Monday, February 18, 2008

Autism NEWS Feb 13-18th 2008

Autism News Articles
February 12th, 2008-February 18th 2008

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Thursday, February 28 on CNN
The heartbreak ...and hope of autism. Jason "J-Mac" McElwain inspired the world with his incredible shot-making at a high school basketball game. Larry talks to the teen and others about the disorder. Holly Robinson Peete, Doug Flutie and Toni Braxton join the discussion to bust myths and present breakthroughs. It's an uplifting hour with those who know!

From a listmate

Carly is the child who inspired the Starr / Fleishmann family for their involvement in Deskin / Wynberg, which is why we have funding beyond age 6 - Carly (and here family of course) should be thanked from all of us who have funding for their children that are older. Truly an inspiration for all of us!!!!

Girl's writings opening new window on autism
Carly uses a computer to communicate with her family, a rarity amongst those suffering from autism.
Angela Mulholland, News

Updated: Sun. Feb. 17 2008 10:12 PM ET
TORONTO — A 13-year-old named Carly is challenging the conventional notions of autism, demonstrating emotional skills that lay hidden for years, until one day, a computer helped her reveal to the world what it's like to have her condition.
From an early age, it was clear Carly had autism. As a young girl, she would often rock back and forth for minutes on end, flail her arms and hit herself repeatedly. Equally troubling, she never gained the ability to speak.
Her father, Arthur Fleishmann, says many people who didn't know her assumed she was intellectually challenged.
"Even professionals labelled her as moderately to severely cognitively impaired. In the old days you would way mentally retarded, which means low IQ and low promise and low potential," he says.
Arthur and Carly's mother Tammy were advised to place her in an institution. Instead, they opted for an intensive therapy called ABA -- Applied Behavioural Analysis, the kind of therapy now recommended for kids with autism but because of the expense and the need for specially trained therapists, isn't available to all children.
While Carly made progress through the therapy, speech continued to elude her.
"We tried hard to get her to talk but it wasn't in the cards for Carly," says her speech pathologist Barbara Nash-Fenton.
Then, two years ago, Carly surprised everyone. Working with a computer equipped with pictures and symbols, she started typing and spelling words. At first it was just words -- help, hurt, head, teeth -- but soon she was assembling sentences.
She typed then as she does now -- slowly using only finger -- and the words she wrote stunned all who knew her.
"All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her," says Nash-Fenton. "And it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words."
"It was one of those moments in my career that I'll never forget."
Writing reveals secrets of autism
As Carly learned to write better, she began describing what it was like to have autism and why she does what she does, such as making odd noises and hitting herself.
"It feels like my legs are on fire and a million ants are crawling up my arms," Carly has written about the urge to hit herself.
"I want to be like Taryn," she has written of her twin sister, who does not have autism.
With her single typing finger, Carly has been able to demonstrate her emotional intelligence and witty sense of humour to a family who says they were stunned by what she revealed.
"We realized that inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. She was 10 at the time, and we just met her for the first time at 10 or 11 years old," says her father Arthur. "This was unbelievable because it opened up a whole new way of looking at her."
Through her writings, Carly has joked about her "yucky" siblings, shown that she understands their jokes and revealed a curiosity about boys -- even asking when can she go on a date.
"Inside, she is a perfectly normal 13-year-old girl. She has crushes, she likes music, she wants to be treated like every other 13-year-old," says her father.
Carly also has expressed her frustration about her condition and about how the world misunderstands her.
"It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me," she writes. "People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk, or I act differently than them... I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them. It feels hard. It feels like being in a room with the stereo on full blast."
Autism specialist Dr. Wendy Roberts has read some of Carly's writing and watched her on video. She says Carly is certainly unique in her abilities and provides some fascinating insights into the condition of autism.
"I think the initial reaction is that it is incredibly remarkable," she says. "It is amazing to think that somebody who has not been able to put her thoughts into words now has a mechanism to get some of her ideas across."
Roberts says it's unclear whether Carly's unusual language abilities makes her a rare case or whether her new writing skills are the result of her intensive training.
She says it's rare for someone with autism to have apraxia -- the inability to speak despite an understanding of language -- as well as such an obvious command of written words. Roberts says it may be that Carly possesses unique abilities that make her a rare case, or it may be that her early and intensive training simply drew the skills out.
"What she does is quite uncommon but there hasn't been a really good look at kids with severe apraxia to see what could they be taught with intense teaching," says Roberts. "And that really begs the question of are we giving children enough intensive intervention to see if we are missing a fairly small percentage of kids who have this ability. There may be children being missed because they have not had access to therapy."
"From a broader perspective it puts pressure on us to develop interventions that will allow written language to develop... so that we can develop more effective interventions."
The benefits of ABA therapy
Carly's parents say they are so grateful that their daughter was able to discover this way to communicate because it has made them rethink autism and made them realize that they made the right decision to provide Carly with intensive therapy.
"If we had done what so many people told us to do years ago, we wouldn't have the child we have today. We would have written her off," says her father Arthur. "Then what would she be today?"
"We never would have seen she could write these things. Can you imagine? We would have never have gotten out of her how articulate she is how intelligent she is," he says. "Now, she tells us stories, she teases her brother. She just does it in a different way, she does it with her computer."
Carly's writing has progressed so far in the last two years, she's now starting to write a book. It's a take-off on herself and she's already come up with the title: "Elephant Princess."
Her writing has also helped her therapists help her more effectively.
"We've actually learned a lot about Carly," says her therapist Howard. "Since she has been able to type she has been telling us how it feels to be in her skin -- like ants are crawling up her arm. For us, this is very important. It helps with how we treat Carly, even how doctors treat Carly.
"I think Carly has a lot to teach us."
Carly has said she would like to tell the world about what it's like to have autism, so that others can understand what it's like.
"Autism is hard because you want to act one way but you can't always do that," she has written.
"It's sad that sometimes people don't know that sometimes I can't stop myself and they get mad at me. If I could tell people one thing about autism it would me that I don't want to be this way but I am. So don't be mad. Be understanding."
• Read some of Carly's words.
From a report by CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

From Nancy Morrison

Carly Fleishmann is the child who inspired the Starr / Fleishmann family for their involvement in the Deskin / Wynberg trial, which is responsible for forcing our Ontario government to extend funding for intensive behavioural intervention for children with autism beyond age 6. Sadly, there are still almost 1000 children waiting for funding for this scientifically proven effective intervention for our children. In this article, you have clearly shown us just how effective this intervention is for all our children, regardless of how severe their autism affects them. Thanks to this intensive intervention, Carly has learned how to communicate on the computer. Carly (and her family of course) should be thanked from all of us who have children with autism. Truly an inspiration for everyone who is affected by autism!!!!

Thank you,

Nancy Morrison
92 dePeuter Cres
Bradford, Ontario


parent of Sean, 9 year old with autism

Finding her voice in a silent world
Unable to speak, an autistic teen learned to communicate through typing, offering hope to families struggling with the disorder
February 18, 2008
It might not sound like a pivotal life moment. But a simple complaint over sore teeth is what showed Tammy Starr and husband Arthur Fleischmann their autistic daughter could understand and communicate with them - and it would change their relationship forever.
Carly Fleischmann, 13, can't speak and doesn't attend a regular school. For years, her parents sought therapists and doctors to help their daughter break the intellectual and emotional silence that often accompanies the life of autistic individuals.
They always believed that Carly, who could only communicate using pictures or by pointing, understood the spelling and simple word lessons her therapists conducted, knew who her family members were and grasped what was going on in her surroundings.
But they never expected the type of breakthrough that has allowed them to get to know the warm, creative and loving side of their teenage girl.

About two years ago, Carly was working on a computer with one of her therapists when she suddenly typed the word "teeth" followed by "help." Her parents realized that Carly was trying to tell them her teeth were sore, but had a hard time believing she could type on her own. Although Carly had been taught spelling and small words, she had never typed independently before.
"We were working at a basic level," Ms. Starr said. "Until that point, we never realized or didn't know that the stuff we were teaching her was actually working."
In fact, it wasn't until several months ago, when Carly began turning to the family's computer to express her thoughts and tell her family how she was feeling, that her parents grasped the progress Carly had made.
"She's not feeding back rote information. She's thinking for herself," Ms. Starr said. "When you read her writing, it's obvious this is a child with a lot of cognitive ability and intellectual ability and instincts and sense of humour."
Now, after months of hard work and patience, Carly regularly converses electronically with her family and others over e-mail and instant messenger, telling them what's on her mind and how she feels about her older brother and twin sister, who doesn't have autism.
"She wants to be like other girls her age. She wants to be like her sister. She wants to be able to talk," Ms. Starr said.
One leading autism expert says Carly's story isn't an isolated case. Although autistic individuals often have limited social skills and are restricted in their ability to communicate with others, new therapies are emerging that help them connect with the world around them.
"We're often really surprised at what skills and abilities they have if we search for non-verbal and augmented ways of communicating," said Peter Szatmari, director of the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton.
Carly's breakthrough has not only helped her family get to know her better, but has also given them critical first-hand insight into the destructive and self-injurious behaviour she has displayed for years and what it feels like to have autism.
For instance, Carly's parents never understood why she used to hit herself repeatedly on the arms. When her mother asked about it in an instant messaging conversation, Carly explained she hit herself to control the impulses she has to do "bad" things, like empty drawers around the house or pour out bottles of shampoo.
"I now know what is an autism thing and what is a tantrum thing," Ms. Starr said. "[Now] she knows she can't get away with things I might have been permissive of in the past."
Carly's mother said her family finally has proof that their daughter is intelligent and emotive, but simply didn't have a way of expressing herself to those around her. It's a connection Ms. Starr says has also helped Carly, who now writes stories, vents her frustration and expresses herself by typing her feelings.
"I think she's happier. She's more affectionate because we can have proper dialogues," Ms. Starr said.
Autism experts say that as further developments are made in understanding the neurological disorder, they have realized there may be numerous ways of breaking the communication barrier with autistic individuals. The key is being able to adapt to the needs of autistics, rather than the other way around, Dr. Szatmari said.
"It emphasizes the importance of adapting the environment to the child rather than always expecting treatment to improve the child," he said. "There's a paradigm shift there that I think is really important."
Dr. Szatmari said autism experts have developed numerous new forms of therapy, including voice boxes, specialized computer programs and typing to help reach out to autistic individuals and make it easier for them to communicate.
These therapies are providing new hope to families desperate to connect with autistic children, Dr. Szatmari said. But even when communication is established, it can be bittersweet because many autistic individuals still face huge obstacles when it comes to functioning in society.
"I think it both gives hope and it's frustrating," he said. "What this emphasizes is the importance of providing enough resources for families to access family clinics and centres where these sorts of skills can be evaluated."
Although their daughter still faces many mental and physical challenges, Ms. Starr said Carly is a prime example of the reason why parents and professionals should never write off autistic individuals who can't communicate the same way as the average person.
"To inaccurately assume that because someone can't speak that they lack intelligence, that's a huge mistake," she said. "I think [Carly] can really give parents and professionals a lot of hope."
To view a video of Carly,
go to
A conversation with Carly
The following is a transcript of a series of e-mail exchanges between Carly Fleischmann and The Globe and Mail. Some simple spelling and grammatical errors have been corrected for publication.
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. I like to bake cookies and play games with my sister Taryn. I also like to make fun of my brother. It's funny to watch his face after I make a joke about him. I also like to write stories and talking on MSN.
Q. What does it feel like to have autism?
A. It's hard to have autism not because of the autism but because of the way people act around me. I feel like I scare people when they meet me for the first time. I can't help it. I wish people could be more understand[ing] sometimes.
Q. What would you say to other people who wanted to know what it felt like to be you?
A. It's hard to explain what it's like to be me. Imagine your legs feeling like they are on fire all the time and a burst of energy shoots through your body at the wrong time. When you should be sitting still and people yell at you because you have to let the energy out somehow. Sometimes it feels like I'm trapped in my own body and I can't get out.
Q. What is one of the hardest things you've ever had to do?
A. I think I would have to say controlling my behaviours. It might not seem like I am at times but I try very hard to act appropriately. It is so tough to do and people think it is easy because they don't know what is going on in my body. They only know how easy it is for them. Even doctors have told me that I am being silly but they don't get it. If I could stop it I would. But it is not like turning a switch off. It does not work that way. I know what is right and wrong but it's like I have a fight with my brain over it.
Q. What do you think other kids with autism could learn by hearing about your story and the progress you have made?
A. To tell you the truth I don't know. I am a girl with autism that learned how to spell and is now able to tell people what I think. It's not like I built a thousand houses in New Orleans or found a way for people who don't have food get food. I think the only thing I can say is don't give up, your inner voice will find its way out. Mine did.

This is truly amazing.... Links to the stories
Girl's writings opening new window on autism

From a listmate

Senator Jim Munson To Make Public Presentation On Senate Autism Report, “Pay Now or Pay Later”
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, February 13, 2008 – The Autism Society of Prince Edward Island is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a public presentation on February 20th featuring Senator Jim Munson (Lib-Ontario), a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
The topic of Senator Munson’s presentation will be the Senate committee report, “Pay Now or Pay Later, Autism Families in Crisis”. The report is an examination of the epidemic which faces a growing number of Canadian families and calls for the development of a National Autism Strategy.
“We’re very pleased to be able to welcome Senator Munson to speak about this very important public health issue,” says Michelle Pineau, President of the Autism Society of Prince Edward Island. “This presentation will be of interest to Island families, educators, health care providers and public policy makers.”
The presentation will take part on February 20th, at 6 P.M. and will be held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (Studio Theatre) in Charlottetown .

For more information contact:
Michelle Pineau
President, Autism Society of PEI

Nathalie Walsh
Executive Director
Autism Society of PEI

Biography for Senator Munson:
Senator Jim Munson was appointed to the Senate of Canada in December 2003 following a distinguished career in journalism and public service. A two time Gemini Award nominee, Senator Munson worked in broadcasting for over three decades as a regional, national and foreign correspondent. Prior to his appointment, Senator Munson served as Director of Communications to the Prime Minister of Canada.

A native of New Brunswick , Senator Munson currently sits as a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights and on the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
Nathalie Walsh
Executive Director
Autism Society of PEI
Phone: 902-566-4844
Toll Free: 1-888-360-8681

Google Alert

Autism Blog
From Lisa Jo Rudy,
Your Guide to Autism. Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by Steven Gans, MD
When It Comes to Autism Therapy, Should Parents Do It Themselves?
Yesterday, I wrote about a man who is planning to sell his kidney to pay for his son's behavioral therapy. While I don't know all the circumstances of his decision, I can only assume that he feels it's the best and only option to care for his child's needs.
In response, a number of commenters noted that they felt a parent could reasonably read up on behavioral, sensory, social and/or developmental therapy for autism -- and do it themselves. The fact is, a great many parents are doing just that, many with good outcomes. I myself am a self-taught Floortime therapist, and while I'm no pro, I suspect I've done a reasonably good job for my son.
Here's what one commenter, Tom, had to say:
There are plenty of resources available for people to learn how to do the necessary therapies on their own. Applied Behavioral Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Social Skills therapy all have books written about them which people can use to get the basics. With a little study, time and effort, no one need give up a kidney, and no autistic needs to suffer.
Nicole Caldwell, of, recommends a mix-and-match approach:
I think that Tom is right, that parents and family members can often do many interventions themselves. In terms of ABA, I would still recommend that a family hire a qualified behavior analyst to supervise the program and occasionally check in with the family, but parents can do a lot to help their childen learn with this method instead of hiring many staff members.
Have you tried DIY therapy for your child with autism? If you have, do you feel it's a good option -- or even a better option than paying out-of-pocket for expensive trained therapists?
If you're a therapist yourself, what do you think of the idea of DIY therapy? Assuming that most parents have limited financial means, how would suggest that parents provide therapy without bankrupting themselves?

The Sault Star Google Alert

Stop the discrimination
Updated 4 days ago
The Ontario government claims it is making great strides to improve education in this province. But autistic children are being deprived - they are the only disabled group that does not receive both treatment and education on the government's dollar.
Five families are trying to sue the Ontario government and seven school boards for negligence and damages, accusing them of failing to provide or properly fund the therapies for autistic children in schools.
Known as intensive behavioural intervention and applied behaviour analysis, the therapies for autism can cost between $30,000 to $80,000 a year for each child.
In 2004, the families filed a $1.25-billion lawsuit, which has yet to be certified as a class action, arguing their children were victims of discrimination because other kids with special needs receive both therapy and their education within the publicly funded school system. Last March, Justice Maurice Cullity sided with the province in striking down several of the key claims, including negligence and damages. However, he let stand the discrimination claim.
The families were hoping its lawyer could convince the Ontario Court of Appeal Monday that they should be allowed to sue for damages if their $1.25-billion class action is certified. The panel has reserved its decision in the case.
The Autism Society of Canada says treatments and services are fundamentally necessary for the majority of people with autism to help them to reach their full potential.
Sadly, in order to get such care, some Ontario families have been forced to move to Alberta or B.C. Both provinces fund treatment and education for autistic children. The United States is also an option for such families.
It is reprehensible that Ontario has shirked its responsibility to provide these children with a chance for a better life. The Dalton McGuinty government needs to quit treating autistic children like second-class citizens.
Belleville Intelligencer/Osprey Writers Group

For our American Families:

Navigating the Spectrum and The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health are proud to sponsor The Second Annual Autism Information Fair

Sunday April 6th from 11 am to 4 pm at the Westchester County Center
198 Central Avenue - White Plains , NY

Parents, therapists, educators, health care professionals, school administrators and anyone who cares about a child on the spectrum are invited to join us for a day of education and empowerment. Connect with families affected by ASDs and network with knowledgeable and encouraging professionals. Learn about Interventions and Services available for all ages, from toddlers to adults.

Visit Over 40 Scheduled Information Stations Including
Applied Behavior Analysis - Relationship Development Intervention - DIR and Floortime - TEACCH - Occupational Therapy & Sensory Integration - Speech & Language Pathology - Physical Therapy - Medical Interventions - Nutritional & Biomedical Interventions - Special Education Law & Advocacy - Assessments & Evaluations - Family Resources - Literacy Development - Math Development - Post Secondary Educational Options - Self-Injurious Behavior Management - Family Support Services - Recreational Programs - Respite Services - Social Skills Programs - Transitional Services - Vocational Training - Residential Options - Family Management - Auditory Therapies - Vision Therapy - Chiropractic - Cranio Sacral Therapy - Interactive Metronome - Creative Arts Therapies - Research Studies - Complementary & Alternative Treatments - Plus Many More...

Breakout Lecture Schedule
Toddlers and Preschoolers: 11:30 - 12:30
- Getting a Diagnosis
- Securing Services
- Multidisiplinary Approaches
- Therapeutic Options

School Age Children: 1:00 - 2:00
- It’s Never Too Late to Try Something Different
- Friends and Fitting In
- Peer Pressure and Bullies
- Educational Advocacy

Adolescents & Young Adults: 2:30 – 3:30
- Puberty and Sexuality
- Transitional Services
- Vocational Training
- Residential Options


Navigating the Spectrum - www.navigatingthesp
info@navigatingthes - 914-826-5300

This was received late, my apologies. If we write to Oprah, maybe they will replay it.

Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2008 3:05 PM
Subject: Jim Carrey On Oprah Monday, February 18th!!

We have been alerted that Jim Carrey will be on Oprah February 18th to talk about his upcoming movie,
HORTON HEARS A WHO. We know that Jim will also be talking about AUTISM as Jenny McCarthy's son Evan is so close to his heart.

For show times

The Oprah Show set has been transformed into Dr. Seuss's whimsical land of Whoville to help the cast of Horton Hears a Who feel right at home. After starring in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the always-hilarious and unpredictable Jim Carrey brings the voice of his second Dr. Seuss character to life. The imagination behind Dr. Seuss's books is the reason Jim says he wanted to do another Dr. Seuss movie. "Really, it's one of those pure things that have been handed down through a couple of generations," he says. "You pick up a Dr. Seuss book, and every child in the room is just glued. You don't know why. It's just pure creativity."

Jim thinks kids and adults of all ages will be able to enjoy Horton Hears a Who. "Dr. Seuss always has a lot of levels going on," he says. "And I think this story is symbolic of, kind of the smallest voice has a purpose and has a contribution to make."

Next »
Making a movie about a tiny speck of dust may seem silly, but that kind of whimsy is what Horton Hears a Who is all about. Horton, a thoughtful elephant played by Jim Carrey, makes it his mission to protect the teeny town of Whoville. The town's itty-bitty members include a busybody kangaroo played by Carol Burnett and Whoville's befuddled mayor, played by Steve Carell.

See a sneak peak of Horton Hears a Who.

The Whos in Whoville may be tiny, but they pose a very big question: Can we believe in things we cannot see? Jim says that's the underlying question in Horton Hears a Who that gives it the depth for which Dr. Seuss is known. Jim jokes that the Whos are like the tooth fairy. "A lot of people let that go," Jim jokes. "But not me. I got rich off the tooth fairy."

Horton's motto throughout the movie is that an elephant is faithful 100 percent of the time. Jim says he has his own creed that he follows: "I am heaven." When he starts to feel lost, Jim says those are the words he keeps coming back to. "Just remember you're heaven," he says. "That heaven is not a place to get to or wait for or spend your life in a mind hoping it will be someday. Have it now, you know?"

Although Jim has a deeper spiritual side, he says has no trouble getting into character for the imaginative world of Dr. Seuss. "Just kind of connect with your silly self, you know?" he says.

Jim says he and his girlfriend, actress Jenny McCarthy, have big plans while he's in Chicago, Jenny's hometown. "We're just going to go everywhere she ever existed. That's what we've been doing so far. We'll continue to do that. You know, where she had her first kiss and travel around and see all those places that were near and dear to her—and I'm going to put my scent all over them so it will never be the same for her," he jokes.

Jim says the great relationship he has with Jenny is the result of personal growth. "I think what happens is you go along and you try a lot of different things in relationships and different people and you realize that you're not going to attract the person that's right for you until you become a whole person yourself," he says. "It's really not about completing someone or being completed by someone."

Although he says they are in love, even Jim has his limits. He jokes with Oprah, "She's wonderful and I'm very in love, but I'm not going to jump up and down on your couch."

Jim's co-star in Horton Hears a Who is a kangaroo whose voice belongs to the legendary Carol Burnett. "This lady was the one who made me laugh my entire childhood, one who inspired me to want to be what I am," Jim says. When he was 10 years old, Jim says he sent a letter to Carol so he could get a spot on The Carol Burnett Show. "And I did get a very kind rejection notice about having to hire through the agencies and things like that, but I was so thrilled just to get a letter from Hollywood and from Carol Burnett, I was out of my mind," he says. "She's just been a hero of mine my whole life, and without her, there wouldn't be 30 years of Saturday Night Live. She's a real pioneer and a lovely, lovely person."

Carol says she doesn't know who sent Jim that rejection letter years ago, but assures him one thing. "I will fire her," she jokes. "Even though I don't have the show anymore—I'll fire her."

Google alert

Equal treatment for autistic kids
Posted 5 days ago
The Ontario government claims it is making great strides to improve education in this province.
The Ministry of Education Web site boasts smaller class sizes, higher achievement in reading, writing and math, and more students graduating.
What the Web site does not say is that not all children can benefit from its programs.
Autistic children are being deprived by the province - they are the only disabled group that does not receive both treatment and education on the government's dollar.
It is an obvious case of discrimination - and it is one that a group of parents is fighting with few results.
Five families are trying to sue the Ontario government and seven school boards for negligence and damages, accusing them of failing to provide or properly fund the therapies for autistic children in schools.
Known as intensive behavioural intervention and applied behaviour analysis, the therapies for autism - a life-long neurological condition that causes developmental disability and behaviour problems - can cost between $30,000 to $80,000 a year for each child.
In 2004, the families filed a $1.25-billion lawsuit, which has yet to be certified as a class action, arguing their children were victims of discrimination because other kids with special needs receive both therapy and their education within the publicly funded school system.
Last March, Justice Maurice Cullity sided with the province in striking down several of the key claims, including negligence and damages.
However, he let stand the discrimination claim and in later dismissing the province's demand for $85,000 in legal costs, Cullity acknowledged the significance of the issue, giving hope to the families that they might still have a case.
The group was hoping its lawyer could convince the Ontario Court of Appeal during Monday's one-day hearing they should be allowed to sue for damages if their $1.25-billion class action is certified.


I just wanted to correct the information on SSAH regarding IBI. It absolutely can be used for IBI. Because SSAH is not a regional program but rather a provincial program, regions can not discriminate uses of the funds. The Toronto area office told me it could be used for IBI and when I was without funding that is exactly the mechanism I used. The Toronto office originally was confused about this but when I filed at the Human Rights Commission they realized in fact it could be used to pay for IBI. After that other parents who I was in contact with also used their SSAH funds for IBI. I had also used my SSAH funds for IBI when there was no provincial program in place and there was NEVER an issue.
From a Listmate:
There are other videos at the Five For Fighting Site as well that contribute to Autism Awareness......Take a peek at
My three children are shown in the video, all diagnosed with Autism and Fragile-X Syndrome.... Feel free to post this one in your newsletter as well.....

From a listmate

Student savours ironic win; Brain Bee victor has neurological disorder, wins job in neuroscience lab
Posted By Jennifer Pritchett
Posted 4 days ago
The fact that Calvin Perault has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, has always seemed more of an asset to him than a liability.
Yesterday, the 15-year-old proved the truth in his way of thinking to everyone else.
The Grade 10 Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School student came first in the inaugural Queen's University Brain Bee, a science-based competition held at universities around the world.
Winners go on to compete in national and international competitions, which will be held this May in Montreal.
As part of his prize, Calvin will get a summer job in a neuroscience lab at Queen's - something he sees as somewhat ironic, given the fact he has been diagnosed with a neurological disorder. He's also thrilled to have the opportunity to work in a neuroscience lab for the summer since it's in a field he may pursue as a career.
"I think it's another example of how incredible people with autism can be," he said of his victory.
"Some of the greatest minds in history were autistic - I've taken my inspiration from these great people. Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Charles Schulz [creator of the Peanuts comic strip] have all been retroactively diagnosed with autism and are some of the greatest minds of the world."
Calvin said he once had a CD-ROM about some of these great minds and played it so much that it doesn't work anymore.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. The condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees. While there are similarities with autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average or above average intelligence.
Kelly Moore, manager of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen's, which organized the event and the summer job program, said the Brain Bee is an excellent way to get students interested in neuroscience and to show them the university.
"We hope it will benefit them as they try to predict what they want to do in the future," she said, in an interview.

From a listmate

Ask Lindsay Moir:
Reflections on families with an exceptional child
Friday, February 15, 2008
This is a response to Ontario's first Family Day Holiday which falls on Monday Feb 18th. There is no doubt that an exceptional child impacts both negatively and positively on the family — not just the immediate family, but the extended family as well!
With this in mind, I have reflected on numerous conversations that I have had with a variety of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of exceptional children. The following musings are my attempt to capture the essence of these conversations.
Parents: There is no doubt in my mind that the arrival of an exceptional child puts a strain on parents. If we are lucky, both parents respond in the a similar fashion. If not, the burden falls disproportionately on one parent. I have encountered parents who are consumed by their child's exceptionality — every waking moment is taken up responding to the exceptional childs's needs and programs, leaving no room for a social life, spouse or the other children. The high rate of marriage breakdowns in such families should be no surprise.
BALANCE IS VERY IMPORTANT! Carve out time both for yourself and for you and your spouse. It is important so you won't burn-out.
Maintain friendships outside of your child's exceptionality. Many people only socialize with others within the "exceptionality" community — inevitably the conversation comes around to the exceptionality. It is fine to socialize with these like-minded parents — but maintain old friendships too.
Siblings: Make sure that you schedule time around the other children too. The typical child will be assumed to have special knowledge and insight (AND THEY DO . . . ) but they need time with Mom and Dad, time with friends, time with their classmates. Many conferences and associations now recognize this fact and schedule activities and discussions exclusively for the siblings. Twice this week I encountered stories of schools relying on an older brother to intervene in behaviour management situations . . . the sibling can be part of the plan . . . but they should not BE the plan. They can be the occasional babysitter, but not the ONLY babysitter. They will always have a special role in the exceptional child's life — don't burn them out by age 15.
Grandparents: My visits to Southwest Autism Resource and Research Centre (SARRC) in Phoenix has shown me that grandparents are an under-utilized resource in the Special Education community. These people have the time, energy, life experience and interest to do INCREDIBLE things for exceptional students . . . they can be trained as mentors for newly diagnosed families, they can be fund-raisers, they can provide respite care. SARRC's program has "exploded", grandparents flock to training sessions and connect with other grandparents through monthly meetings and newsletters. Autism Ontario is piloting a similar program in London.
At the other extreme, there are over 20,000 children (many with special needs) in Ontario where Grandma and Grandpa are the primary care givers. "Kinship care" is an emerging Special Education issue. Our social services system is geared to "foster parents" and often provides significantly less support to grandparents who take these children in,compared to the supports previded to foster parents. A recent CTV W-5 show dealt with this issue.
Aunts, Uncles, Cousins: I regularly hear of parents of exceptional children who avoid family gatherings . . . these events SHOULD provide a safe, comfortable environment — respite from the "looks", "stares" and judgements of strangers. Many extended families do provide this, but it takes work. Everybody has to be "trained" to understand the exceptional child and their unusual behaviours. With orientation and acceptance, the whole family can profit from the inclusion of the special child. If your siblings are "avoiding" family events, you need to ask yourself "Why?" Your understanding and acceptance can take the pressure off an already over-burdened parent. You need to initiate the discussion.
Happy Family Day 2008.
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.

The Sudbury Star

Bumpy start at hearing over autism funding
Posted 6 days ago
Lawyers behind a class-action lawsuit against the Ontario government over funding for specialized treatment for autistic children are getting a rough ride from the province's highest court.
A three-judge Ontario Court of Appeal panel is wasting little time putting pressure on David Baker, who wants the court to approve the $1.25-billion class action.
Justice Paul Rouleau says he's not clear why the province should be considered legally responsible for the cost of the expensive, intensive therapy the families want for their kids.
Baker says the government has a duty to accommodate disabled students, but discriminates against those with autism, who can't get both their therapy and education in public school.
He says if the therapy can't be provided in school, autistic kids could be accommodated at special schools like those for the blind and deaf.
The plaintiffs are hoping to persuade court that they should be allowed to sue for damages if their class action is eventually certified.

From a mail list – GET ACTIVE NOW- Posting the entire newsletter in case you know of someone with a disability other than autism.

In This Issue …
- From the President, Dana Leeson
- Get Active Now 2007 Award Winners
- Get Active Now Resources for Sale
- Ontario Medal For Good Citizenship Recipients Announced
- Congratulations CAHPERD on your 75th Anniversary
- Government of Canada Helps to Prevent Diabetes by Investing in Community Projects
- Multiple Sclerosis Study
- Communities in Action Fund Application
- Recreation and Parks Month- June
- Win free Team Canada Clothing!
- Upcoming eVents

From the President, Dana Leeson
February is turning out to be a true winter month! Are we sure there is only to be six more weeks of winter? The weather does provide us with a great opportunity to get outdoors and skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa or enjoy Ontario’s first Family Day by getting out and hitting the slopes. The Board and staff at Get Active Now are getting ready to participate in the 9th Annual Achilles 5k Run/Walk Track Event, on March 16th in Toronto. If you would like to support our team please contact Heather Hiscock at
Recently a Statistics Canada Study reported that barely three out of ten Canadians aged 15 and over participated regularly in at
least one sport in 2005. That's a dramatic decline from the early 1990s when the proportion was closer to one-half. The decline was widespread, cutting across all age groups, education levels, income brackets, both sexes and almost all provinces. Teenagers aged 15 to 18 had the highest participation rate but even that declined 18 per cent between 1992 and 2005.

The report notes, however, that the downward sports trend does not necessarily mean Canadians do not exercise. It says many participate regularly in exercise programs or classes, while others enjoy jogging, gardening or other solo activities. To view the results of the rest of the study click here.

We know that in the disability community, more and more people are getting involved in unorganized activities, as well as trying new ones. I think we all need to take time and try new untraditional activities and keep active.

Yours in Active Living,
Dana Leeson
Get Active Now - Active Living Resource Centre for Ontarians with a Disability

Get Active Now Awards – Winners
The Get Active Now selection committee is pleased to announce this year’s winners of the Get Active Now Awards.
Congratulations to:
York Region Autism Services – Non-Profit Winner
County of Brant, Every Kid Counts - Municipality Winner
Charles Petersen, Freedom Wings - Individual Winner

These awards express Get Active Now’s gratitude to those in the community who have worked extremely hard to promote inclusive, active living opportunities for people with disabilities. These prestigious awards recognize efforts and achievements of the recipient and can serve as a reminder of the common goal to allow everyone to get active now. The winners will be recognized at an event of their choice.

We would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations for this year’s awards. We would also like to thank PRO for their continued support in this program. Again, congratulations to our winners!

We were also excited to hear the recipients appointed to the Order of Ontario.
David Lepofsky received this honour which is well earned and much deserved. Lepofsky is the Toronto lawyer whose fight through three governments to have the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 put in place and then, to give it teeth, have it rewritten as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005, has been appointed to the Order of Ontario, our provinces highest honour. His latest success was to have stops called out on the TTC for those who are blind, as he is. This concept is being put into place in many cities across Canada. Lepofsky is a consistently strong, knowledgeable voice leading Ontarians with disabilities to a better life. The honour is well-earned and much deserved.

Get Active Now Resources For Sale
It’s never too early to start thinking about training ideas for your summer staff. Get Active Now has excellent resources to assist with your planning. Our Inclusion Resource Manual was very popular last year. For only $20 it comes in both a hard copy and CD-ROM format.

Get Active Now currently has a promotion on the Leisure, Integration, and Community (2nd Ed.) textbook. When you order one at the full cost of $40, you will be able to receive your second textbook at 50% off. That’s $20 in savings.

Hurry and order your resources today before they sell out. Our resource order form can be downloaded by clicking here. For more information contact us at 1-800-311-9565.
Ontario Medal For Good Citizenship Recipients Announced
Get Active Now would like to congratulate individuals from the disability background who have been honoured for outstanding contributions to the province of Ontario. "These individuals demonstrate citizenship in action," said the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "They are recognized for outstanding achievement, and their exemplary contribution to our province and beyond. The men and women receiving this award are role models who have made their communities better places to live.”

Recipients of the medal are: David Barber, A. J. Bauer, Helen Bradley, Molly Bruce, Dr. Balliram Chadee, Robert-Guy Despatie, Nettie Hoffman, Dr. Rayudu Koka, Janice Lukas, Yolanda McCann, John McEachern, James Richards, Judith Rosenberg.

Congratulations CAHPERD On Your 75th Anniversary
CAHPERD is turning 75! CAHPERD is developing a special 75th anniversary web portal dedicated to the past, present and future of physical and health education. As part of this community, CAHPERD is looking for you to contribute success stories, retro game ideas, facts or tips, stories about your physical education experiences past or present, to the online forum and to join the events we are planning for this momentous year. The theme is Celebrate our Past, Recognize the Present and Embrace the Future; your contributions are vital, please email your entries to

In addition to CAHPERD celebrating it’s 75th anniversary they are currently seeking motivated Provincial/Territorial individuals to be elected to the Board of Directors for a two-year term beginning May 2008. . Nomination forms must be submitted as soon as possible, but not later than April 1st, 2008 for Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia. New Brunswick forms must be submitted no later than February 29th, 2008.
Click here for the nomination form.

Government of Canada Helps to Prevent Diabetes by Investing in Community Projects

As part of its diabetes strategy, the Government of Canada announced over $493,000 to support eight projects in the areas of diabetes prevention, early detection and screening in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. For more information click here.

Multiple Sclerosis Study

An international study has been launched by The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Living Social Impact Study Team, an independent Canadian research group.

The study will examine the social disruption a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis has on victims and their families, from the perspectives and viewpoints of the people who are wrestling with MS on a daily basis. This is a project by persons with MS for persons with MS that is concerned exclusively with the social aspects of this disease. For full press release, click here.

Communities in Action Fund Applications

Applications for this year's CIAF program are now open and local or
provincial not-for-profit organizations are encouraged to apply. This year, the McGunity government is again providing $7.5 million for projects that will help remove barriers to physical activity, said Minister of Health Promotion
Margarett Best.

The deadline for applications for 2008/09 funding is March 20, 2008. More information is available at

The CIAF program has providing funding for several projects at Get Active Now including our Playground Initiative, Knapsack Initiative and the development and distribution of our seniors and First Nations adapted equipment bags.

Recreation and Parks Month - June
June is Recreation & Parks Month! Visit to submit your organization/community activities online in the 2008 ‘Event Calendar’!
Also by visiting the website, you can have your organization or community officially listed as an Ambassador of June is Recreation and Parks Month. Your participation will ensure recreation and parks programs, services, and opportunities remain vibrant in Ontario’s communities. For further inquires, please email

Win Free Team Canada Clothing!
Canadian children can draw their way into some great Team Canada sporting clothing by designing a poster for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

The creators of the top three posters in the national contest will not only win 2008 Team Canada merchandise and clothing, but will also have their posters hung in Petro-Canada stations across Canada and in the Canadian athletes' lounge at the Paralympic Village in Beijing, China.

For complete contest details and entry forms, go to

Upcoming eVents

The PARC Physical Activity Symposium 2008
WHERE: Crowne Plaza Toronto Don Valley Hotel
WHEN: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 12:30 - 2:30 PM
MORE INFO: click here.

Achilles 9th Annual St. Patrick’s Day 5k Run/Walk
WHEN: Sunday March 16, 2008
WHERE: Toronto, Ontario
MORE INFO: click here

2008 PRO Educational Forum & Tradeshow
WHERE: Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville, Ontario
WHEN: March 30 – April 2, 2008
MORE INFO: click here

Community Connections 2008
WHEN: April 2, 2008
WHERE: St. Mary’s High School, Kitchener, Ontario
MORE INFO: click here

Halton Accessibility Showcase
Resource fair featuring programs and services for people of all ages with special needs and/or disabilities.
WHEN: April 19, 2008
WHERE: Halton Regional Building, Oakville
MORE INFO: Contact Joanne Basta at

Women Summit
WHEN: April 23, 2008
WHERE: Toronto Board of Trade – Toronto, Ontario
MORE INFO: click here

Did you know that over 4000 professionals and individuals receive the Get Active Now eNews across Canada every month? We would like to thank those of you who pass our eNews on to colleagues. However, in order to increase our network and maintain up-to-date records, we ask that people who wish to receive a personal copy of the eNews please send a message to and type “Subscribe to eNews” in the subject line.

To ensure this enews gets delivered straight in to your inbox please add to your address book so that this message is not stopped by a spam filter.

Do you have a program or an event that you would like to share? Get Active Now is happy to help you spread the word by posting information on our website and including it in our next eNews. Acceptable submissions include those regarding advances in active living and accessibility for people with disabilities, as well as events and workshops, local and provincial updates, and/or partnerships in Ontario within the disability field. Click here for full submission guidelines. The next submission deadline is March 3, 2008.

If you would like your name removed from this list please send a message to and type “Unsubscribe to eNews” in the subject line.

Get Active Now® is a registered trademark of Get Active Now – Active Living Resource Centre for Ontarians with a Disability. It can not be used without written permission.

Get Active Now®
213-120 Ottawa Street North
Kitchener, Ontario N2H 3K5
[P](519) 568-7083 or 1-800-311-9565

From a Listmate

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | comment | Children deserve what is rightfully theirs
Children deserve what is rightfully theirs
Feb 15, 2008 04:30 AM
Scrap autism suit, lawyer says
Feb. 12
As a parent of a 10-year-old boy with autism, I take great offence to Crown counsel Robert Charney's metaphorical description of the statement of claim by parents as "puree." My son spends 30 hours a week at school, only to return home and contend with therapy sessions so that he can receive the education he needs using a scientifically proven intervention known as Applied Behaviour Analysis. Many children with autism in Ontario cannot even attend school, because their needs cannot be appropriately met.
Special-education dollars are in the education system to be used for children such as my son. What the school boards fail to implement is the appropriate allocation of funds so that children with autism receive the education they need.
The word "puree" should perhaps be used to describe the emotional, physical and financial exhaustion these families face on a daily basis while advocating for their children to ensure that those with autism receive what is so rightfully needed and provided in the United States .
Sharon Gabison, Maple, Ont.

EVENT- conference

The Sudbury Regional Mutual Aid/Self-Help Conference, Friday, March 7. Building Community, the first ever Sudbury Regional Mutual Aid/Self-Help Conference will take place Friday, March 7, 2008. This one day conference is for self-helpers, volunteers and professionals who are active with or want to learn more about mutual aid, self-help and peer support. Please register early as our conferences have limited enrollment and fill up quickly. Please see attached for more information and to register.

If you know someone volunteers or works with mutual aid/self-help groups, please let them know about this affordable conference. Thanks for spreading the word.
Sue Bruneau
Resource Worker
Canadian Mental Health Association-Sudbury Branch
111 Elm Street, Suite 100
Sudbury, ON P3C 1T3
Tel: (705) 675-7252 ext. 204
Fax: (705) 675-7247

From a listmate

York Region News Group

Families battle province over autism funding

Regional News
Feb 13, 2008
By: Michael Power, Staff Writer

For Taline and Harout Sagharian, paying the costs of specialized autism treatment for their 11-year-old son Christopher has been anything but easy.

The Richmond Hill family sold their house and now live in a property half the size. They have depleted their savings as well as education funds for Christopher and their daughter Natalie, who is nine.
The treatment, known as Intensive Behavioral Intervention can cost between $30,000 and $80,000 per year.
“We just try to stay above the water, month to month, and try to survive that way,” she said. “It’s interesting that the school boards already have a large budget for other kids with disabilities, but when it comes to autism, families have to incur large debts out of pocket.”
The Sagharians are part of a group of parents suing the province because Queen’s Park isn’t providing the intensive therapy in public schools across Ontario.
The class-action suit, originally launched in 2004, seeks damages for families. Lawyers for the province and the families appeared in a Toronto courtroom Feb. 11 to try to hash out before a three-judge panel whether the suit could continue.
The lawyer for the group of families, David Baker, argued the therapy has been provided not only in other provinces, but across the United States for several years. Although Ontario offers help for children with other disabilities, the families of autistic children are left to fend for themselves.
Parents of those children have also pulled them from school in some cases because schools are not providing the treatment they need, Mr. Baker said.
“Families across Ontario have a lot of serious issues and they haven’t gone away,” he said after the hearing. “Kids are still not in school, they’re still not receiving an education. Some of them are 12 or 13 years old and have never been inside a school.”
As well, not providing treatment for autistic children amounts to denying those children a proper education, he said.
The government was obligated to ensure all children — including those with autism — receive a proper education, said Thornhill MPP Peter Sherman, who attended the hearing.
“You’re spending taxpayers’ money to fight our own citizens and... the citizens are spending their hard-earned money to fight the government,” he said. “Not one other jurisdiction denies (behavioral intervention) to children who attend public systems makes us not a laughing stock, but derelict in our duty.”
But Robert Charney, lawyer for the province, said the document outlining the plaintiff’s complaints read as if the issues had been fed into a blender and “someone had pressed puree.”
The statement of claim had not been clear regarding what they are seeking, he said. For example, the document doesn’t make clear whether therapists would attend class with autistic children or do they want teachers to provide the service.
“It’s all, as I say, a puree,” he told court.
The three judges sitting on the panel must now decide whether the suit will be allowed to continue through the courts. An Ontario Superior Court ruling last year struck out several major aspects contained in the statement of claim.
The panel said it would reach its conclusion as soon as possible, but offered no other clues as to how long that might take.
At least one observer from Vaughan wasn’t holding his breath.
“These things are just glacial,” said Bruce McIntosh, who has long been vocal on autism issues and whose son, Cliff, is autistic.
“I hope it does come quickly. It’s a matter of urgency for the kids. They don’t get a second chance at school and they don’t get a second chance at being young.”
Meanwhile, the Sagharian's son, Christopher, has benefited from the full-day treatment in behavioral intervention therapy he receives, but still cannot attend school because the therapy isn’t available in the classroom, Ms Sagharian said.
And while treatment is expensive for children, the amount can more than double to $200,000 to treat adults who have gone untreated, she said.
“All of a sudden that $30,000 to $80,000 (a year for children) sounds a lot better.”
Voices: Black-focused school
Feb 01, 2008
We asked if the divisive debate over a black-focused school is misplaced given the TDSB has 36 alternative schools? Here’s what you had to say:

They say that they are marginalized because of the color of their skin. What about my autistic son and all other special-needs children who are constantly marginalized in the schools that offer band-aid solutions? These same schools fail to deal with the fact that there is a growing population of autistic children coming into the schools. Will the Boards next step be to make an autism-focused school because autistic children are not graduating, or will they continue to ignore the autism issue hoping it will go away?

Sandi Mastro, Toronto

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.”

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


Thank you for all of your groups hard work on behalf of our children. Please let your members know about the upcoming autism conference in Kitchener-Waterloo. It is a 3 day extensive conference. 2 days for parents and caregivers and 1 days to train practitioners. It is a once in a decade opportunity to see amazing presenters including Dr. William Shaw who literally wrote the book on biomedical treatments for autism and PDD. We would welcome any flyers or materials that your group might want to distribute at the conference or possibly signage to let attendees know of your important upcoming work with the Provincial election etc. You can let me know by reply email. I have attached a e-flyer with all of the details of the event.

Thank you again,

Valerie McIntyre

This is an excellent opportunity for those seeking evidence to support the use of various biomedical treatment options. We will be discussing the role of nutritional deficiencies and supplements, special dietary interventions, food allergies, heavy metal toxins, enzyme deficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, immune deficiencies, the role of micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal tract and more. In addition, several parents will be presenting their very different journeys of the treatments that helped their children recover.

A physician training will be held on Monday, October 1st. This training is for licensed physicians and practitioners only. The prerequisite for this training is day 1 and 2 of this conference or other biomedical training. All practitioners are encouraged to participate in the entire conference.
Conference Location: Delta Kitchener-Waterlo
105 King Street East, Kitchener, Ontario N2G 2K8
For more information or to register

Online at:
By Mail:
Kitchener, Canada 2007 Conference (c/o Rory Butler)
11813 W. 77th St. Lenexa, Kansas 66214 USA
By phone:
(913) 341-8949
By fax:
(913) 341-6207

Many thanks to Autism Today for their Sponsorship. For more information about Autism Today please visit
General Session - Day 1: Saturday, September 29
8:00 - 8:30 Registration & Exhibits
8:30 - 8:45 Welcome & Introductions
8:45 - 10:00 Dr. William Shaw “Multi-factorial Causes of Autism”
10:00 - 10:15 Question & Answer & Outreach Clinic Announcement / Information
10:15 - 10:30 Break & Exhibits
10:30 - 11:45 Dr. Boyd Haley “The Biochemistry Of Mercury Neurotoxicity & Its Relationship to Neurological Disease”
11:45 - 12:00 Question & Answer
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch & Exhibits
1:00 - 2.15 Lori Knowles “A Mother’s Success Story - How I Recovered My Child”
2:15 - 3:30 Shula Edelkind “Dietary Management of Behavioral Disorders – The Feingold Program”
3:30 - 4:00 Break & Exhibits
4:00 - 5:15 Lori Knowles “Navigating the Maze of Nutritional Supplements”
5:15 - 5:30 Question & Answer
5:30 - 7:30 Dinner on your own
7:30 – 9:00 Parent’s Round Table – Informal Discussion (All conference participants welcome)
General Session - Day 2: Sunday, September 30
8:00 - 8:30 Registration & exhibits
8:30 - 9:45 Dr. William Shaw “Scientific Breakthroughs - Promising New Treatments”
9:45 - 10:00 Outreach Clinic Information
10:00 - 10:15 Break & Exhibits
10:15 - 11:45 Dr. Kalpana Patel “Food Allergies, Environmental Sensitivities and Toxicities in Autism Spectrum Disorders”
11:45 - 1:00 Lunch & Exhibits
1:00 - 2:30 Tami Duncan “Lyme Disease and its Relationship to Autism”
2:30 - 3:30 Dr. Boyd Haley “Systemic Infections Resulting from Oral Infections”
3:30 - 4:00 Break & Exhibits
4:00 - 5:30 Scott Clack, ND “Implementing Your Child’s Comprehensive Treatment Program”
5:30 - 6:00 Question & Answer Panel/Exhibit Viewing
6:00 – 7:30 Dinner on your own
7:30 – 9:00 Physician / Practitioner Round Table – For licensed physicians and practitioners only
Physician Training - Day 3: (For Licensed Practitioners Only) Monday, October 1
Pre-requisite (Day 1 & Day 2 of this conference or other Biomedical training)
8:30 - 10:00 Dr. William Shaw “Using Biomedical Testing and Interpretation to Determine Treatment Options
and Overview of Testing Options”
10:00 - 10:15 Break
10:15 - 11:15 Lori Knowles “Targeted Applications for Nutritional Supplements”
11:15 - 12:30 Dr. William Shaw “Interpreting the Organic Acid Test & Treatment Recommendations”
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 Dr. William Shaw “Interpreting IgG Food Allergy, Toxic Metals Hair, Immune Deficiency, Comprehensive Stool & more”
3:30 - 3:45 Break
3:45 - 5:00 Scott Clack, ND “Comprehensive Treatment Programs: Putting It All Together”
5:00 – 5:30 Questions & Wrap Up
*Schedule and speakers are subject to change at any time without notice

Dr. William Shaw received a Ph.D. in biochemistry and human physiology from the Medical University of South Carolina. He is board certified in the fields of clinical chemistry and toxicology by the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. He has supervised large endocrinology, nutritional biochemistry, and toxicology and immunology departments in positions at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Smith Kline Laboratories in Atlanta. He was Director of Clinical Chemistry, Endocrinology and Toxicology at Children's Mercy Hospital, the teaching hospital of the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine. Dr. Shaw is now the Director of The Great Plains Laboratory for Health, Nutrition and Metabolism in Lenexa, Kansas specializing in testing for autism spectrum disorders, metabolic disorders in adults and children, PDD, and AD(H)D and has authored the book “Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD”. He is the stepfather of a child with autism and has helped thousands of parents and physicians successfully contribute to improving the lives of autistic children.

Dr. Boyd Haley received a doctorate in Chemistry/Biochemistry at Washington State University. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Physiology, Yale University Medical School from 1971 to 1974. He has been a professor and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky since 1996. Recently, Dr. Haley has testified before numerous government agencies on the effects of mercury toxicity from dental amalgams and vaccines. He was one of the first researchers to propose that the preservative Thimerosal in infant vaccines was the most likely toxic agent involved in Gulf War Syndrome and autism related disorders. He has shown using mercury analysis of birth-hair that autistics represent a subset of the population that cannot excrete mercury effectively. Dr. Haley is also co-founder and scientific advisor of Affinity Labeling Technologies, Inc., a biotech company that synthesizes and markets to major research institutes nucleotide photo-affinity analogs for biomedical research. Dr. Haley has been invited to present lectures on the subject of mercury toxicity and neurological diseases at international conferences in 12 different countries.

Lori Knowles is a mother of a recovered child and General Manager of New Beginnings Nutritionals. She is a frequent speaker on biomedical interventions to parents and professionals at autism conferences around the world. Over the past five years, she has worked closely with Dr. William Shaw, PhD to create New Beginnings Nutritionals, a cutting edge nutritional supplement company that supports the unique needs of children with autism. She collaborates with physicians, naturopaths, scientists, autism researchers and parents in order to create a diverse product line that parents and physicians can trust. Lori enjoys drawing from both her extensive research, professional and personal experience in recovering her own child to support parents and practitioners seeking answers to improve the lives of children affected with autism.

Scott Clack, B.Sc., N.D. received his Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Toronto (Mississauga)1981, and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle in 1997. He practiced in B.C. for 2 years after graduation, and moved home to Ontario in 1999. Scott Clack has been specializing in the treatment of Autism and related disorders for approximately 4 years. In working with these families, he has researched and implemented many treatments that are recommended by DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!). His formal training in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders “ASD” patients includes Open Windows (Toronto) training with Dr’s Bradstreet and Kartzinel in 2003, Open Windows (Toronto) with Dr. Bradstreet and Elaine Gotschall, Toronto mini-DAN! 2005 Physician’s training along with Great Plains Physician conference in 2006, the DAN! Conference in April 2006 and the Great Plains Physician training conference in 2007. In addition, Scott was voted Naturopathic Doctor of the Year in 2005 by his Ontario peers.

Dr. Kalpana Patel is a board certified pediatrician as well as board certified environmental specialist. She is a world renowned physician seeing patients from all over the world for the Treatment of Food and chemical sensitivities, Detoxification Disorders, Toxic Heavy Metal Poisoning and multiple nutritional deficiencies. She lectures nationally and internationally on these and related subjects. Dr. Patel has written and published several articles and a paper, soon to be published, on successful treatment of Autism using the comprehensive approach. She is the president of both the American and International Boards of Environmental Medicine. She is currently an assistant professor of pediatrics at the State University of New York in Buffalo and is a chairman and program director for the Basic and Advanced Training course by the AAEM. Dr. Patel has received many prestigious awards for “excellence in knowledge, outstanding achievements and exemplary services” in the subject of Chemical Sensitivity. She is also the President of Allergy and Environmental Health Center and has a private practice specializing in Environmental Medicine in Buffalo, New York.

Shula Edelkind’s second child became an obvious behavior problem, she didn’t have a clue what to do. She obeyed the doctors, took parenting courses, put him on Ritalin, then Cylert, and was about to add Tegretol when he developed severe Tourette Syndrome. In the 1980’s, doctors had not yet seen Tourette Syndrome, and his symptoms scared the neurologist into stopping all medications. It took another year and a special diagnostic clinic in another city to get a diagnosis. When she saw a TV talk show discussing treatments for ADHD, including the Feingold diet, she thought it might be useful, or at least not harmful. Remarkably, in four days, her son was behaviorally normal. By the end of the year, there were no more Tourette’s tics and he has been in permanent remission for the past 25 years.

As a volunteer and staff person for the Feingold Association, Shula designs and maintains the Feingold website and searches out medical studies on the connection of diet, health, and behavior. She returned to school to study bio-psychology, graduating magna cum laude from Agnes Scott College, and is now working on her Masters degree in Psychology at University of Phoenix.

Tami Duncan is the mother of two fabulous kids, Michael and Jenna. At age 7, Michael was diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder. After struggling to find help for her son, Tami stumbled upon TACA (Talk About Curing Autism). Soon after, Tami became a TACA meeting coordinator for the Inland Empire region. While going through the autism journey, she starting becoming sick herself and was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. In learning about Lyme disease, she decided to get her whole family tested. Her autistic son, Michael, came back positive. Tami then discovered a whole online community where hundreds of parents in which the mom was sick with Lyme and the autistic child was also infected. Unable to find treatment that she would consider appropriate, Tami and Kathy Blanco formed the L.I.A. Foundation, which focuses on Borrelia and multiple-infections as a potential cause of autism. Tami is now the co-founder and president of the L.I.A. Foundation and in charge of all operations.

1. Register online at
2. Register by Mail: Kitchener, Canada 2007 Conference
c/o Rory Butler, 11813 W. 77th St. Lenexa, Kansas 66214 USA
3. Register by phone: 1-800-288-0383 (US only) or (913) 341-8949 at The Great Plains Laboratory
4. Register by fax: (913) 341-6207 at The Great Plains Laboratory (please confirm fax receipt)
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION – Receive $30 Discount if registered by August 15, 2007
GROUP DISCOUNTS – 10% Group Discount Rate if registering 10 or more

$ 99 US - ONE DAY PASS _____________________________(please specify date attending)

$ 149 US - TWO DAY PASS _____________________________(please specify dates attending)

$ 189 US – THREE DAY PASS (Practitioner’s Only)

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT (applies if register before August 15th 2007)

Multiply appropriate fee by # of registrations


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105 King Street East
Kitchener, Ontario N2G 2K8

Directions & overnight accommodations:
Contact the Delta Kitchener-Waterloo Hotel at 519-744-4141 or 800-483-7812 or go to website
Airport Travel Options
1. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YTO)
Kitchener is 53 miles Southwest of the Toronto Airport
2. Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)
Kitchener is approximately 113 miles Northwest of Buffalo Airport

The Great Plains Laboratory would like to extend an invitation to exhibit at a conference designed for physicians, teachers, therapists and parents of children with Autism. Please note that exhibitor space will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information about exhibiting, please visit or call 913-341-8949 or 800-288-0383 (US only).

Post Conference Outreach Clinic
The Great Plains Laboratory is partnering with Scott Clack, ND to provide a local Outreach Clinic in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The clinic will be dedicated to those seeking biomedical treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders, allergies, AD(H)D, psychiatric and behavioral abnormalities. He will also be treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Environmental Illness, Autoimmune Diseases, Hormonal Imbalances, Immune Dysfunction and Other Chronic Disorders/Illnesses.

Scott Clack, Naturopathic Doctor, specializing in the biological treatments (DAN! protocol) for autism and related disorders, will be seeing patients on Saturday & Sunday, November 3rd & 4th, 2007 by appointment only. The Great Plains Laboratory will provide a highly skilled phlebotomist, who will be on site as a convenience for any patients requiring blood draws.

Our Goal is to Assess and Treat: Underlying nutritional deficiencies and oxidative stress, yeast and bacterial imbalances, food allergies and sensitivities; immune and endocrine dysfunctions, heavy metal toxicity, auto-immunity issues, impaired detoxification systems

What you can expect from The Great Plains Laboratory Outreach Clinic:

• A multi-faceted, whole-body approach integrating natural and holistic medicine
• Review all signs & symptoms, no matter how ‘seemingly’ unrelated
• Extensive intake form to obtain a detailed and accurate clinical picture
• Extensive metabolic testing – utilizing blood, urine, stool, and hair
• Case review from two branches of medicine (naturopathic and biochemistry)
• Design and implement a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan based on each individual’s clinical and metabolic presentation
• On-going support provided through office consultations at Scott Clack’s full service clinic in Mississauga, Ontario

Space is limited so please call
Linda Brozanic or Bryan Olson at (913) 341-8949 today
and schedule your appointment!

Autism, PDD, AD(H)D and Behaviour Disorders

A Guide to Biomedically Based Diagnostic and Therapeutic Options

For Parents, Care Givers, Educators and Practitioners

Saturday & Sunday
September 29 & 30, 2007

Delta Kitchener-Waterloo
105 King Street East
Kitchener, Ontario N2G 2K8

This conference will provide scientific evidence that supports the use of various biomedical treatment options for Autism, PDD, ADD/HD and Behaviour. Disorders. We will be discussing the role of nutritional deficiencies and supplements, special diet interventions, food allergies, inborn errors of metabolism, immune deficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, the role of micro-organisms in the gastrointestinal tract, diagnostic testing and more.

The complete flyer & website information will be available in the near future (

For additional information, sponsorship opportunities, volunteer information, fundraising information, exhibitor opportunities and more, please contact:

Christiane Gram
The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc. 704-225-3623


What If Autism Were Contagious?
By Kim Stagliano, Huffington Post
Posted on February 12, 2008, Printed on February 14, 2008
Two controversies are swirling in the autism world. The first is over the safety of vaccines as they may relate to the cause/onset of this life altering disorder. The recent airing of ABC's Eli Stone episode about a woman who sued a pharmaceutical company (and won) on behalf of her autistic son brought the vaccine Hatfields and McCoy's roaring into the headlines, even as the American Academy of Pediatricians demanded the program's censorship. (You can read about that HERE in David Kirby's Huffington Post piece.) The second is the whether or not there is any epidemic at all, brought up by Dr. Nancy Minshew, who runs the Center for Excellence in Autism Research at Pitt.
The media reports almost daily that drug companies have misreported clinical trial results, marketed ineffective drugs, and lied to doctors and consumers alike about their products' efficacy and safety. And yet we're expected to believe that the dozens of vaccines administered to infants and toddlers are 100% safe, 100% of the time, for 100% of children, and have absolutely no connection to autism. Man, that's harder to swallow than one of those horse sized prenatal vitamins the OB's dole out along with that mercury laden flu shot.
When I write about vaccines and autism and the desire for better safety testing, I often get the same response from people: "Do you want Polio back?" My instinct is to slap them. Such a stupid question. No one wants Polio back. But that question has led me to the question, "What if autism were contagious?" Would the response to the 1 in 150 rate of diagnosis change from, "Oh my, what a shame. We'd better learn how to diagnose it earlier." to "We'd better figure out the cause and come up with treatments immediately!" Would we go into attack mode as we did for AIDS, which in 30 years has seen great improvement in prevention and treatment?
If you think the photos of the old Polio wards are frightening, take a day off and go visit a classroom for children on the severe end of the autism spectrum. You'll see children who are ambulatory and yet cannot care for their most basic needs. They will require a lifetime of care. Can you tell me that these children are not as disabled as those who contracted Polio?
Then there's the "epidemic" question. It's as if someone at the top decided, "It's time to make autism appear to be less of a threat." following that Eli Stone episode. Dr. Nancy Minshew, who heads up a center devoted to autism, has changed her mind about the epidemic. She is quoted in an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "I used to think there were more cases [than in past years], but I don't think so any more." She is now convinced that the higher numbers are "not an increase in the number of cases, but are an improvement in recognition." (Is she kidding? I'm thinking of inviting her over for dinner so she can see the epidemic in action.)
Poof! Thanks to her words, the worry over autism has disappeared like Bruce Willis' hair. Whoopee! She also had the gall to say that autism used to be diagnosed as schizophrenia and that accounts for some of the diagnostic substitution. Oh? I wish I'd known so I could have named my girls Sybil, Sybil and Sybil.
Dr. Minshew happens to be on the Autism Speaks' Scientific Advisory Board. Autism Speaks was founded by Bob and Suzanne Wright in response to the crisis in rising autism numbers. Suddenly one of their top scientists says there is no crisis. Boy, autism sure looks like a crisis in my house. And at my kids' schools, where there are entire classrooms devoted to teaching kids on the spectrum. And at Barnes and Noble where books pop up like zits on prom night about all things autism.
Please tell me why our doctors and national institutions and even charities have abandoned children with autism, instead of setting out to conquer this neurological crippler. What if autism were contagious? Would our kids matter then?
Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of, a writer and the mother of three daughters with autism. She lives in CT with her husband Mark and the girls. She blogs at KimStagliano.
© 2008 Huffington Post All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

From a listmate

February 14, 2008 THE OTTAWA SUN PAGE: 18 (NEWS)
Autistic program faces axe
It's the 11th hour for families of autistic and special needs children, as a vital summer learning program is on the chopping block.
Public school board trustees heard last night from parents' delegations and debated the challenges faced in maintaining the program at the business and services committee.
The program's fate, with a final decision to come at the Feb. 26 board meeting, will likely hinge on a recommendation that wasn't expected to come until late last night.
Brenda Reisch, executive director of Children at Risk and the mother of an autistic child, said it would be "morally and ethically unconscionable" for the board to axe the program.
Reisch said autistic children benefit from structure and routine, and have difficulty self-managing through a long summer break.
More than 300 students participate in the July program in three locations across the city. Since it's not part of the provincial mandate, most of the $700,000 annual tab has been picked up by the board.
"If we approve this, then it puts us into deficit," said board of trustees vice-chairman Riley Brockington, adding he would only support the existing program as "a last resort."
He suggested an amendment that would see the program cost divided equally among parents, board, province and a charitable third party. Brockington said parents he's spoken with would be willing to pay $25 per day if it meant saving the program. ___________________________________
Autistic kids are deprived
Belleville Intelligencer
The Ontario government claims it is making great strides to improve education in this province. The Ministry of Education website boasts smaller class sizes, higher achievement in reading, writing and math, and more students graduating.
What the website does not say is that not all children can benefit from its programs. Autistic children are being deprived by the province. They are the only disabled group that does not receive both treatment and education on the government's dollar.
It is an obvious case of discrimination, and it is one that a group of parents is fighting with few results. Five families are trying to sue the Ontario government and seven school boards for negligence and damages, accusing them of failing to provide or properly fund the therapies for autistic children in schools. It is reprehensible that Ontario, one of the most prosperous provinces, has shirked its responsibility to provide these children with a chance for a better life.




February 14, 2008

Ralph requested trade

Access to therapy for autistic daughter, family available to help in

Vicki Hall, The Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON - Brock Ralph tucks the reason behind his trade to the
Edmonton Eskimos into bed every single night and prays for her

Her name is Oakley. She is 3. And she faces a lifetime of challenges
after being diagnosed last summer with autism.

"We first noticed something was different between 18 months and two
years," the newest member of the Edmonton receiving corps said
from his off-season home in Lethbridge.

"She was delayed socially. Her eye contact was different. Her
language skills were behind. So we were pretty sure something was

Ralph and his wife took their daughter to the doctors in Hamilton,
and their fears were confirmed. The little girl was immediately placed
on the waiting list for several kinds of therapy.

No such waiting list existed back home in Alberta, so Ralph
approached the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a trade. GM

Bob O'Billovich agreed and dealt the speedy wideout to the Eskimos
Tuesday for linebacker Michael Botterill and defensive back Chris

In 13 games last season, Ralph caught 50 passes for 721 yards and
three touchdowns. He underwent shoulder surgery last November to repair
a torn labrum but expects to be ready in time for training camp.

"I think he brings that instant vertical threat we were lacking,"
said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "He is a guy who had more than
700 receiving yards and he missed four or five games last year.

"He's a solid kid. He's been here before with the Eskimos. He's
what the Eskimos are all about, and he's clearly developed into a
good football player."

Autism is a brain disorder that hampers development and affects the
ability to communicate and relate to others.

Some people with autism are relatively high-functioning, with speech
and intelligence intact. Others experience severe difficulties in
speaking and language.

"She's just a quirky kid," Ralph said. "She's behind in some areas
and excels in other areas. It's still been totally easy for me to bond
with her.

"It goes in waves for us. The hardest part for me -- and for any
parent who deals with this -- is worrying about her future."

In Edmonton, Ralph and his wife can lean more on their families in
Raymond, Alta. Ralph's younger brother, Brett, plays down the highway

And with family close by, Ralph is confident the future will be
brighter for everyone. Especially Oakley.

ILLUS: Photo: Canwest News Service, File / Brock Ralph of the
Hamilton Tiger-Cats can't hang on to this pass in October 2007. ;

Google Alert

Autism appeal seeks damages
It's another step in a painful case for families seeking therapy in school.
TORONTO -- Parents fighting to have their autistic children receive specialized therapies within the public education system go before Ontario's highest court today in an emotionally fraught case that has huge financial stakes for both the families and taxpayers.
The five families are trying to sue the Ontario government and seven school boards for negligence and damages, accusing them of failing to provide or properly fund the expensive therapies in schools.
Known as intensive behavioural intervention and applied behaviour analysis, the therapies for the poorly understood neurological condition that causes developmental disability and behaviour problems can cost between $30,000 and $80,000 a year for each child.
"Families go to extremes," said Taline Sagharian, of Richmond Hill, whose 11-year-old son Christopher is autistic. "Six years ago, we had to sell our house. We've cashed in our investments and any assets that we have . . . and we continue to go through financial problems."
In 2004, the families filed a $1.25-billion lawsuit, which has yet to be certified as a class action, arguing their children were victims of discrimination because other kids with special needs receive both therapy and education within the publicly funded school system.
Last March, Ontario Superior Court Justice Maurice Cullity sided with the provincial government in striking down several key claims, including negligence and damages.
However, he let stand the discrimination claim and in later dismissing the province's demand for $85,000 in legal costs, Cullity recognized the public importance of the issue, giving hope to the families that they might still have a case. The plaintiffs are hoping to persuade the Ontario Court of Appeal during today's one-day hearing that they should be allowed to sue for damages if their class action is eventually certified.
The government, based on previous court rulings, wants the entire case tossed.
Toronto lawyer David Baker, who is acting for the families, calls it unconscionable the parents are faced with what they view as a stark choice between therapy and education for their kids.
"In our education system, there is no other group receiving therapy -- whether it's in a hospital, in residential treatment, any form of treatment you can name -- who is deprived of an education," he said.
Some Ontario families have moved to Alberta or B.C. where autistic children can receive both, he said, while autistic children in the United States are able to access the therapies through the education system until the age of 21.
Education Minister Kathleen Wynne said the province is rolling out applied behaviour analysis in schools across Ontario, while intensive behavioural intervention would be used outside schools.

Autism In the Senate
From a listmate

Thursday, February 14, 2008 -

Senate of Canada
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Question Period


National Strategy for Autism

Hon. Gerry St. Germain: Honourable senators, my question today, I
believe, transcends partisanship and politics.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!

Senator Germain: It is a first.

Yesterday, Senator Munson asked a question of the Leader of the
Government in the Senate in regard to autism. Autism is a disease of
our children, and the information that was given to me is that 80 per
cent of families with autistic children break down as a result of the
stress. I do not know how accurate that figure is, but that is the
information I have been given.

The Leader of the Government in the Senate said yesterday that the
responsibility for frontline providers for treatment and assistance
rests with the provinces. Could the minister tell the Senate whether
there is any initiative underway that would encourage other provinces
to take the lead of the Province of Alberta? The Province of Alberta
is in quite a unique situation because of the amount of wealth that
exists there, but there are other provinces that are fairly wealthy,
such as British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Senator Peterson knows how
wealthy his province is becoming.

I think there should be an initiative that reminds these people of the
great responsibility that exists in regard to dealing with this
horrific situation that plagues so many families in our country.

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State
(Seniors)): Honourable senators, I know exactly what the honourable
senator speaks about because a member of my own family has an autistic

There is a problem with the various theories that speculate as to the
cause of autism. We have all read about theories that suggest that
autism is caused from vaccines administered to children when they are
young, to genetics, to stressful environmental issues. Some people say
autism is a form of mental illness. There are people with autistic
children who do not like that definition because they think there is a
stigma attached to the term.

Former Senator Michael Kirby was named as the head of the Mental
Health Commission. Autism fell under the rubric of mental illness in
one of the studies completed by the Social Affairs Committee. The
Minister of Health, Mr. Clement, has taken measures on the federal

However, the honourable senator is right; the delivery of health in
this country is a provincial responsibility. He is also quite right
that Alberta is one of the jurisdictions that is leading the way.
Perhaps provincial ministers of health, when trying to collectively
deal with this, could share information at a future health ministers'

In the honourable senator's own province, on October 20 of last year,
$1 million was invested towards the creation of a new national chair
in autism research intervention. The research happens to be located in
the honourable senator's province, at Simon Fraser University, but the
mandate is national in scope. Hopefully, through research and
knowledge such as that, researchers will work with the provinces and
territories to share best practices.

That is really what must happen here. Different jurisdictions should
share best practices. Senator Munson used the example of cancer, and I
think the other example used was with respect to the heart. Defining
autism is unfortunately not an easy task because of the various
theories in regard to what causes autism.

As a result of questions yesterday, I spoke to the Minister of Health
about this issue, and he told me he could understand the concern
because people in this situation are in desperate need.

The federal government is taking concrete actions to continue to work
with the various stakeholders, provinces and territories to try to
alleviate a situation that is causing such a desperate need for
families with autistic children.


From a listmate

Subject: York Region Papers FEB 13 Letter to editor printed

You can't catch or suffer from autism (York Region Papers- Feb 13,2008)

Letters to the Editor
Feb 13, 2008 05:34 PM
Re: Family hopes study will shed light on autism, Feb. 2

I think it is wonderful that you featured an article on autism and congratulate the Bond family on increasing awareness of autism and its issues by sharing their story.

I have a couple of comments with regard to the caption on the photo, because I believe it was misleading and in need of clarification.

With reference to the fact that the young boy “suffers” with autism, this can be very misleading.

People “live “ with autism, it is something that is a part of them and will be with them for life.

Some are very good at overcoming obstacles presented by autism and lead positive and productive lives.

With regard to the comment “find a cure for this disease”, autism is not a disease, it is not contracted nor contagious. The question many children ask at educational sessions is “can I catch it?”, and it helps to eliminate this type of view.

Autism is a neurological disorder affecting brain processes. Different people respond to different strategies and therapies. That is why the following statement is so true: If you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.

People with autism are unique and creative individuals with a lot to share if given the chance. Thank you again for your support in helping to increase awareness of autism and I hope this helps people understand the issues, because with understanding comes acceptance.

Micole Ongman, vice president
Chapter Leadership Council
Autism Ontario , York Region

From another List

There's a new documentary playing called Autism: The Musical.

It's part of the Hot Docs Monthly Film Series.

The documentary is showing on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, at 6:30pm and
TORONTO). The director will be in attendance to introduce the film and
to participate in post screening discussions with the audience.

You can go onto the hotdocs website, www.hotdocs. ca to find out when
tickets will be on sale. Usually the 9:15 pm show is free for
students. All you have to do is show your Student ID card. Otherwise
it's CAD $ 12.

http://www.autismth emusical. com/index. php?session= myhomepage& id=

End of mailing


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