Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Autism News Articles, October 17-26th 2007

Just a reminder
October 18th – 24th 2007

Just a friendly reminder


click on the link on the right for Autism Awareness Products!

September, the autism community lost a lovely person who was
instrumental in increasing awareness in her community. This individual
was only 28 years old and leaves behind her pride and joy, a 5 year old
son who has autism. She will be missed by many and thought of often.

A trust fund has been set up to help care for her son and we would like to
contribute. So, in addition to the portion that we donate to an autism
charity, we will also donate 10% of all sales from the month of October to
the trust fund.

Please feel free to pass this message on in your community.
Thank you for your support.

Andrew & Cynthia
We love someone with autism too.
Together, we can increase awareness!

Additionally, donation cheques to Miles’ trust fund can be mailed to:
Trish Kitching
c/o Peter Dye for Miles Gendron Trust Fund
475 Elm Street
Sudbury ON P3C 1W4

Cindy DeCarlo from The Alliance for Families with Autism (AFA) will be participating in a one hour televised show on autism.

The name of the show is called “Insights” on the Local Rogers Television Station in Newmarket . The one hour program is hosted by Pam MacDonald and will air on Monday, October 29, 2007 at 9:00 pm on Channel #63 in York Region. You can get a copy of the show by ordering through the dub line at (905) 780-7383.

The episode is entitled “What we should know about autism” and aims to communicate what we know about this disorder, the challenges it brings to people’s lives and what we need to know to deal with these challenges.

Guests include Cindy DeCarlo, Nancy Morrison, Morana Petrofski and Leanne Styles.

Airing on Monday, October 29th at 8:15 am
News from Autism Coffee Chat, Sudbury Ontario

On CBC Radio Morning North, 99.9 FM From Sudbury Ontario , Kelly Smith with other parents will speak to Host Marcus Schwabe, for Autism Awareness Month, Tune in!

From a listmate

Education Workshop October 26th and 27th

Lindsay Moir and Tammy Robinson

9:00 to 12:00 noon both days.

Complimentary noon luncheon and networking opportunities

Consultation appointments in the afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Location: R.A.Centre Riverside Drive

2451 Riverside Drive , Ottawa .

Lindsay Moir is a former Education Officer with the Ministry of
Education and have 31 years of Special Education experience as well as
doing training, mediation and advocacy for the last ten years.

Tammy Robinson is a Special Education Advisory Committee representative
for the Ottawa- Carleton Public School Board and a long time advocate
with years of experience working with families and children with ASD

Both Lindsay and Tammy will provide you with two days of information and
handouts as well as two afternoons of individual consult times lasting a
half hour per session.

The workshop includes free parking and a complimentary lunch

"Current Issues in Special Education" to help parents, support workers
and community professionals better understand the emerging special
education system, so that they can better advocate for their children
and clients.

Here are some of the topics currently included in this workshop:

* New info and trends in dealing with suspension and expulsion of
exceptional children
* Current litigation in special education
* The Ontario Human Rights Commission recent position on the
provision of special education
* The emerging impact of "the first generation of special
education administrators who have life experience in an inclusionary
world" Current trends and demographics
* New (2006-07) Ministry of Education announcements and documents
explained from a special education perspective.
* New changes to the funding system for special education
explained, including new information regarding ABA in the classroom.
* Funding of assistive technology in special education (SEA)
* Changes in Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
* The " New High School " a response to dropouts and its impact on
Special Ed
* Third Party professionals in the classroom.
* Discuss the current situation with our local boards, the
changes and views of the different boards and how to advocate
effectively for your child.

To register please contact Nancy Haans RCP Coordinator for Autism
Ontario-Ottawa Chapter 613-230-6305 or email nancy@autismontario .com

Cost for non members of Autism Ontario is $ 25.00

Members cost $ 15.00

RCP Coordinator

Autism Ontario- Ottawa Chapter

211 Bronson Avenue

Ottawa, Ontario

K1R 6H5



Sudbury Chapter of Autism Ontario . Other Chapters are invited!

Hello everyone:

Shirley Sutton, Occupational Therapist will be coming to Sudbury to

present a workshop on Autism and Sensory Issues (Friday
November 16th during the day), and Autism and Picky Eaters (Saturday November 17th in the morning). We are still working on finalizing all of the specifics (location, hours, registration), but we'll get the official notice out to you as soon as we confirm the details! I know everyone needs at least a month notice to plan their schedules, so I thought I'd give you a "heads up". If you already have some sensory-related questions/challenges that you would like Shirley to

address during her workshop, I'd be happy to forward them to her by

e-mail, in advance.

From North Bay Chapter of Autism Ontario —I had to copy and paste this brochure.
Street Address Postal Code
Phone Number
E-mail Address
Method of Payment:
Cheque—Payable to Community Living Parry Sound
Return Form & Payment to: Community Living Parry Sound, Attn: Caroline Ferry Synergy Project Coordinator
38 Joseph Street, Parry Sound , ON P2A 2G5 Phone: (705) 746-9330 Fax: (705) 746-6151, Email:

The Synergy Project, Partners in Training & Resources
Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation
Disability Is Natural
Presented by:
Kathie Snow Colorado USA
Kathie is author of Disability is Natural, 101 Reproducible Articles & the ‘People First Language’ article
Monday November 19, 2007
St. Peter’s Church Hall
52 Church Street
Parry Sound, ON
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Registration at 8:30 a.m.
A workshop the whole community can participate in!
Unique … Inspiring...Motivational…
Valuable...Provocative...Life Changing…
These are some of the words used to describe Kathie’s presentations. She challenges conventional wisdom and encourages others
to adopt new ways of thinking about disability issues. Kathie believes each person who has been labeled has strengths, gifts,
and talents, and when we focus on those—instead of the diagnosis-great outcomes are possible.
Disability is natural and other Revolutionary Common Sense: Yes, like gender, ethnicity, another traits, disability is one of
many natural characteristics of being human! What can happen when we deconstruct disability , use People First Language, and
focus on people’s strengths and abilities? Awesome change is possible when we think differently and talk differently!
Inclusive Communities-Organize for Change: What needs to change to ensure businesses, non-profits, community activities/
services, and other entities are accessible to people with disabilities? Let’s ensure all are welcome and included.
Please note: The workshop fee for Families, Caregivers, Self-Advocates & CHAP (respite) workers is being subsidized.
Registration Fee:
$ 156.00 Professionals
$ 25.00 Families, Caregivers, Self-Advocates &
CHAP (respite) Workers
This was sent last time, but always a good reminder!
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

SEE PDF attached.
Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 2
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Government Response to Report of Social Affairs, Science and
Technology Committee Tabled
Hon. Gerald J. Comeau (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable
senators, I have the honour to table, pursuant to rule 28(3), the
government's response to the twelfth report of the Standing Senate
Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology tabled on March 1,
2007, during the Senate's previous session.
From a Listmate

Wonderful article....

Songwriter performs for children with autism

Releases CD with songs designed to help with social interaction


Staff Writer

PHOTOS BY KATHY CHANG Cathy Bollinger, with guitar, and her business

partner, Elly Tucker [l], sing to the kids of the PACE [Program


for Children's Education] on Aug. 3. Bollinger and Tucker traveled to

Woodbridge from Charlottesville ,
Va. , to perform three concerts at the

Matthew Jago School No. 28 in Sewaren.

WOODBRIDGE - Saying "hi" or making eye contact may be one of the


a child with autism may go through.

Cathy Bollinger, a singer, songwriter and music therapist, has made a


"My Turn Your Turn," for autistic children, to help them with different

social interactions and learn how to engage with others.

Four years ago, Bollinger said a speech therapist
came to her and asked


she could make a CD to help autism kids with their social skills.

Bollinger asked the son of her business partner Elly Tucker, Josh, who


autism, for help.

"Cathy asked my son about a song called "Look Into Their Eyes," and my


said he could never look into anyone's eyes, so the song's name was


to "Look Towards Their Eyes," said Tucker.

The children of the PACE program shake maracas and wear masks at the

concert with Cathy Bollinger
and Elly Tucker at the Matthew Jago


Bollinger made a CD for autistic children to help them learn how to


with others.

The songs on the CD help make lessons fun to learn, and help children

navigate the tricky territory of engaging with others, by using

descriptive, social story-like phrases to talk about concrete


Bollinger breaks down common, everyday interactions into simpler and


understandable activities. Songs touch on empathy, saying "hi," asking


help, handling
anger, and other daily social skills.

Bollinger and Tucker traveled from Charlottesville , Va. , to Woodbridge


Aug. 3 to perform three concerts for the children in the PACE (Program

Enrichment for Children's Education) program at the Matthew Jago School


28 in Sewaren.

"This is our first time in Woodbridge ," said Bollinger. "We're


much fun, and the kids are incredible."

The concerts ranged from 35 to 45 minutes and involved parent-children

interaction. Mayor John E. McCormac even joined in on the fun, shaking

maracas for one of the songs.

"Our main thing is to get the children involved," said Bollinger, who


the guitar and sings. "Elly sings and gets the children involved with


various hand movements."

Even some fathers got involved, including Tom Bialkowski, whose


10, and Stephen, 8, are in the PACE program, as he sang a solo


"Itsy Bitsy Spider."

"These concerts are great for the kids," he said.

Evelyn Delgado said she heard about Bollinger's work four years ago and

bought the CDs for her three children, Ryan, 10, Eryn, 9, and Rey, 8.


and Eryn have autism.

"Eryn learned all the words to the song 'Everyone Has Strengths to Be


Of' and sings it in the car," said Delgado.

Victoria Romanienko, whose son Preston , 7,
has autism, said Delgado


her the CDs two years ago.

"When I first listened to the CDs, I was impressed," she said. "The


are easy to catch on to. It was easy for Preston to learn, and he liked

singing along."

Romanienko said she thought that other children could learn from the

CDs as


"The music is good to develop social skills, not just for children with

special needs but for anyone," she said. "I began an e-mail


with Cathy, and we planned a date for her to come perform for the


Bollinger said she started writing songs 19 years ago, when her first


was born.

"I decided not to go back to work," she said. "I made a children's


song, and at the time it was a good idea because there wasn't quite a


of children's music out there."

Now, Bollinger has made it her career to write music to teach children


alphabet or help them with different social
interactions and to learn


to engage with others. She has released nine educational CDs and does

performances and provides workshops for teachers and parents throughout



"It's important to make a core knowledge foundation," she said.

Bollinger said that after coming out with four CDs in the past four


she is not sure what will be next.

"I'm itching to make a new CD because that is my favorite part," said

Bollinger, who said she does research with parents and teachers.

A group of children sing the songs with Bollinger on her CDs.

"These children are a random group of kids that we have met along the


she said. "The children include my children and Elly's son Josh and


other children from schools we have visited. I try to do different


of reggae, bluegrass, rock and jazz. This is good for the children to


different voices."

Matthew Jago School Principal Robert Patten enjoyed Bollinger's


so much that he has
asked her to come back next year to perform for the

children, Romanienko said.

For more information about Bollinger's CDs, visit

TWO CD's for kids with autism...

My Turn Your Turn: Songs for Building Social Skills


Ready to Learn: Songs to Build School Success

From a Listmate

Federal Government Pledges $1 Million To Fight Autism
Sunday October 21, 2007 Staff
It's a disease that has baffled parents and scientists alike. It may or may not be on the rise in Canada . What causes it is unknown and uncertain. Funding for families whose children have it was hotly debated in the recent provincial election.
Finally, some good news about autism. On Saturday, the federal government pledged $1 million to establish a Chair in Autism Research and Intervention. The Chair will be created at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia . That province is also contributing $1 million to the project.
The Chair is charged with finding the best ways to help children with autism. Children with autism can exhibit a range of symptoms along a spectrum, from repetitive behaviour to difficulties with social interaction.
Recently, alternative treatments to autism have become more prevalent. Former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy's son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism at age three. She has written several books about his diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent turnaround. McCarthy says that a change in diet, including removing gluten and casein, improved Evan's eye contact and reduced his repetitive behaviours.
It is not known if the Chair will look at alternative therapies as part of autism treatment.
For more on autism, click here.
For a recent Canadian breakthrough on the cause of autism, click here.
Google alert

Attention News/Health/Parenting/TV Editors/Writers:
Special TVO television-web event explores autism, Sunday November 18, 2007

TORONTO , Oct. 22 /CNW/ - According to Autism Society Canada , the number

of school children with autism spectrum disorder has risen dramatically in

recent years. On Sunday November 18 starting at 8 pm, TVO presents a special

TV-web event on autism to help Ontarians gain deeper insight into a condition

that affects about one in every 450 Canadians.

The evening begins with an in-depth documentary on the history of the

condition and
the latest research. Next up is a feature-length drama based on

a true story of a couple's challenges trying to find help for their autistic

child. And immediately following the film, viewers can join a discussion with

autism experts on Your Voice, both on air and online at


8 pm on TVO

In The Autism Puzzle at 8 pm, filmmaker Saskia Baron brings personal

insight to this historical examination of autism. Baron's older brother

Timothy was one of the first kids in Britain to be diagnosed with the

condition in 1961, a time when autism was largely misunderstood by doctors

the general public. The film asks, Is there an epidemic of autism today, or

have awareness and even the definition of autism changed in the 60 years since

the term was first coined? Is there any connection to the infant vaccination

for measles, mumps and rubella? The documentary also looks at current research

into cause, treatment and prevalence, and explores the latest experimental

research into the autistic brain in Finland , England and America .


9 pm on TVO

Following at 9 pm is the
feature-length drama After Thomas. Inspired by a

true story, this moving film depicts the struggles of a couple to care for and

communicate with their autistic child. Keeley Hawes and Ben Miles play the

parents of six-year-old Kyle (Andrew Byrne), who can't communicate his fears.

His mother Nicola has given up everything to care for her only child, and her

fierce determination to break into Kyle's isolated world places an intolerable

strain on her marriage. Into this setting comes Thomas, a golden retriever who

opens the door to possibilities the family could have never imagined.

Your Voice autism webcast discussion

Live at approximately 10:30 pm at and on TVO

Rounding out the evening
live at approximately 10:30 pm, Your Voice,

TVO'S interactive parenting series at, is online and on air

with a special edition on autism. Host Cheryl Jackson welcomes:


- Wendy Roberts, a developmental pediatrician specializing in the

treatment of autism at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto

- Suzanne Lanthier, mother of an autistic child and spokesperson for

Autism Speaks, an advocacy group that focuses on awareness and


- Audrey Meissner, director of Toronto 's New Haven Learning Centre, a

treatment facility for autistic children


Viewers can submit questions about autism directly to the experts online

at, or by phone toll free at 1.888.891.1195.

To view a clip of The Autism Puzzle and After Thomas, please visit TVO's

November Media Highlights at

About TVO

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.

For further information: Media contacts: Angela Garde, (416) 484-2600,

ext. 2305,; Paul Ginis, (416) 484-2600, ext. 2445,

From a listmate

Autism Canada Foundation is pleased to pass on this announcement on behalf of Parents Listen.

Dear Parents Listen Families, Friends, and Caregivers,

Parents Listen is very pleased to announce that Julie Matthews, Certified Nutrition Consultant, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders is coming to Toronto on Saturday, December 1st to speak to families and caregivers about the significant role diet plays with our ASD children. Julie is a sought after speaker for the major autism conferences in the United States, she is an author, and has a practice in San Francisco where she consults with families and practitioners from all over the world. She can offer practical advice and knowledge that come from years of experience working directly with ASD children.

One of the things that we have heard over and over, from multiple sources, is that diet is the single most important intervention available to parents of Autism Spectrum Disorder children. Diet changes can impact the behaviors our children exhibit, and also provide a foundation for the success of all other treatments/therapies. Yet, it is rare that within our Ontario Healthcare System parents are made aware of just how important this is, or where/how to get started.

Wherever you are with dietary intervention the day with Julie will be valuable for you. If you are new to dietary intervention, Julie will lay it all out for you to get started. If you are already familiar with diet and have questions, or want to know what is next, Julie will be able to provide direction. As with all Parents Listen events, we are committed that everyone walks away with practical things they can implement in their home (or practice) right away.

Usually, you would have to register into an expensive multi-day conference, and travel somewhere like Washington, Chicago, or LA to hear Julie speak. We are incredibly fortunate that she has agreed to come to Toronto to speak here at a free workshop.

Please join us on Saturday, December 1st at Ryerson University Business Building from 10am - 3pm for this unique opportunity.

Also please pass this announcement on to as many people as you possibly can. We are committed to getting the word out to as many people as possible that could benefit from knowing more about this topic.

We have included a flyer with additional information attached (if you have somewhere you could post this... Go for it).

You can go to to register (seating is limited). You can go to our website ( for more information, links to Julie's website, and to read our simplified answer to Why Is Nutrition Important.

We look forward to seeing you at the event -
Kelli (& Michael) Pallett
Co Founders: Parents Listen

From a listmate
Julie Matthews is a
Certified Nutrition Consultant
y telephone.
Speaker Series
Nourishing Hope:
The Essentials of Nutrition Intervention for Autism
- Julie Matthews, NC
Food has an extreme influence on people on the
Autistic Spectrum. Thousands of parents, throughout
the world, have altered their autistic children’s diets, with
extraordinary results. Dietary interventions can have a
greater and more immediate impact on our children’s
behaviours than almost any other type of intervention or
It is well understood, that ASD children are struggling with
unique biochemical reactions to the food they are eating.
Often there is a direct relationship between these difficulties
and their behaviours. Attention to the dietary aspect of our
children’s condition often alleviate, in some cases eliminates,
physical problems that can have an immediate impact on
their ability to speak and socialize.
Nourishing the body and its biochemistry through food and
essential nutrients is an important first step to healing – and
no one needs good nutrition more than picky eaters!
Julie is a frequent lecturer at major Autism Conferences thought the United States . Her
audiences often include parents and medical professionals from all over the world. Parents
Listen is honoured that she has agreed to come to Toronto and make her knowledge and
experience available to parents and healthcare practitioners here.
In this workshop, Julie presents the foundations of a healthy diet for our ASD children, and
making changes that work for the whole family. She will be practical with tips for picky
eaters – information you can use to get started right away.
WHEN: Saturday, December 1st, 2007
10am – 3pm
(including: 2 Q&A periods, preparation demo,
break/tasting period)
WHERE: Ryerson Business Building
55 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON
PRICE: FREE (donations requested)
For more information go to To register go to
Parents Listen was created by Michael & Kelli Pallett, who saw and seized an opportunity to make a
difference for parents and families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Their 4 year old son,
Jordyn, is on the Autistic Spectrum. Through their own journey, they saw parents as the child’s best
advocate, and a need for parents to be empowered and informed.
Being informed of a variety of options available, parents have the freedom to choose what is best for
their child’s development and care. Through the Speaker Series they are committed to inspiring and
empowering parents to create loving, nurturing, empowering environments full of possibility in which
the dreams that parents have for their kids can be fulfilled.
Nourishing Hope:
The Essentials of Nutrition Intervention for Autism
- Julie Matthews, NC
Julie will explain some of the relationships between diet and behaviour, and the science
behind diet. She will provide a high-level overview of the respective therapeutic applications
of the many ASD diet options discussed in the autism community – including gluten/caseinfree
diet (GFCF), Specific Carbohydrate diet (SCD), Body Ecology, Feingold, low oxalate, and
She’ll discuss how to begin and evolve a gluten/casein-free diet along with a preparation
demonstration (and tasting) with recipes on some basics of GFCF, SCD, and fermented foods
so you can begin to implement changes at your own pace.
With a particular focus on food quality and blending traditional wisdom with modern science,
you’ll learn how food can heal, where to start with diet, and how to increase your child’s
nourishment over time.
Proposed Itinerary
Morning Session - The Importance of Diet and Nutrition
• Information on the science behind diet and real results Julie has experienced firsthand to help
illustrate why diet is so much more important to people with ASDs.
• An overview of the different ASD diets, where to start, and what you can expect (including when
to try another evolution of your child’s diet).
• Discussion about what makes foods healthy, what foods and ingredients to avoid, and what
nourishing foods to emphasize.
Morning Questions and Answers
Break – (Please bring your own lunch/snack or visit a local restaurant)
Afternoon Session – Practical “How to” and Demonstration
• Practical discussion about implementing a GFCF or SCD in your home, help for picky eaters,
and additional ideas including traditional foods.
• Cooking Discussion and Food Preparation Demonstration
Afternoon (Final) Questions and Answers

See the pdf attached

From a listmate

Ask Lindsay Moir:
"Invisible" mental health issues
Friday, October 19, 2007
I am a parent of a 14 year old girl who suffers from diagnosed anxiety and depression She needs accommodations to reduce her anxiety and "school phobias". Academically, she is a 'B' student
Socially she is an easy mark for verbal bullying and keeps it all bottled up till she gets home. The school refuses to acknowledge her exceptionality and keep telling me to "back off, she is doing OK". Where do I go from here? I see subtle signs that her depression is deepening. The school sees nothing . . .
This is a too-common question! Exceptionalities like mental health issues, high functioning autistic tendencies and Learing Disabilities are often invisible!
This is particularly true when the student is "coping" academically.
Lots of kids expend a lot of energy to keep up a facade of normalacy at school, only to "vent" at home! The school just doesn't feel there is any problem . . . they never see it!
(In order to respond to this question, I had a long conversation with the Mom to get more detailed information on the particulars of this specific case. The following response is based on this conversation.)
• Mom should immediately call a meeting at the school and invite the community children's mental health professionals to share observations and treatment plans with the school. Mom had "compartmentalized" her daughter's treatment. Issues around anxiety and depression were "HEALTH" concerns and she dealt with them in the local medical community. Although she had "informally" made the school aware that her daughter was "seeing someone," she had not given the school sufficient information to get them on board. Dropping a few hints and making occasional comments was not enough to make the school respond appropriately. Although the daughter's right to privacy and Mom's fear of labelling are legitimate concerns, the school needs some hard data if we are expecting them to be part of the solution! She should talk to her community team and collaboratively decide what the school needs to know.
• a student's academic achievement level is not the only reason to provide accommodations. Even if her marks did not improve one bit (Mom and I believe they would!), we still need to reduce her anxiety and manage her depression. High functioning students who are "getting by academically" still need special education programs and services to improve the quality of their educational experience. As academic people, too many teachers think that special education is only about improving academic learning!
• We need a plan to combat the verbal bullying and the underlying self-esteem issues. Everyone is aware that she seems to attract this negative attention from her school peers, but we need to develop a plan to build her up and teach her how to deal with bullying. The Ministry of Education has made dealing with bullying a high profile initiative and this needs to be made a priority in her school classes. Ministry resources are available to schools.The school does have a CYW (Child & Youth Worker) to deliver some programming in this area on a small group basis. The mental health professionals can provide more specific direction as to what else needs to be done. The research on verbal bullying is that people usually are aware of it, but either don't see it as serious (the "toughen up" response) or don't know what to do about it ("what do want me to do about it?" response). The team of children's mental health professionals have an opportunity to provide programming ideas in this area for this young lady. Being a victim and not feeling worthwhile, only escalate the anxiety and depression she is dealing with. It is tough enough to be a teenaged girl with out these added stressors. . .
• We need to implement a plan to increase positive peer interaction. She is feeling very lonely and has no social contact with classmates outside of school. She takes part in no extra-curricular activites. At recess she is an "observer" rather than a "participant." There are many excellent resources to deliberately create positive peer interaction. The adults in the school setting have the peers and the power to quietly and systematically do this. Mom has the ability to create opportunities at home and in the community, for her daughter to "invite a friend" on a regular basis. One of the community professionals said, "loneliness leads to isolation and feelings of inadequacy, which leads to depression." If this is true, what can we do to break the cycle?
I believe that with collaboration and communication, the school can be a key component in addressing her mental health issues. They need information and contact with the health professional already involved with this young lady. Don't segregate your support teams — it is ONE kid, ONE issue, ONE team, ONE solution. We are all in this together!
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.

Good Morning,

I thought I would share some wonderful news!!!! I am pleased to announce that Autism Ontario - Kingston Chapter has been chosen to receive some of the proceeds from the 55th Annual Hadassah Auxiliary Bazaar being held on Sunday November 4th, 2007 at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, Kingston Ontario .

I have attached their media release as well as the event poster. If you could kindly pass on this information to your contacts, friends, co-workers, etc. it would be greatly appreciated. There will be Fab Fashions, music, books, movies, retro & vintage collectibles and much, much more!!!!!! You just never know what you might find!!!!!! Get a great bargain and support Autism Ontario - Kingston as well!!!!!!!!

Hope to see you there.

Pat La Londe (proud mom of a child with autism)


MEDIA RELEASE October 2, 2007

For immediate release.

One of Kingston ’s favourite Fall traditions is back for another year. The 55th annual Hadassah-Auxiliary Bazaar will be happening on Sunday, November 4th, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Portsmouth Olympic Harbour will once again be filled with the best bargains of the year – affordable new and used clothing for men, women and children - including designer fashions and winter coats, gifts, vintage jewellery, books, music, videos, linens, household items and so much more. Tempt your taste buds with culinary delicacies at the Bakery, Lunch Bar and Gourmet to Go. Search for hidden treasures and collectibles among retro riches.

A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Bazaar will go to AutismONTARIO – Kingston Chapter. Items not sold at Bazaar will be donated to local charities.

Admission is still only two dollars and children under 6 are admitted free. Every paid admission is eligible to win the Grand Door Prize, a wonderful gift basket from Bursta Baskets. Admission tickets may be purchased in advance at Modern Furniture: 262 Princess St .. Visa, Mastercard and Interac are accepted at the Bazaar for all purchases.

What: 55th Hadassah-Auxiliary Bazaar
When: Sunday, November 4th, from 10 am to 3 pm
Where: Portsmouth Olympic Harbour
Why: For the Best Deals of the year - on a wide variety of items.

For more information, contact Wanda at 542-5012

From a listmate

Autistic goalie gets chance to shine between pipes

Aaron Pearlston, diagnosed with autism when he was less than a year old, is living his dream as the third-string netminder on the Toronto Aeros juvenile hockey team.
Oct 24, 2007 06:52 PM

By: Mike Hayakawa
Aaron Pearlston was determined to fulfill his dream of playing hockey at the rep AAA level in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

The 18-year-old Thornhill resident attained that goal this season and is a reserve goalkeeper for the Toronto Aeros juveniles.

“It sure feels great,†the Grade 12 Thornlea Secondary School student said. “It feels great to be with a great bunch of guys who I’m playing with and with the coaching staff.â€

What makes his success special is that Aaron is autistic. He has lived with autism all his life, having been diagnosed when he was less than a year old.

Aeros head coach Mike Todd said Pearlston’s spot on the team wasn’t handed to him on a platter by an organization wanting to help someone with special challenges.

He earned it.

“He came to all of our practices and he made the team,†said Todd, a former goalkeeper himself.

“He has the heart the size of an elephant. He’s selfless, fearless and sees himself as a teammate first. He’s a great kid who loves the game first and foremost,†he added.

Pearlston didn’t get his first taste of organized hockey until he was 13, recalled his father, Jeff. Toiling in the Thornhill Community House League, Pearlston played forward or defence, but never in goal.

But whenever the pair spent time together and played hockey on their driveway, Aaron relished his time guarding the twine, said Jeff, also a goalie when he was younger.

Buying his own birthday present four years ago, Pearlston logged on to his home computer and saw a pair of goalie pads that were for sale on eBay.

Purchasing the pads and using some of his father’s old goalie equipment, Pearlston’s introduction to the netminding world came shortly after in a Saturday night shinny session in North York . “Aaron went every week and played pickup in goal. That’s where his skills came from,†Jeff revealed.

He further honed his skills at a private training facility in North York called Future Stars.

Hoping the time spent being tutored would enable him to earn a spot on a rep team, Pearlston went after his goal.

In the early going, however, he was turned away by several teams, including select squads. In some instances, Jeff recalled his son would just be on the ice for a few minutes and the teams would say thanks for coming out. “It was a disappointing experience for him,†Jeff said of the early rejections given to his son. “But it made him more determined.â€

Continuing with his pursuit last year through the Internet, Pearlston read the Toronto Aeros A and AA midgets were conducting trials.

Attending their camp, his work ethic caught the attention of their coaches, who couldn’t offer him a spot on the club. But they asked him to attend their practices and he quickly agreed.

During one scrimmage in which the midgets played the juveniles, Pearlston logged some ice time and piqued the interest of the juvenile coaching staff. They asked him to come out and practice with the team.

Practicing three days a week with the juveniles, along with the AA and AA midgets bolstered his confidence.

Prior to the start of camp this year, Pearlston played for a summer team coached by Todd. In a tournament at York University , he was sent in to play the late stages of a game and handled all six shots directed his way to help his club preserve a 6-1 win.

Todd then invited Pearlston to his club’s tryout this year and subsequently made the roster as their third-string goalie.

He said the key to making the team was his persistence.

“I love hockey and want to be a part of the team that wants to give me a chance and can use my skills to both mine and the team’s advantage,†he said.

What impressed Todd most about Pearlston is his thirst for knowledge in an attempt to get better each time out. Having a brother who has Tourette’s syndrome, Todd is familiar with how those with special needs react. Nothing short of being perfect, he said, satisfies individuals with special needs.

“When we get together, he wants to talk hockey. He has the mind of a sponge. He’s a perfectionist. Anything short of perfection is seen as a total failure to him,†Todd said. “My job is to encourage him.â€

Pearlston is an inspiration to his teammates, who nicknamed him Bulletproof. “He’s not fazed by anything. Aaron gets the whole team in the game. He makes everyone more aware of what they have to do. Every time he makes a stop, the players on the bench call out his name and start banging their gloves and sticks against the boards.â€

He idolizes former Toronto Maple Leaf netminding great Johnny Bower, whom he learned about through his father, and tries to emulate his style in using the stick to pokecheck the puck from an opposing shooter.

Pearlston isn’t just content on being the third-string goalie. His focus is now on seizing the first-string position, his father noted. “The nice thing about it was that the Aeros gave him a chance,†Jeff said. “His goal, though, is to challenge for the No. 1 spot in net.â€

From a listmate

Larry King to speak at fundraising dinner
Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen
CNN's Larry King is to speak at the Jewish National Fund of Ottawa Negev Dinner, to be held tonight at the Congress Centre.
He won't be hanging around, however. Organizers of the dinner, which will raise funds for a residential village for autistic young adults in Israel , say Mr. King is expected to fly into Ottawa late today and address the audience at about 9:15 p.m., after the 6 p.m. dinner.
He will be accompanied by his wife, Shawn King, and the couple will leave immediately after the event, organizers said.
Citizen publisher Jim Orban is being honoured at the dinner and selected the village project it will support.
"I attended my first Negev dinner three years ago and I was quite familiar with it," Mr. Orban said. "But I was at a loss for words when they asked me to be this year's honouree, considering some of the people who have been honoured in the past.
"This is a good cause and the event is a great networking opportunity for community organizations. I would guess there will probably be 70 organizations that will have either executive directors or community volunteers who work on various boards.
"It's a great opportunity to come together and help another community. In this case it's a great cause for helping young adults in Israel suffering from autism."
The project selected by Mr. Orban is in Beersheva. The Jewish National Fund will provide landscaping and infrastructure work on the complex, where 48 young adults will learn to function as independently as possible in a supervised and supportive environment.
More than 5,000 Israelis have been diagnosed with autism, with about 250 infants newly diagnosed each year.
The guest list is more than 700 names long, and includes co-chairs Rabbi Reuven Bulka, former Ottawa mayor Jim Durrell, entrepreneur Stephen Greenberg and Paul Hindo, senior managing director of Cushman Wakefield and Le-Page in Ottawa . Alan Baker, Israel 's ambassador to Canada will also be present. The master of ceremonies is Citizen columnist and broadcaster Mark Sutcliffe.
ILLUS: Colour Photo: Getty Images / Larry King is not expected to spend more than a few hours in Ottawa . ;

From a listmate

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 5
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Autism Month
Hon. Wilbert J. Keon: Honourable senators, October is Autism Month, a time to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders. ASDs include five pervasive development disorders, the most commonly known of which are classic autism and Asperger's syndrome. As a spectrum disorder, the symptoms range from mild to severe but generally include difficulty with social skills; communication problems; behavioural issues, such as repetitive movements and restrictive interests; as well as difficulty with audio and visual processing. The ASD rate often cited for Canada is one in 166 and is found about four times more often in boys than in girls. This translates into 48,000 autistic children up to age 19 and 144,000 adults.
These individuals face many difficulties while still children. Those who are able to take part in the regular school stream are often victims of bullying. Combined with other social and academic struggles, it can be hard for them to do well in areas of strength. As adults they have a tendency toward impulsive and addictive behaviour resulting in strained relationships at home and in the workplace.
As honourable senators are aware, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology recently completed a study on autism entitled Pay Now or Pay Later. We learned how difficult life can be for families whose lives are touched by autism in some way. Senator Munson has devoted a great deal of time to the families of autistic children and has done a great deal during the summer to heighten awareness.
The Government of Canada has been supportive of efforts to overcome ASD in a number of ways with a research chair focusing on the study of treatments and interventions. As well, the Canadian Research Chair Program has 10 chairs working on related research. There is ongoing research through the Canadian Institute for Health Research, CIHR, where $26 million has been spent since 2000. An ASD research symposium was held November 8 to 9, 2007, to provide up-to-date information and a website has been provided to the general public.
Indirectly, a number of programs are also supportive, such as the Pan-Canadian Health Human Resource Strategy and tax measures through the Department of Finance. As well, Human Resources and Social Development Canada has provided supportive efforts through the Social Development Partnerships Program. However, there are tremendous problems with the situation, a number of questions to be answered and a tremendous need for more research.

From a listmate
Another copy.
The evening begins with an in-depth documentary on the history of the condition and the latest research. Next up is a feature-length drama based on a true story of a couple's challenges trying to find help for their autistic child. And immediately following the film, viewers can join a discussion with autism experts on Your Voice, both on air and online at

8 pm on TVO

In The Autism Puzzle at 8 pm, filmmaker Saskia Baron brings personal insight to this historical examination of autism. Baron's older brother Timothy was one of the first kids in Britain to be diagnosed with the condition in 1961, a time when autism was largely misunderstood by doctors and the general public. The film asks, Is there an epidemic of autism today, or has there been a change in awareness and the definition of autism in the 60 years since the term was first coined? Is there any connection to the infant vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella? The documentary also looks at current research into cause, treatment and prevalence, and explores the latest experimental research into the autistic brain in Finland , England and America .

9 pm on TVO

Following at 9 pm is the feature-length drama, After Thomas. Inspired by a true story, this moving film depicts the struggles of a couple to care for and communicate with their autistic child. Keeley Hawes and Ben Miles play the parents of six-year-old Kyle (Andrew Byrne), who can't communicate his fears. His mother Nicola has given up everything to care for her only child, and her fierce determination to break into Kyle's isolated world places an intolerable strain on her marriage. Into this setting comes Thomas, a golden retriever who opens the door to possibilities the family could have never imagined.

Your Voice autism webcast discussion
Live at approximately 10:30 pm at and on TVO

Rounding out the evening live at approximately 10:30 pm, Your Voice, TVO’s interactive parenting series at, is online and on air with a special edition on autism. Host Cheryl Jackson welcomes:
- Wendy Roberts, a developmental pediatrician specializing in the treatment of autism at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto
- Suzanne Lanthier, mother of an autistic child and spokesperson for Autism Speaks, an advocacy group that focuses on awareness and fundraising
- Audrey Meissner, director of Toronto’s New Haven Learning Centre, a treatment facility for autistic children
Viewers can submit questions about autism directly to the experts online at, or by phone toll free at 1.888.891.1195.

To view a clip of The Autism Puzzle and After Thomas, please visit TVO’s November Media Highlights at

About TVO
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.

For more information, please feel free to contact me. Best regards,

Angela Garde
Marketing and Communications
416.484.2600, ext 2305

Fri, October 26, 2007
Autism foes rip feds
Groups 'disappointed' by failure to come up with nationwide strategy

The federal government is facing criticism from autism support groups, frustrated parents and senators after rebuffing their calls to implement a national strategy to cope with the disorder.
The Conservative government's position comes in its written response to a recent Senate committee report calling for a national approach to the disorder affecting approximately six in 1,000 children.
While it highlights several funding initiatives involving research and transfer payments to other governments, it suggests more study is needed to form a consensus on the spectrum of disorders under the autism rubric.
"Accordingly, governments do not yet know enough about ASD and its treatments to implement effective and well-informed strategies that would lead to meaningful outcomes," the 12-page response states.

Titled "Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis," the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology called for a national strategy to address the drastically unequal public funding and treatment provided from province to province.
Sen. Jim Munson complimented the government on what it's doing, but said it needs take on more responsibility.
"The status quo is not good enough, and that's what this report is," said Munson. "Whatever it takes to alleviate this suffering sidesteps any jurisdictional concerns."
Various autism support organizations held a teleconference this week to discuss the government's latest remarks on the issue. The groups were not pleased.
"People are very discouraged they (the government) seem to have dodged the issue," said Marg Whelan, executive director of the Geneva Centre.
"There's definitely some disappointment," said Laurie Mawlam, executive director of Autism Canada . "We are of the view that this is a health crisis and we need more targeted programming and a comprehensive national autism strategy for individuals with autism spectrum disorders."
Autism Society Canada president Christine Dade said it was unfortunate the government response to the committee came out during Autism Awareness Month.
"We had hoped the government would pick it up (the report) and wave the flag," said Dade. "We were quite disappointed on it."
Next story: On the Hill Sunflashes

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