on
the topic of care of children. She is urging people to send along a brief
personal note about how present policy affects their ability to provide

The personal stories will be cited in the House but people need not be
named. Deadline September 1 2007. Keep your stories brief and she'll contact
you for more info if needed. Yelich's office is documenting as many case
histories as possible in its move to find fair and equitable tax policy for
all care styles. I do urge people to contribute. Send a brief summary of
your experience ( at-home parent, grandparent, tag-team, home-school, nanny,
dayhome, daycare or other circumstance) to Toni Chasmar, her assistant.
Mention if you wish how lack of or amount of maternity, parental, child
allowance, pension or tax policy has affected your struggles.

kenastonmp@sasktel. net


Sincerely Beverley Smith


Recent Research on Caregiving


from: "Ontario Autism Coalition"

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ontario Autism Coalition"
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:23 AM
Subject: [news] OAC Media Release

Please distribute to any of your media or contact lists:

Media Release
August 13, 2007
For immediate release

The Ontario Autism Coalition ('OAC') is a grassroots organization with
over 600 active members throughout the Province of Ontario. Our members
are connected to thousands of families and supporters affected by
autism. The OAC is determined to ensure the delivery of services and
supports to families and individuals with Autism in the Province of
Ontario. As political parties in the Province of Ontario prepare for a
Provincial election in October 2007, the OAC seeks commitment from all
Provincial parties to the following platform planks, which will improve
the quality of life for over 10,000 pre-school and school age children
and their families:

1) Allow IBI instructor therapists currently working within the AIP
entry into the school system so that scientifically valid, supervised
ABA can be implemented. Children receiving intensive ABA through the
AIP and students attending school should receive the same quality of
ABA services.

2) Eliminate the waitlist in the AIP and fully fund services for all
children with Autism--from the mild to severe end of the Autism

3) Develop a formal credentialing system and a proper training and
recruitment system for the implementation of ABA to ensure
accountability and capacity within the system.

"Under the current Liberal government, funding for Autism programs has
gone unspent, waitlists have ballooned, school-age children were denied
scientifically valid ABA models and Autism-related court cases have
dragged on at taxpayer expense, says Susan Fentie, one of the OAC
co-founders. "Parents of pre-school children with Autism continue to go
broke paying for treatment out of their own pocket while their children
sit indefinitely on the waitlist. Parents of school-aged children
encounter institutional road blocks as they try to secure an
appropriate education for their children, and services for teens and
adults on the Autism spectrum are either non-existent or inconsistent
in terms of quality," she added.

"Today we seek commitment from all political parties to the OAC
platform to address Autism issues. The OAC will be pressing all of the
Provincial political Parties for their commitment to these planks now,
and monitoring the performance of the parties after the election to
ensure they live up to their commitments, as the current Liberal
Government and all of its predecessors have consistently failed to do."

The OAC will be issuing further statements, hosting press conferences
and organizing events during the election campaign to draw attention to
these important issues. To find out more, media may contact any members
of our leadership team for interviews or comments at the numbers listed


For further information:
Laura & Bruce McIntosh

Malcolm Stanley
416 275-3562

York Region
Sharon Gabison
647 892-4418

Mary Beth Rocheleau
519 734-6387

Western Ontario
Susan & Dan Fentie

Sam Yassine

From a Listmate
Natural Learning Concepts
School is approaching
To all the special people who work with children on the autism spectrum, find out just how highly we think of you.

Basic & Abstract Concepts
Matching Identical & Non-identical Items, Fill-ins and Reversals and Abstract Categories are now just $48. That’s a $12 savings on 252 cards. This back to school offer is available for a limited time only.

From a Listmate
TV Ontario's is looking for four families with autistic children or children on the autism spectrum to participate in a roundtable discussion on Thursday, August 30th at 7 pm in the TV Ontario studios (2180 Yonge St., Toronto).

The discussion will focus on the early days of worry, doubt and then diagnosis. What is discussed will help other parents at this stage in their journey to gain the knowledge they need to move forward towards diagnosis and treatment.

The roundtable discussion will be recorded in audio format only and will be posted on the site. Participants must also be willing to have a camera crew film their stories for a series of mini documentaries that will also be placed on the site. (Please note: only one member from each family will participate in the roundtable discussion.)

If you are interested or have any questions, please contact the producer Sarah Michaelis ( or 416-484-2600 x2100). Sarah also welcomes the input from families with ideas about other autism-related stories.

If you, or a family you know, is interested in making a difference by sharing your/their journey, please contact Sarah. Sarah also welcomes input from families with ideas for other autism-related stories.
Sarah Michaelis
Producer, TVO
416-484-2600 x2100

in partnership with
Kelli & Michael Pallett
Parents Listen

Check out Your Voice every Tuesday at 1 pm on!
Here is a FlashCard website:
Two research studies have been approved by the Queen's University Ethics Board.
Participation by families, children and/or adults is invited.
More studies will begin in September, when I will let you know more.

1. Social Cognitive Skill in Young Children with Autism and Toddlers at Risk for Autism
We are looking for:
. high-functioning children (under 4 years) or lower-functioning children
(under 7 years) with a diagnosed ASD;
. children (under 30 months) who have an older sibling with a diagnosed
ASD of any age;
. children with a developmental delay (under 7 years) and their younger
siblings (under 30 months)
The study involves a number of play-like tasks and participation will require one to two visits that will be between 45 minutes to one hour long. Parents will also be asked to fill out two short surveys and participate in a short interview over the phone. You will be reimbursed $10.00 for transportation costs, and your child will receive a small toy and certificate of appreciation.
See contact note below.

2. Action Observation and Eye Gaze
We are looking for high- or low-functioning adults over 18 years of age with a diagnosed ASD who can follow simple instructions and repeat them back This study consists of multiple parts. These may include watching another person performing a task, watching a video, completing hands-on tasks and/or answering a series of questions. During some of the tasks, your eye movements will be recorded using an eye movement tracker. The study will involve between one to three visits that will be 45 minutes to an hour in duration. Please do not feel obligated to participate in all of the visits. You will be reimbursed $10 for every visit made to the lab.

In addition, ASD Studies is in the process of initiating new research projects for participants of all ages. Check out: http://psyc. asdstudies
For more information regarding this study as well as others, please contact us at:
613-533-2841 OR
Dr Elizabeth Kelley
ASD Studies Group
Queen's University
Department of Psychology
62 Arch St.
Kingston, ON. K7L 3N6

============ ========= ========= ==
Read more on the OAARSN site at http://www.ont- autism.uoguelph. ca
Please note the Search feature on the Main Page.
See our archive of past OAARSN news bulletins.

OAARSN welcomes discussion of ideas and topics related to adults with autism.
We support freedom of information and expression and encourage everyone
to try to see all sides of issues and to understand the viewpoints of others.
We do not endorse all opinions or interventions that we may report in this bulletin.
Jock Doubleday, director of the California non-profit corporation Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc., has offered $75,000 to the first medical doctor or pharmaceutical company CEO who publicly drinks a mixture of standard vaccine additives.

The additives would be the same as those contained in the vaccines recommended for a 6-year-old according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and the dose would be body-weight calibrated. It would include, but not be limited to:
• Thimerosal (a mercury derivative)
• Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
• Phenol (a disinfectant dye)
• Aluminum
• Benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant)
• Formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant)
On August 1, 2007, if no one has taken the challenge, the offer will be increased to $90,000 and will increase at a rate of $5,000 per month until an M.D. or pharmaceutical company CEO, or any of the 14 relevant members of the ACIP (see below), agree to drink a body-weight calibrated dose of the poisonous vaccine additives that M.D.s routinely inject into children in the name of health.

This offer, dated April 25, 2007, has no expiration date unless superceded by a similar offer of higher remuneration.
Jock Doubleday
Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc.
A California 501(c)3 Nonprofit Corporation
KS: What inspired you to write this song?
Initially, the inspiration for this song came from our brother with special needs; he has Prader Willie Syndrome (as a side note, he was once actually thought to have autism). The whole concept for this song stemmed from our experiences with him and the pre-conceived notions that a lot of people still have surrounding people with special needs.
KS: So what is the core concept behind the song?
The core concept that we wanted to share through this song was acceptance. We wanted to show that no matter what our differences (physical, mental or any thing else) we're all still connected, and that through education and patience all people can come to accept other people that are different.
KS: What do you hope to accomplish by sharing it?
The goal that we have in mind is to show people that no matter how we are on the outside, we're all the same on the inside.
KS: What are you doing with the funds that you raise with this song?
A portion of the proceeds is being donated to The KEEN Foundation. The KEEN Foundation supplies resources and education tools for free to those whom care for some one with special needs but can't afford the information and services that are available. That said, we are also open to helping other organizations use this music as a fundraiser if they wish to do so (Please email for fundraising opportunities).
KS: Who do you hope gets to hear this song?
Our brother obviously :) But, on the larger scale we want every one to hear this song, especially those that know the experiences of working with, living with, or hanging out with some one whom has special needs... and also those who don't. I find that to often people assume so much just based on a first glance of others, through this song we hope to raise awareness, and shine some light on the stars that these wonderful people are. It's time to put an end to people looking at the glass as half empty.
Listen to the song:
Autistic savants are very hard to come by, as the savant syndrome itself is very uncommon. There are less than 50 savants alive today. The memories of savants are likely unlike anything you will ever know or experience. Savants can recite, both forward and backward, a book that they have just read, yet some can barely speak. Their memories are specific and complete however there is little emotion in them. Studies describe savants as human tape recorders.
The term savant originated in Europe in the late 19th century when a small group of people in asylums was discovered to have astonishing and mysterious talent.
Neuroscientists are discovering the difference between a "normal" person and the astonishing skills of savants is that the savants are able to tap into areas of the mind that function like supercomputers. These supercomputers that we call our mind are accumulating immense amounts of information from the senses to create a working model of the world, which could only make sense to them. One researcher believes that "average" people are blind because of what we know and see. He feels that if we could shut off our theoretical mind, we could literally for one moment see the real world that surrounds us.
These children come into the world with deep artistic talents and their minds will continue to be a fascination to all researchers. As one researcher is quoted in "The Key to Genius," "By finding out how savants work, we learn how we work."
L.A.Times Staff Writer

July 30, 2007

Women who live near California farm fields sprayed with
organochlorine pesticides may be more likely to give birth to
children with autism, according to a study by state health officials
to be published today.

The rate of autism among the children of 29 women who lived near the
fields was extremely high (6 X higher) , suggesting that exposure to the
insecticides in the womb might have played a role. The study is the
first to report a link between pesticides and the neurological
disorder. .. For most pesticides, no unusual numbers of autism cases were found,
but the exception was a class of compounds called organochlorines.
Most, including DDT, were banned in the United States several
decades ago because they were building up in the environment. Only
dicofol and endosulfan remain.
Click here: Fun Way to Increase Your Brain Fitness - Articles
Brain-Injured Man Speaks After Six Years!
(AP) - He was beaten and left for dead one night in a robbery while walking home in 1999. His skull was crushed and his brain severely damaged. The doctor said if he pulled through at all, he'd be a vegetable for the rest of his life. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) leads were implanted in his brain to stimulate areas critical for specific skills ... like speaking. For six years, the man could not speak or eat.On occasion he showed signs of awareness, and he moved his eyes or a thumb to communicate. His arms were useless. He was fed through a tube. But researchers chose him for an experimental attempt to rev up his brain by placing electrodes in it. And here's how his mother describes the change in her son, now 38:
"My son can now eat, speak, watch a movie without falling asleep," she said Wednesday while choking back tears during a telephone news conference. "He can drink from a cup. He can express pain. He can cry and he can laugh. The most important part is he can say, `Mommy' and `Pop.' He can say, `I love you, Mommy' ... I still cry every time I see my son, but it's tears of joy."
Experts called the results encouraging but cautioned that the experimental treatment must be tried in more patients before its value can be assessed. The researchers are already proceeding with a larger study. Before the electrodes were implanted, the man was in what doctors call a "minimally conscious state." That means he showed only occasional awareness of himself and his environment. In a coma or vegetative state, by contrast, patients show no outward signs of awareness.
There are no reliable statistics on how many Americans are in a minimally conscious state, but one estimate suggests 112,000 to 280,000. Doctors may try medications to improve their condition but no drugs have been firmly established as helpful.The experimental treatment is called deep brain stimulation. It has been used for years in treating Parkinson's disease, although in this case the electrodes were implanted in slightly different places. The goal of the stimulation was to provide "drive" to areas of the brain that are critical for specific skills like speaking.Similar stories of partial recovery from brain damage occasionally grab headlines, whether the improvement came from treatment or just out of the blue.
Terry Wallis of Arkansas lingered in a minimally conscious state for almost 20 years before he suddenly regained some ability to speak and move in 2003. In 2005, a former firefighter in Buffalo, N.Y., turned from being barely aware and almost mute for nearly a decade into a virtual chatterbox for 14 hours. His doctor had been trying a cocktail of drugs.The man described in the Nature paper, despite his improvements, remains severely disabled in a rehabilitation facility for brain injury on the East Coast. (To preserve the man's anonymity, the researchers would not identify the facility or even reveal which state it is in).
He can't walk. While he has regained the ability to chew and swallow, he must be spoon-fed. He can demonstrate the motion of brushing his teeth, for example, but he can't actually do it. That's because tendons in his arms contracted after years of immobility, said study lead author Dr. Nicholas Schiff of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.
The man doesn't initiate conversation but can reply to others, generally with one to three words, said Dr. Joseph Giacino, a co-lead author of the Nature study.Several weeks ago, he recited the first half of the Pledge of Allegiance without assistance, said Giacino, of the JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, N.J.
The man's electrodes are left on for 12 hours a day. He has continued to improve since the experiment formally ended in February 2006, the doctors said. After the research was over, doctors started giving him the drug amantadine, which has shown some potential for treating people in a minimally conscious state. It's not clear whether amantadine can boost the effects of deep brain stimulation or vice versa, Giacino said. Dr. James Bernat, a professor of neurology at Dartmouth Medical School who didn't participate in the new research, called the Nature report exciting and important. Further study is needed to sort out how many patients would respond and how to identify the minimally conscious patients with the best chance of being helped, he said.He noted that a similar treatment did not help Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman in a vegetative state whose care triggered national controversy before her death in 2005. That's the typical outcome for electrical brain stimulation in vegetative states, he said. Dr. Ross Zafonte of the University of Pittsburgh, who also was familiar with the study results, agreed that "we need to know more." He said the approach is "very interesting and holds great promise."
IF we need to care for our children in the long run, let’s all take care of ourselves now.
A dose of caring.
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and it can also reduces triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels. Herbs such as oregano, dill, garden thyme, rosemary and peppermint are packed full of antioxidants, and garlic can help boost your immune system.
Some of my favorite spices are the hot spices. So I think it’s great news that cayenne pepper in particular is such a healthy food. The active ingredient in cayenne pepper, called capsaicin, has been found to reverse Type 1 diabetes in mice, for example -- an astounding breakthrough that the medical community keeps quiet about. Jamaican healers use it to treat diabetes, although I don't believe it should be relied upon for primary control. Capsaicin also has cancer-fighting benefits.
A substance found in a popular spice that is responsible for turning curry and mustard yellow, might also help with treating the deadly disease, cystic fibrosis. In a study of mice afflicted with cystic fibrosis, researchers found that deaths were reduced significantly after the mice consumed large amounts of the substance found in the spice turmeric. Results from this study initiated the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to allocate monies for a study on turmeric and its effects on patients. The same compound in turmeric was also found to be useful in fighting multiple sclerosis.
In spite of the many benefits of turmeric and its component curcumin, you really do want to honor what your body tells you. If any food or spice does not taste good or "feel right," stay away from it -- no matter who is telling you how good it is for you. Your body is a far better judge of that than anything you will ever read.
Eliminating sugar and grains from your child’s diet and giving your child fish oil or cod liver oil for the valuable omega-3 is a good bet with any of these diseases.
Cinnamon’s other benefits include:
• Supports digestive function
• Constricts and tones tissues
• Relieves congestion
• Relieves pain and stiffness of muscles and joints
• Relieves menstrual discomfort
• Blood-thinning compounds that stimulate circulation
• Anti-inflammatory compounds that may relieve arthritis
• Helps prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease
• It’s a powerful anti-microbial agent that can kill E. coli and other bacteria
Nutmeg is another spice that has a variety of healing properties and can be used in a wide range of dishes during the holidays and all year long. It is useful for:
• Insomnia (nutmeg can produce drowsiness so it should be taken when you have a chance to relax or sleep)
• Anxiety
• Calming muscle spasms
• Nausea and vomiting
• Indigestion
• Diarrhea
• Joint pain and gout
• Lowering blood pressure
• Male infertility and impotence
• Improving concentration
• Increasing circulation
• Lowering cholesterol
• Toothaches (nutmeg oil)
** Please note that taking too much nutmeg (one to three nuts or less) can cause side effects such as nausea, hallucinations, swelling and shock.
Cloves have a potent, sweet and spicy, aromatic flavor that makes a great complement to many foods. They have been consumed in some areas, such as Asia, for more than 2,000 years. Among the clove’s most well-known healing properties is its ability to relieve tooth and gum pain, but it has many benefits beyond that. These include:
• Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties
• Relief from respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis
• Relief from muscle pains from injuries or arthritis and rheumatism
• Eliminates intestinal parasites, fungi and bacteria
• May encourage creativity and mental focus
Ginger is another spice with a potent flavor that is great for warming your body and adding kick to foods. It’s medicinal properties include:
• Soothes nausea, motion sickness and other stomach upset
• Relieves morning sickness
• Anti-inflammatory properties
• Eliminates intestinal gas
• Relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract
• Antioxidant properties
• Relieves dizziness
• Boosts the immune system
• Protects against bacteria and fungi
• Encourages bile flow
• Promotes cardiovascular health
The therapeutic effects of fresh peppermint leaves have been known since ancient times and its aromatic aroma has come to symbolize hospitality in many cultures. Its healing properties include:
• Soothing to the digestive tract
• Relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
• May protect against cancer
• Inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus
• Relieves the symptoms of allergies and asthma
While there are many benefits to be had by adding spices to your diet, don't forget that these foods should not be taken every day or you run the risk of developing an allergy to them. Spices should not be looked at as a "cure" for your health problems, only by addressing the underlying causes of illness with a healthy diet and lifestyle will you be able to achieve optimum health.
Please use care when choosing your spices, as in the United States over 65 million pounds of spices, herbs and dry ingredients are irradiated each year. Fortunately, in the United States and Canada irradiated spices have to be labeled with the international symbol for irradiated foods, the "radura" symbol. However, processed foods that contain irradiated spices do not have to be labeled in the United States. So before you purchase a spice be sure to check the label to ensure that it has not been irradiated--organic varieties are your best bet.
But don’t let this discourage you from taking advantage of all that spices have to offer. Spices used with the above advice in mind are indeed an excellent way to add flavor and healing properties to your diet.
My daughter will be holding her 2nd Annual Lemonade Sale for Autism Awareness this Sunday August 19th, 2007.
Details are below. All proceeds will be donated to Autism Ontario – Toronto Chapter.
Martha Veliz
2nd Annual Lemonade Sale
For Autism Awareness

When: Sunday, August 19th, 2007
Time: 2 – 5 pm
Where: 6 Chiswick Ave, Toronto
(closest intersections: Jane St and Trethewey Dr)
Cost: only 25 cents per glass

Autism Facts:
Autism is a developmental disability that begins by 2 years of age and is a life-long disability.
Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills.
Children with autism look the same as typical children.
1 of every 165 Canadians is affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
Autism is 4-5 times more prevalent in boys than girls
Autism is not a mental illness.

All proceeds will be donated to: Autism Ontario – Toronto Chapter

The Puzzle of Hidden Ability
By Sharon Begley
Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue - Even their parents struggle to draw the tiniest hint of emotion or social connection from autistic children, so imagine what happens when a stranger sits with the child for hours to get through the standard IQ test. For 10 of the test's 12 sections, the child must listen and respond to spoken questions. Since for many autistics it is torture to try to engage with someone even on this impersonal level, it's no wonder so many wind up with IQ scores just above a carrot's (I wish I were exaggerating; 20s are not unknown). More precisely, fully three quarters of autistics are classified as having below-normal intelligence, with many deemed mentally retarded.
It's finally dawning on scientists that there's a problem here. Testing autistic kids' intelligence in a way that requires them to engage with a stranger "is like giving a blind person an intelligence test that requires him to process visual information," says Michelle Dawson of Rivière-des-Prairies Hospital in Montreal. She and colleagues therefore tried a different IQ test, one that requires no social interaction. As they report in the journal Psychological Science, autistic children's scores came out starkly different than on the oral, interactive IQ test—suggesting a burning intelligence inside these kids that educators are failing to uncover.
That failure has lifelong implications. "If we label these children as below-normal in intelligence, that is how they're treated," says Laurent Mottron, who led the study. The disparity between scores on the two IQ tests also makes you wonder who else the tests, which are used for everything from screening military recruits to filling "gifted" classes, are mislabeling.
For the study, children took two IQ tests. In the more widely used Wechsler, they tried to arrange and complete pictures, do simple arithmetic, demonstrate vocabulary comprehension and answer questions such as what to do if you find a wallet on the street—almost all in response to a stranger's questions. In the Raven's Progressive Matrices test, they got brief instructions, then went off on their own to analyze three-by-three arrays of geometric designs, with one missing, and choose (from six or eight possibilities) the design that belonged in the empty place. The disparity in scores was striking. One autistic child's Wechsler result meant he was mentally retarded (an IQ below 70); his Raven's put him in the 94th percentile. Overall, the autistics (all had full-blown autism, not Asperger's) scored around the 30th percentile on the Wechsler, which corresponds to "low average" IQ. But they averaged in the 56th percentile on the Raven's. Not a single autistic child scored in the "high intelligence" range on the Wechsler; on the Raven's, one third did. Healthy children showed no such disparity.
The Wechsler measures "crystallized intelligence"—what you've learned. The Raven's measures "fluid intelligence"—the ability to learn, process information, ignore distractions, solve problems and reason—and so is arguably a truer measure of intelligence, says psychologist Steven Stemler of Wesleyan University.
That presents a puzzle. If many autistics are more intelligent than an IQ test shows, why haven't their parents noticed? Partly because many parents welcome a low score, which brings their child more special services from schools and public agencies, says one scientist who has an autistic son (and who fears that being named would antagonize the close-knit autism community). But another force is at work. "We often think of intelligence as what you can show, such as by speaking fluently," says psychologist Morton Ann Gernsbacher of the University of Wisconsin. "Parents as well as professionals might be biased to look at that" rather than dig for the hidden intellectual spark.
The challenge is to coax that spark into the kind of intelligence that manifests itself in practice. That is something autism researchers are far from doing. Worse, much of the expert advice might be counterproductive. Many experts dismiss autistics' exceptional reading, artistic or other abilities as side effects of abnormal brain function, "not a reflection of genuine human intelligence, which it is likely to be," says Mottron. They advise parents to steer their child away from what he excels at and obsesses over, such as letters and words and details, and toward what he struggles with, such as faces and the big picture. Dawson, who is autistic, thinks that's a prescription for intellectual failure; autistics should be encouraged to build on their strengths, as everyone else is. The problem of a lurking intelligence that won't be coaxed out by the usual education and parenting methods is not necessarily unique to autistics. It makes you wonder how many other children, whose intellectual potential we're too blind to see, we've also given up on.

From A listmate

Next Steps In Funding Formula Changes
Since coming to office, the McGuinty government has made significant changes to the education funding formula and increased its investment in Ontario's publicly funded education system by $3.7 billion — an increase of $2,156 per pupil or 29 per cent.
The new investment of $182 million for the 2007-08 school year announced today, combined with an additional $127 million in 2008-09, will support further improvements to the education funding formula through a variety of ways.
For 2007-08, the changes announced today include:
• $41 million to fund 300 more vice-principals and ensure funding better matches actual staffing costs
• $20 million to fund 240 more teachers to reduce class size in primary grades
• Investment to ensure funding better matches actual costs
o $21 million for professionals and para-professionals
o $19 million for supply teachers
o $20 million for education assistants and special education
o $12 million for secretaries
o $20 million for school operations
o $12 million for student transportation
o $12 million for rural schools, including funding for over 100 additional schools through our Supported Schools Allocation
o $5 million to deliver an additional $1,000 per school for school office supplies.
For 2008-09, additional changes announced today include further investments to ensure that funding better matches actual costs:
• $50 million for non-salary compensation
• $10 million for Special Education staffing and costs
• $10 million for school operations
• $10 million for student transportation
• $10 million for English-as-a-Second-Language and Perfectionnement du français
• $10 million for the operation of small boards
• $10 million to expand local education priorities through the Program Enhancement Grant
• $10 million in funding to support the construction of $140 million worth of schools in areas of local growth
• $6.5 million for Continuing Education and Adult English-as-a-Second-Language and Perfectionnement du français.
Minister Chambers will be making an Announcement

(Re: More IBI spots and Respite Plan for Autism)

FRI AUG 17th
Surrey Place Centre
2 Surrey Place

Lillian Wagman

Consumer's Corner

I remember attending a conference in Toronto a few years ago and listening to the keynote speaker say in her speech: “Often parents, teachers, and other individuals involved in Autism, advocate for ABA without really understanding what IT is”. I did not realize at the time just how pertinent Dr. Patricia Krantz’s words of wisdom were but I do now.

On February 23, 2007, the Ministry of Education made an elaborate announcement that they will be providing ABA in the schools in September for Ontario students with Autism. What joy and relief this brought to families like mine who have been advocating for this for many years. The public assumed that the Premier had finally followed through on his pre-election promise from four years ago and we all looked forward to learning more about this in the weeks ahead.

Days after the announcement, the Deputy Minister of Education sent a memo to all School Boards in Ontario attempting to clarify the message they felt had resonated not so accurately through the media. The memo stated: “The focus of this PPM will be ABA teaching practices and not Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) that is used by the Ministry of Children and Youth Service’s Autism Intervention Program.” This statement made it clear that the mutual exclusivity issue between IBI and Education would continue despite the fact that an inclusion component can have such a significant impact on a child’s achievement. The memo further stated: “ABA is a relatively common practice now in schools…” which gave us reason to question what the Ministry had in mind for ABA in the schools.

It may not be too difficult to trace back our steps to see exactly where, when, and by whom the concrete wall was placed between ABA and IBI. The difference between the two as used by the Ontario Government and the School Boards is completely arbitrary. IBI is the intensive application of ABA-based techniques. The real discussion should be on how to determine what the parameters are of the teaching interactions that need to occur for a child with autism to master appropriate IEP goals and objectives, and to hopefully make the transition to a less restrictive environment. In order to accomplish this, the question that should be asked is: “What does the child NEED to learn?” When the Ministry asks the right question and then holds local School Boards accountable for implementation of effective teaching for children with Autism, then we will be on the right track. Until then, the children with Autism in Ontario will continue to be sadly neglected.

On May 17, 2007, the Ministry of Education released PPM 140, a direction to the School Boards as to how to provide ABA in the schools, an incredibly vague memo with no mention of qualified behaviour analysts whatsoever. Its vagueness was a stark contrast to the systematic and detailed direction of programs and services for the Deaf, Blind, and both Deaf-Blind in PPM 76C and gave us more reason to question what ABA in the schools would look like in September.

The Ministry of Education and a Toronto-based Agency providing services for Autism made presentations to School Boards on PPM 140 and ABA in the schools last month. During the presentation, they stated: “(IBI) is delivered by trained therapists, supervised by Behaviour Analysts and overseen by a behavioural psychologist.” However for ABA, they stated: “With training in ABA parents, teachers, and interventionists all make use of behavioural teaching practices”. Now our concerns developed into solid fear for what the Ministry would implement for our children in the fall.

Sure, I’ve realized for many years how some service providers who claim to offer ABA and IBI services are not qualified and families have been taken advantage of as a result but to have our Government and School Boards jump on that bandwagon also was not something I had expected.

ONTABA has much work to do. Not only do we still not have formal credentialing of qualified behaviour analysts in Ontario (and we are in the 8th year of a $130M publicly funded IBI initiative), but it has also recently become clear that the ABA the Ministry plans to implement in the schools for this September is not ABA at all. This is of grave concern to the families, but it should also be of concern to the qualified behaviour analysts being moved to the side as a result and the taxpayers in our province who are obviously being fooled. Finally, this is an insult to the science that ABA truly is and calls for the attention of ABA International.

Who decides what ABA is? What protection do Ontario families have against organizations, Government, and School Boards who claim to be providing ABA when they’re really not? I had always walked into every discussion on this issue with the Autism SIG Guidelines for ABA Consumers in hand and am now hanging on to these guidelines more than ever before and try at every opportunity to educate other families to do the same.

Dr. Krantz’ wise words will be a test for every parent advocating for ABA and IBI during this crucial time in our province’s history of developing infrastructure. If ABA is not overseen by qualified behaviour analysts, IT is not ABA.
Taline Sagharian

Autism issues front, centre

SHARON GABISON: Concord teacher to help make autism funding an election issue.
Aug 15, 2007 10:57 PM

By: Michael Power
A Vaughan resident has become one of four new members of the Ontario Autism Coalition’s executive committee.

Sharon Gabison of Concord recently joined the organization in its campaign to raise awareness of autism issues before the Oct. 10 provincial election.

“We’re putting autism issues front and centre,†Ms Gabison said. “We want to make sure the government follows through with three main things. They’ve made a lot of promises in the past but with very little follow through.â€

The Ontario Autism Coalition was co-founded by Vaughan residents Bruce and Laura McIntosh in 2005 and now boasts more than 600 members. It organizes rallies and has met with dozens of politicians and government officials to raise awareness of the need for publicly funded autism programs.

Specifically, the coalition will pressure the government to:

• allow specialized therapists to work with children with autism within schools;

• eliminate wait lists and fully fund children with autism, from the mild to the severe end of the autism spectrum;

• develop a formal system of credentials and a training and recruitment system for autism therapy and treatment.

Ms Gabison’s 10-year-old son, Eric Segal, is autistic and has benefited from five years of applied behavior analysis, a form of autism treatment.

“I’ve seen the remarkable things it’s done for him,†she said.

Ms Gabison is also a physiotherapist and teaches in Seneca College’s autism and behavioural science program and physiotherapy at the University of Toronto.

For more information on the Ontario Autism Coalition, visit
From a listmate

Jump start for autistic kids at August skills camps

Aug 15, 2007 10:02 PM
If your child has autism, the Back to School Social Skills Summer Camp run by Making Small Talk can help them get back into the school routine ahead of time.

Courses run from Aug. 20 to 24 for children nine to 12 and from Aug. 27 to 31 for children five to eight. They are run by the TLC Sensory Leisure Centre.

The focus of the week-long courses is on preparing children for going back to school. They will be reminded of school and classroom rules, friendships, conversations, self-awareness and recess activities. This will be done through teaching, stories, play, role playing, games and crafts.

Spaces are limited since a maximum of six children are accepted for each session.

Classes run from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Paul’s United Church on Sunset Beach Road in Richmond Hill.

The cost is $300 per child.

E-mail or call Linda Hurren at 647-519-6739.Log on to for more information. For more information and help with autism-related issues, check out the latest newsletter of the York Region chapter of Autism Ontario at

From a Listmate

Significance of NYC v. Tom F.
In New York City Bd of Ed. v. Tom F., the Supreme Court will determine if a child will be forced to "try" an inappropriate placement before the parents can remove the child to an appropriate placement and seek reimbursement.

If the Supreme Court affirms the decision by the Second Circuit, parents will have the right to obtain reimbursement from the public school even if the child was never enrolled in a public school special education program.
Parents will still be required to show that the district's proposed program was inappropriate and that the private special education program they chose is appropriate, consistent with the established tuition reimbursement remedy authorized by the IDEA and the Supreme Court's decisions in Florence County School District Four v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993) and School Committee of Burlington, Mass v. Department of Education, 471 U.S. 359 (1985).

If the Supreme Court reverses the Second Circuit, parents will have two choices:
they can place their child in an appropriate private program and forfeit any chance to obtain reimbursement, or they can place their child into an inappropriate public school program so they can later remove the child from that program and seek reimbursement.
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