Monday, July 14, 2008

June 24-July 2nd 2008 Autism News Articles

Autism News Articles
Alliance for families with autism
June 24 th –July 2nd 2008
to read archived mail

AFA is experiencing VACATION TIME at random times during the summer. Please be patient with our mail

Thank you.

Good Afternoon,

Please find below an updated media advisory: Terry Robinson, a two-time Para-olympian, afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, will be wheeling with Jonathan through Ontario from Ottawa to Winnipeg. He, therefore, will be with Jonathan in Kingston and on the run. His information can be found on
We are honoured to have Terry participate here in Kingston.

Updated Media Advisory
June 26, 2008
For Immediate Release


On Saturday July 12, 2008 at 10am Autism Ontario - Kingston Chapter is proud to host Jonathan Howard and his Run the Dream Team for Autism. Families along with the Deputy Mayor, Town Crier, Buskers, Jay Serdula (Marathon Swimmer for Autism), Terry Robinson(two-time para-olympian) and The DRIVE Radio station and various other dignitaries will gather on the steps of City Hall to welcome Jonathan and his Team to our fine city. Jonathon, Jay and Terry will then set out for a 12km run to Bayridge Public School, Hudson Dr.

All ARE WELCOME to join Jonathan,Jay and Terry. Participation in the run is by donation.

Autism Ontario - Kingston will welcome Jonathan, Jay, Terry and the participants with a Pizza Party in the Park at the brand new accessible playground equipment located at Bayridge Public School, Hudson Dr. at 11:30 am. All are welcome to join us to cheer Jonathon, Jay, Terry and the participants on and to enjoy the new accessible playground equipment!!!!!!!!!

Please RSVP for the Run or for the pizza party by calling (613)546-6613, ext 38 or by emailing

The only thing missing in A TISM IS U............

Dream As Though You’ve Never Failed

Run The Dream is a coast-to-coast solo run across Canada by Jonathan Howard, a 24 year old resident of Mississauga, Ontario to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and a targeted $2.5 million, in support of charities that work to assist children with ASD and their families. Jonathan started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on March 25, 2008 and will finish in Victoria, British Columbia in December 2008. In this time span, Jonathan will run approximately 8,500 kilometres, and visit more than 650 communities in 10 provinces.

Jonathan is proud to dedicate his run, and his efforts to raising awareness and charitable donations to support the people who dedicate their lives turning the dreams of children with ASD, and their families, into miracles and abilities. Visit for more information.
Pat La Londe Autism Ontario -Kingston, Leadership Council.

Today's news is sponsored by
Doc Sales Made for September Films
LONDON, June 26: NBDtv/DCD Media has inked sales on three documentaries produced by September Films and executive produced by creative director Sheldon Lazarus: Boys Joined at the Head, Stephen Wiltshire: The Human Camera and I Am the Elephant Man.
The hour-long Boys Joined at the Head, created for Five in the U.K., tells the story of conjoined Egyptian twins. It has been sold to Blue Eyes Television in Germany, Kanal 5 in Sweden, Nelonen in Finland, Nine Network in Australia, TV2 in Denmark, TV3 in Ireland, TVNZ in New Zealand, Radio Canada and Viasat for Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia.
Also for Five, Stephen Wiltshire: The Human Camera profiles an autistic artist who is able to draw incredibly detailed landscapes entirely from memory. The documentary has been acquired by Danmarks Radio in Denmark, Kanal 5, Nine Network, Televisio De Catalunya in Spain, TV Norge in Norway, New Zealand’s TVNZ, VTM in Belgium, Canada’s TV Ontario and BBC America.
I Am the Elephant Man, a one-hour doc for Channel 4 in the U.K., follows the work of a Chinese physician who deals with abnormal tumors that other doctors have been too afraid to handle. His most famous case is a 31-year-old man who suffers from one of the world’s most extreme cases of neurofibroma, a tumor of the nervous system. The documentary has been sold to Kanal 5, Nine Network, TV Norge, Red Media in Russia, Teva in France and Finland’s Nelonen.
Nicky Davies Williams, the CEO of NBDtv/DCD Media, said: “We are thrilled with the sales secured for these fascinating documentaries, all of which rated extremely well in the U.K. This success further strengthens our valuable relationship with September Films, which continues to produce high-quality human-interest documentaries which resonate with audiences throughout the world.”
—By Kristin Brzoznowski



Working Together F or Kids & Teens with Disabilities … Children’s Treatment Network is a new service delivery model for kids with multiple disabilities in Simcoe and York. It links over 40 healthcare, education, recreation, social and community services organizations so they can take a team approach to each child’s care. F or the first time, parents have one point of contact for a single plan of care for kids from birth to age 19. The Network coordinates services needed and monitors each child’s progress through all the phases of their development. The Network is also expanding services that are critically needed in the community to bring more services closer to home and help reduce waitlists. Parents and professionals can contact the Network by calling 1-866-377-0286 or online at

• Network named winner of Rotman Award by SickKids F oundation
• Over 250 parents and professionals attend Network Symposium
• New F amily Resource Site Launched
• Network Partners in the News!
• Network Evolution Snapshot

Network Wins Rotman Award! SickKids F oundation makes announcement at Network Symposium

There were cheers and smiles all around as the Network was named the 2008 Rotman Award winner at the 2nd Annual Symposium on June 16th at the Nottawasaga Inn. (Left) Joanne Kviring, National Grants, SickKids F oundation congratulates Network CEO Bob Morton on winning the $100,000 award. (Right) Joanne and Bob are joined onstage by the Network’s Chairman of the Board Graham Constantine (centre) who accepted the Award on behalf of all Network partners, parents and professionals.

Parents, partners and professionals attending the Network’s Symposium greeted the Award announcement with a standing ovation. The Network is the first organization in Ontario to receive the prestigious Award. It is awarded to one organization each year whose practices and vision embody the best in paediatric home and community care innovation. Joanne Kviring from SickKids F oundation explained that the Award selection committee felt it was important to support further development of the Network’s single plan of care system and enable others to learn from it. They felt the Network’s approach could be easily translated from region to region across the country and was exactly the kind of collaborative thinking that the Award was created for.

The Award will help Network partners continue to both improve the system and the way services are delivered. Part of the Rotman Award’s mandate is to enable others to learn from new approaches and innovations. So the Network will be sharing what we’ve learned with regions and communities across Canada who could benefit from this kind of family-centred, integrated service delivery model.

For all the details on the Rotman Award visit the Network’s website at

Over 250 parents and professionals attend the Network’s 2nd Annual Symposium on June 16th
It was an exciting day of learning, dialogue and discussion for over 70 parents and family members, 160 front line professionals and 21 Board members and CEOs of partner organizations who took over the Nottawasaga Inn’s conference rooms on June 16th.

The day kicked off with lunch and an Information F air, followed by the Rotman Award announcement and keynote address by Dr. Gina Browne.

Parents spent the afternoon with a panel of experts in a Special Program for F amily Members, while Board members and CEOs collaborated on future directions and priorities for the Network.

Front Line Professionals and Clinicians chose from 10 workshops providing information on new programs, innovative approaches and services supporting kids and families in the area.

The Symposium’s success was due in large part to the contributions of our four sponsors: Closing the Gap Healthcare Group, Goldcare, Healthtech and Motion Specialties. Our sincere appreciation for their support.

Luncheon & Information F air a crowd pleaser

The Information F air featured 14 exhibits showcasing services and special programs offered by a range of Network partners including Blue Hills Child & F amily Centre, Campana Systems Inc., York Support Services Network, Closing the Gap Healthcare Group, Markham-Stouffville Hospital Child Development Programs, Learning Disabilities Association of Simcoe County, School Specialty/Abilitations, Camp Awakening Inc., New Path Youth & F amily Services, Motion Specialties, Simcoe Community Services, Kinark Child and F amily Services and Early Intervention Services of York Region.
Keynote speakers Bob Morton and Dr. Gina Browne deliver the news
(Left) Network CEO Bob Morton gives a round of applause to parents and professionals when he talked about the accomplishments made over the past year. In addition to delivering additional rehab services to over 3,300 kids, Network partners dramatically reduced travel and wait time by bringing 4 specialty services to the community. F or a full list of 2007- 2008 Network Progress Highlights,
(Right) Dr. Gina Browne provided everyone with an update on the research study being conducted by McMaster University to measure the impact of the effectiveness of the Network’s single plan of care approach.

(Above) In addition to providing baseline data and expected impact on the system, Dr. Browne spoke with many parents about the challenges they face and the effect the Network’s team approach is expected to have on meeting families’ needs.
Program for Parents feature a panel of experts
(Above) Highly acclaimed special education consultant Lindsay Moir kept parents riveted as he provided advice and tips on what families need to do when your child is ready to start school. He also gave invaluable information about services and supports available and offered advice on how to better navigate the education system as your child progresses.
Lindsay was joined by experts from Behaviour Management Services of York and Simcoe, Simcoe Community Services, and Kinark Child and F amily Services who provided families with information and counsel on behaviour management, socialization and respite care.
Front Line Professionals & Clinicians get updates on hot topics
Over 160 professionals participated in a total of 10 workshops focused on recent innovations and programs helping to fill gaps, reduce waitlists and provide more support to kids and families in York and Simcoe.

Nineteen experts from Network partner organizations addressed a range of topics. They included information on programs that are expanding capacity to diagnose kids with autism to enhanced augmentative communications, feeding assessment and services, fetal alcohol syndrome and acquired brain injury services. Expert panels also provided tips on how to facilitate a single plan of care meeting, conduct home safety assessments and advances in social skills programs for adolescents with Asperger’s.

(Left)Tonya Millsap from Catulpa Community Support Services shared a comprehensive approach to F etal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder in Simcoe County . (Right) Amber Bartlett (at podium), a speech language pathologist with the Simcoe County Preschool Speech and Language Program and (back left) Dr. Nicky Jones-Stokreef, Network developmental paediatrician with Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital delivered the latest information about the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule) Initiative and how it is enhancing local diagnostic capacity in the community.

(Left) Judy Andersen, Service Coordinator, York Region District School Board and Susie Recchi, Service Coordinator with Early Intervention Services York Region packed the room with a working session that provided Tips for Coordinating a Successful Single Plan of Care Meeting while Brenda Jackson (right), Aboriginal Capacity Developer with Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle updated professionals on the Network’s Special Projects Supporting Aboriginals.
Network partner Board members and CEOs chart the Network’s future
(Above) Over 20 Board members and CEOs of Network partner organizations worked together to discuss priorities and set next steps in the Network’s ongoing development.
Did you miss the Symposium?
If you were not able to attend this year’s Symposium, you can still obtain some of the valuable information that was provided. Many of the information handouts from the workshops have been posted on the website. Please click here to view a list and print out copies

New F amily Resource Site Launched
Parents and family members touring the Symposium’s Information F air were the first to test drive the new F amily Resource Site, an interactive feature of the Network’s website. Developed by parents for parents, the Site is dedicated to giving families access to information and each other, all with the click of a mouse.

(Left) Marion F air and Lisa F enik and (right) Susie Recchi and Theresa Meininger-Sanders try out the new Site. F amilies can get information on a specific diagnosis, funding programs and local support groups, as well as share tips, knowledge and challenges with other families.
There are links to the new F amily Resource Site on the Network website Home page and on the Parents and Children’s page. To connect visit
Network Partners in the News!
The June issue Hospital News features a story about Network partners and the impact the ‘single plan of care’ approach is having on Markham junior kindergarten student Kiyaan Visram and his family. To read the article click here



• Transition to Single Plan of Care: 230 kids have started the process
• Recruitment: 90% of target reached; 76 additional professionals hired
• Electronic Record: 407 authorized users
• Single Plan of Care Process Training: 480 professionals trained
• 2 Resource Centres and 6 of 8 Local Team Sites Operational ( Barrie , Richmond Hill , Alliston, Midland , Georgina, Markham )
• Research Study: 87% of families needed are confirmed to participate

To learn more about Children’s Treatment Network visit

To submit news or information for inclusion in “Updated from Network Members” please email

Google alert
Table Talk

The Gazette

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A cooking holiday in the Townships
Chef Caroline McCann, an Eastern Townships caterer, has teamed up with Magog innkeeper Carole Daoust to offer two-day cooking holidays at Au Gîte de la Maison Hôte Bed and Breakfast in Magog. Guests arrive Sunday or Monday night and are taken shopping by McCann to producers' farms the following morning after a four-course breakfast. After lunch, they participate in a two-hour cooking class with McCann preparing parts of their three-course dinner. They then sit down to the meal at the inn; they may bring their own wine if desired. After Sept. 15, the cooking holiday will be offered on weekends. Up to eight guests are registered per session; the price starts at $250 per person, double occupancy.
McCann, a graduate of Montreal's Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec, has worked in restaurants in Montreal and Ontario and at Quebec House in New York. She runs the Chefadom catering company in Magog, where she specializes in regional produce. For information, visit and To reserve, call 866-507-0517.
Quebec honours cooking teacher
Elena Venditelli Faita, who has directed her own Italian cooking school in the heart of Little Italy for 15 years, was one of the recipients of the National Order of Quebec last week. Faita, a partner in her family's shop Quincaillerie Dante, also gives courses to autistic children, provides Christmas dinner to the homeless and raises money for community causes. She was awarded the medal by Premier Jean Charest in Quebec City last Wednesday.
Cheesemakers await verdicts
Quebec's annual cheese makers' contest, the Sélection Caseus, had a record 163 cheeses entered from more than 44 cheese makers. Winners from the list of finalists that was announced at the recent Warwick cheese festival, will be made known in the fall. The list, available at, includes "special mentions" for organic cheeses and products on the market for only five years. Beurrerie du Patrimoine is named in both categories for its old-style cottage cheese, and Fromagerie du Presbytere for its Bleu d'Elizabeth.
A comprehensive guide to enjoying Quebec cheeses has just appeared from the Société des fromages du Québec, in French only. Published by Promotus Gestocom, it's available for $12.95 at Renaud Bray stores or cheese shops or on the Internet from
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2008

From Nancy Morrison
From the Globe and Mail. If talking to your educators regarding this topic, please remember to explain to them that when this child was making disruptive noises, he was a non verbal ASD child trying to communicate something, IT WAS NOT A BEHAVIOURAL ISSUE. The media seems to have lost that in their coverage of this story.

Rules urged for calming autistic children with blanket
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
June 24, 2008 at 4:46 AM EDT
TORONTO — For an autistic child experiencing a sensory overload, a therapeutic blanket could be used to calm the youngster.
But the recent death of a nine-year-old Quebec boy, who suffocated after being rolled in the blanket, has raised questions about the standards around its use.
A coroner's report released last week showed that young Gabriel Poirier was acting up in class when his teacher placed the boy, who weighed 53 pounds, on his stomach and wrapped a 39-pound blanket tightly around him at least four times. Gabriel's head was covered and only the tips of his toes stuck out. When the teacher went to check on him 20 minutes later, the child's face was blue. He died in hospital the next day.
Therapeutic blankets, often stuffed with buckwheat or other seeds, have been used to relax autistic children. But there are no guidelines on the use of the blankets, or any scientific evidence about their benefits.
Quebec coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier said yesterday that although Gabriel's death on April 18 was tragic, the blanket should not necessarily be banned altogether. Instead, rules should be put in place governing the practice of this form of treatment. "Doctors or therapists must approve the use of the blanket before it is used," she said, stressing that a child or adult wrapped in the blanket should not be left unsupervised and their face should not be covered.
Gabriel was left alone in a corner of the classroom at his special-needs school in St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal. When the teacher saw he wasn't moving, he called the nurse and 911. But Gabriel was already in a coma.
In her report, the coroner said the therapeutic blanket should be used as therapy, not as a form of punishment.
Lynn Andrews, a spokeswoman for the Autism Society of Canada, said her association has been pushing for guidelines and hopes the coroner's report will urge regulators to act.
"We've been pushing for this. We need more guidelines on all therapies for autism, not just this one," Ms. Andrews said.
In the meantime, Jennifer Sexton, a board member at the British Columbia Society of Occupational Therapists and a pediatric occupational therapist, said that a therapeutic blanket is a piece of equipment and should be used only by a professional or a person trained in sensory integration.
"We have to have a good understanding of any child's body systems before we just use pieces of equipment," she said.
Claudia von Zweck, executive director of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, added that while the association hasn't developed guidelines on the therapeutic blanket, the group informs members of the latest research and standards so that they can implement them in their own practices.
However, Jean-Pierre Ménard, lawyer for Gabriel's parents, said he wants regulations on how restraints should be used in schools. "It was the first time to my knowledge that we have a death in the school system following the use of restraints. But with no regulation, the question is not could we have another one, but when will we have another one," he said.

And this was the article regarding this topic that went across Canada via newspapers;

Autistic boy likely suffocated: Que. coroner

Brett Bundale
Canwest News Service

Thursday, June 19, 2008

MONTREAL - A coroner's report released Thursday revealed a nine-year-old autistic boy likely died of suffocation, prompting the boy's parents to describe the news as a "shock" because the school told them he had passed away "naturally and calmly."
In the early afternoon of April 17, Gabriel Poirier began to disturb his classmates with loud noises. His teachers gave him two warnings to calm down. When he continued misbehaving, one of the teachers took him to the corner of the classroom and rolled him into a weighted blanket, which is sometimes used to calm autistic children.
With his arms by his side, the heavy blanket was tightly wrapped around Gabriel's small body at least four times, the coroner's report said. With only the "tip of his toes" peaking out, he was left on his stomach, his head covered, for more than 20 minutes.
Gabriel eventually stopped making noise. The teacher went to check on him, turning him onto his back. Gabriel appeared "listless and blue in the face," the coroner's report said.
The teacher called 911 and the school nurse performed CPR. The boy was already in a deep coma, however, and died the next day in hospital.
"He was a very gentle boy," Gilles Poirier, his father, said at a news conference Thursday. "Sometimes he was loud, but he was never aggressive or violent. I just don't understand how this happened," he said, tears streaming down his face. His wife, Isabelle Lepine, tried to comfort him as he cried.
"He was only 53 pounds (24 kg), he was so small," Poirier said. "How can they wrap him up like that in a 40 pound blanket? How can this treatment be tolerated?"
When used under the guidance of an occupational therapist, weighted blankets can be calming for autistic children, said Kathleen Provost, executive director of the Autism Society of Canada. "They have a therapeutic use and can be relaxing."
Many autistic children respond positively to sensory stimulation like touch, massage and weighted blankets. Occupational therapists have found that sensory stimulation is soothing and sometimes produces better results than the available medication.
Gabriel's school in St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal, specializes in teaching children with developmental difficulties.
Although teachers had received training and guidelines from occupational therapists about how to use weighted blankets, the rules were not followed the day Gabriel died, the coroner's report said.
The parents' lawyer, Jean-Pierre Menard, said the government needs to protect vulnerable children like Gabriel.
"We're asking (Education) Minister (Michelle) Courchesne to implement a legal framework to regulate how these children are handled," Menard said.
Gabriel's parents plan to sue the school board for compensation in the hopes of preventing another tragedy, Menard added.
© Montreal Gazette 2008


From the Toronto Star:

Autistic teen connects with peers on Bull Lake
June 23, 2008
Leslie Ferenc
Last July, Paula Warren sent a heart-warming letter to the Fresh Air Fund after her son returned from Camp Kennebec.
It turned out to be his best camp experience ever and Warren took the time to thank the fund for supporting Camp Kennebec and children with special needs like her now 15-year-old.
The camp on Bull Lake is geared to children with a variety of disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette syndrome as well as learning, social and behavioural difficulties.
Being at camp helps kids develop social skills, build self-esteem and confidence, while having a good time. Camp Kennebec joined the Fresh Air Fund family last summer.
Here's a grateful mother's thank you:
Saturday, July 14, 2007 4:08 p.m.
Today was a special day in my life. It was a day filled with laughter and tears of joy. Today was a day to meet new people who have made a difference in the life of a child.
Today was the day I picked up my son at Camp Kennebec!
My son Alex Ouimet was recently diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger's Disorder). I have been sending him to regular camp for seven years now. Each year I would pick him up there was this problem or that problem. It never seemed to be a truly happy feeling I left with. All that changed this year.
Alex was truly happy today. Happy in a way I have never witnessed in my son. As we talked, he expressed that in his life he has never had the opportunity to be with other children like him. What is a small noise to you or I causes a child with Asperger's actual pain. He was in a cabin with other children with Asperger's so when they would be getting upset he would know why.
It's quite a thing to finally meet someone you know how to connect with on that level. The staff was warm. The camp director was available to talk with and affirmed Alex's presence at the camp as positive... There were many other staff who really were there to make a difference and they did.
This is only the first day but I'm sure in the days to come I will continue to see the effects that this experience at Camp Kennebec has meant in my son's life.
I am truly grateful for the Fresh Air Fund as this played a great role in his ability to go to camp...
Thank You!
Paula Warren
If you have been touched by the Fresh Air Fund or have a story to tell, email or phone 416-869-4309.


Calgary Sun:

Friday, June 20, 2008 Canadian Press Newswire

Oil tycoon surprises University of Calgary with gift of $25 million
CALGARY _ Legendary oil tycoon Boone Pickens has cut a cheque for $27.25 million to the University of Calgary.
The Texas billionaire and former Calgarian had originally pledged $2.25 million to the Harley Hotchkiss Brain Institute.
But when it came time to present the money, Pickens added another $25 million.
The donation came at the ribbon cutting of the Boone Pickens Centre for Neurological Science and Advanced Technologies.
University president Harvey Weingarten assured Pickens the money will be well-invested and spent.
He said the university has assembled ''one of the most incredible groups of individuals in this field.''
''We could use a lot of surprises like this,'' added Weingarten.
The donation is the only philanthropy Pickens has conducted outside the U.S. and the oilpatch guru partly credited his friendship with Calgary Flames co-owner Harley Hotchkiss, who has also given generously to the university.
''I lived here in the '60s and Harley and I have been friends so when he asked me to help, I did,'' said Pickens.
''I have fond feelings about Calgary.''
The promise of that investment was apparent with researcher Michael Colicos implanting living brain cells onto computer chips to discover what makes them dysfunctional.
A benefactor of his work could be his own two-year-old daughter, Alexandra, who has epilepsy.
''There's obviously a double-edged sword ... it's a unique dynamic,'' said Colicos.
In his lab, scientists are able to induce seizures on a silicon chip and treat them in a variety of ways.
''We see the cells that are dying and we can work at ways of stopping them from dying,'' he said.
''We can look at thousands of drugs at the same time.''
The process is being commercialized and could help those suffering from conditions ranging from autism to spinal cord damage.
(Calgary Sun)
End of mailing

No comments: