Autism Speaks Canada Announces Their Annual Fundraising Walk Comes to Toronto
TORONTO, May 31, 2017 /CNW/ - Autism Speaks Canada, part of North America's largest autism science organization, announced that Toronto's Autism Speaks Canada Walk will take place at Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday, June 4. Registration opens at 8:30 with the Walk taking place at 10:45 am.
The Autism Speaks Canada Walk events are the signature fundraising events for Autism Speaks Canada. Since they began, they have raised over $11.7 million in support of autism research, services, awareness and collaboration. Powered by Love, the Walk brings individuals and families, friends, coworkers and communities together to support and connect with one another. Walkers are encouraged to raise funds and enjoy the day, complete with family-fun activities, quiet zone, resource fair and walk. All participants who raise $150 or more qualify for a commemorative 2017 T-shirt.
"Thanks to the tremendous community support and the work of our volunteers, our Autism Speaks Canada Walks continue to provide funding to impact the lives of individuals and families living with autism," said Jill Farber, Executive Director.
"We are also grateful for the dedication of Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us Canada. Their exemplary support of our Autism Speaks Canada Walk program, in-store fundraising and awareness campaigns such as the Sensory Friendly Shopping event have played a pivotal role in helping us enhance the lives of people with autism. We couldn't ask for a better partner," said Jill.
Thank you to Cineplex and our local sponsors EllisDon, Oracle RMS and CTV.
Register and fundraise for an Autism Speaks Canada Walk today at www.ASCWalk.ca or contact Susan Smart firstname.lastname@example.org or 416 362 6227 x 211.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children is on the autism spectrum.
About Autism Speaks Canada
Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this by supporting and working alongside the autism community; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. We empower people with autism and their families with resources, online tools and information covering the life span. To find resources, join a fundraising walk or make a donation, go to www.autismspeaks.ca
About Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"us
Toys"R"Us (Canada) Ltd. and Babies"R"Us are part of Toys"R"Us, Inc., the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Toys"R"Us, Canada operates 82 full-sized stores across the country. For store locations and convenient online shopping visit www.toysrus.ca and www.babiesrus.ca.
Follow Toys"R"Us, Canada on Facebook (Facebook.com/ToysRUsCanada), Twitter (@ToysRUsCanada) and Instagram (@ToysRUsCanada)
SOURCE Autism Speaks Canada
New Study Confirms That
Mercury Is Linked to Autism
Researchers found strong relationship between mercury toxicity levels and autism severity.
By Robert. F. Kennedy, Jr.
Two new studies by international teams, including Egyptian scientists, have validated the link between autism and mercury.
In an article published in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease, a team of nine scientists from leading Egyptian universities and medical schools confirmed the causal role of mercury in the onset of autism.
The scientists determined the extent of mercury poisoning in children by measuring urinary excretion of organic compounds called porphyrins, which act as biomarkers for mercury toxicity. The researchers also measured blood levels of mercury and lead. The researchers found a strong relationship between mercury toxicity and the presence of autism and a direct correlation between levels of mercury toxicity and the severity of autism symptoms.
The scientists studied 100 children; 40 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 40 healthy individuals and 20 healthy siblings of ASD children. The results showed that the children with ASD had significantly higher mercury levels than healthy children and healthy siblings. Children with the highest mercury levels had the most severe autism symptoms.
At least six American studies have linked autism presence or severity to mercury exposure as determined by measuring urinary porphyrins. The first study, completed by Heyer et al. in 2012 (Autism Res 5:84) showed a correlation between the presence of autism and specific urinary porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity. This affirmed an earlier study by Kern et al. (2011, Pediatr Int 53:147) where specific porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity were significantly higher in ASD children as compared to non-autistic controls. Woods et al. (2010, Environ Health Perspect 118:1450) also saw disordered porphyrin metabolism in autistic kids which was not observed in non-autistic control children. This again suggested increased mercury toxicity associated with autism and autism spectrum disorder.
Autism severity has also been correlated to levels of specific porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity. Kern et al. in 2010 (Biometals 23:1043) showed a strong relationship between the level of autism severity as measured by the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) instrument and the amount of urinary porphyrins observed in ASD children. Geier et al. (2009, J Toxicol Environ Health A 72:1585) also correlated urinary porphyrins to autism severity in a blind study using the childhood autism rating scale (CARS). This study was further elucidated by Geier et al. (2009, J Neurol Sci 15:280) where children with severe autism showed significantly higher urinary porphyrins associated with mercury toxicity as compared to those children with mild autism and non-autistic controls. Other biomarkers measured in this study correlating mercury toxicity with autism severity include the presence of glutathione, cysteine and sulfate metabolites in plasma.
In a second study, by Mostafa et al., published in Metabolic Brain Disease in June 2016, an international team of Egyptian, Norwegian, Saudi Arabian and Chilean physicians and scientists used a different set of measurement protocols to find a direct correlation between mercury levels and autism diagnosis. The reasearchers measured levels of neurokinin A and B - pro-inflammatory neuro peptides that indicate the presence of mercury in the blood – in 84 children with ASD and 84 controls. The results showed a positive linear relationship between mercury levels and the severity of autism symptoms.
Many of the mothers of children in the first 2016 Egyptian study (Khaled et al.)had multiple dental amalgams which may have contributed to the children's body levels of mercury. The study does not examine the potential link between autism and the vaccine preservative, thimerosal, which is 50 percent ethyl mercury by weight. However, other studies indicate that the ethyl mercury in thimerosal is 50 times as toxic to human tissue as the methylmercury in amalgams and fish (Guzzi et al. 2012, Interdiscipl Toxicol 5:159) and at least twice as persistent in the brain (Burbacher et al. 2005, Environ Health Perspect 113:1015).
The 2016 Metabolic Brain Disease studies are only the latest in a series of important studies by leading Egyptian doctors and scientists linking mercury exposure to autism. A September 2015 paper published in Behavioral Neurology (Mohamed et al. 2015, PMID 26508811) by a group of researchers from the faculty of Cairo's Ain Shams University and the National Institute of Standards studied 100 autistic children and 100 healthy children. The researchers found significantly high levels of mercury, lead and aluminum in the autistic children (probably from maternal fish consumptions, living near gas stations and usage of aluminum paints) and concluded that "environmental exposure to these toxic metals at key times in development may play a causal role in autism."
A November 2014 study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology (38:1016) by Heba Yassa of the Assuit University Medical School's Department of Forensic Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, looked at 45 children with autism and 45 controls. Using blood and hair samples, Dr. Yassa also found high levels of lead and mercury among the children with autism and not the controls. Using dimercaptosuccinic acid or DMSA as a chelating agent, Dr. Yassa was able to reduce blood mercury and lead levels in the autistic children. His study documents significant declines in autism symptoms with the decrease of metals in the children's blood. The study's concluded: "Lead and mercury are considered as one of the main causes of autism. Environmental exposure as well as genetic inability of certain individuals to excrete metals is responsible for the high levels of heavy metals. Detoxification by chelating agents had a great role in improving those kids."
Dr. Yassa's study duplicated the results of numerous previous peer-reviewed papers and case studies. For example, Blaucok-Busch et al. 2012 Maedica 7:214 and Adams et al. 2009 BMC Clinical Pharmacol 9:17 documents improvements in autism symptoms and even loss of the autism diagnosis following mercury chelation.
Dr. Yassa's 2014 study supported earlier findings by a team of German and Egyptian government and university medical school scientists, which reported in a 2012 study published in Maedica, a Journal of Clinical Medicine (Blaucok-Busch et al. 7:214). The scientists studied the efficacy of DMSA chelation therapy in a sample of Arab children with autism spectrum disorder. That study found that oral DMSA chelation in 44 children with autism ages 3 to 9 reduced body burden of three metals—sodium, mercury and lead—and that detoxification reduced their behavioral effects and neurological symptoms of autism.
These 2014 and 2012 Egyptian studies supported the findings of several other publications and case studies, suggesting that heavy metal chelation has a measurable therapeutic effect on autism. Other studies have reported significant improvement in the symptoms of autistic children following treatment with chelating drugs that remove metals from the body. In a 2002 study, 10 patients with autism were treated with a chelating agent. All but two of the patients showed improvement in their ATEC scores (Lonsdale et al., Neuro Endocrinol Lett 2002, 23:303). A study in 2003 by Jeff Bradstreet compared mercury excretion after three day treatment using the chelating agent, DMSA, and found that children with autism excreted three times the amount of mercury in their urine as the non-autistic control group (Bradstreet, et al., J Am Phys Surg 2003, 8:76).
These are only a sampling of the groundbreaking studies by Egyptian scientists, doctors and researchers on the etiology of autism. Impressive Egyptian studies beg a host of questions for public health officials and American citizens. Most prominently: why can a chaotic society in a war torn and relatively impoverished nation produce high quality science on the etiology and successful treatments of autism while the science on the environmental triggers of autism in the U.S. is stagnant despite the National Institutes of Health spending more than $1 billion on autism research since 2010?
The coming holiday season is a joy
ful time of year that brings together families and friends. However, it can also be quite stressful – especially for those who have a child with autism.
With that in mind, FirstPath Autism http://www.firstpathautism.com would like to offer up tips to help handle everything from holiday party meltdowns to stress that can arise from schedule changes and holiday travels. While compiled for those with an autistic child in their lives, many of the tips work just as well for all families.
SCHEDULE CHANGES AND TRAVEL
1. Prepare for changes in home and school routines.
The holidays mean that your family’s usual routine shifts, and that causes disruption for everyone, including your child. Much as children may look forward to the season of celebrations, they may not understand that it involves trade-offs too. For example, having a holiday pageant at school may mean that their favorite art class is cancelled for the day. Be sure to discuss these changes with your child ahead of time. Your child may not infer that the pageant means that art class won’t happen as usual.
2. Assess sugar impact and decide what’s reasonable.
The holidays often mean different foods and lots of seasonal treats. Find a balance between prudence and fun. Unless food allergies or confirmed intolerances are involved, consider allowing your child space to eat some special-occasion treats. Popcorn, cinnamon-baked apples, and trail mix are perennial winter favorites for kids who need to avoid certain food products or additives.
3. Be mindful of sensory issues.
The holidays mean plenty of flashing lights, decorations, and music. Festive celebration can be challenging for individuals with autism and sensory processing disorder. Consider having your child help you either pick out decorations for the house or have him/her help you with decorating and preparing.
4. Ease into traveling and change.
If you will be traveling to see family and friends, prepare your child for what the experience will be like. To help ease your child into the trip, you may want to bring along any special foods needed and a favorite object. If you’re flying, check with the TSA regarding any rules that may apply and consider reaching out to the airline in advance. Let them know you’ll be traveling with a child with autism and include any special information that might be helpful.
5. If the traditions don’t fit, make your own!
Most of us start thinking in terms of tradition when the holidays approach. Given this, it’s easy to get caught up in how things are “supposed” to be. Holidays can include baking cookies, making gingerbread houses, and/or gathering with families and friends. But what if your child refuses to bake, is terrified of carollers, or wants to go to bed early? Remember that, as a parent, you get to do what works for you and your family. In this time of joy and closeness, go easy on yourself by letting go of comparisons, shoulds, and “What will the extended family think?” Embrace the reality of your own household, and most of all, have fun!
HOLIDAY PARTY MELTDOWNS
Picture this: You and your family have made it to your favorite annual party. Everyone’s having a great time … that is, until your child with autism gets completely overwhelmed by the festivities.
You tried to redirect her attention, but it didn’t work.
What’s your next move?
Meltdown Prevention 101
Our initial recommendation is that you do what you can to prevent a meltdown prior to its inception. Remember that behavior is learned, and that what you model during calm moments will influence what happens during stressful ones.
If you take time to teach your child appropriate self-management strategies, he or she will have a much better chance of maintaining their emotional control in difficult situations.
For example, you can:
• Remind your child of the appropriate behavior and associated reward
• Employ social stories and role-playing exercises to educate about appropriate behavior
• Prompt the identification and verbal expression of feeling states
• Review deep breathing techniques
• Use adaptive equipment to provide calming pressure or lessen the experience of sensory overload
Child psychologist Lauren Elder, Autism Speaks assistant director for dissemination science, speaks to this question in Parents of Child with Autism Seeking Help Handling Public Meltdowns. https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2013/12/20/parents-child-autism-seek-help-handling-public-meltdownsElder suggests the following essential steps:
1. Stay calm
This might seem obvious to you now, but in the chaotic moments surrounding a meltdown, it won’t seem so clear-cut. When your child is struggling, it’s easy to get swept away by frustration and panic, but the calmer you can remain in the crisis, the more effective you’ll be at helping your child. Take a moment to breathe and regain a sense of calm within yourself …. Your reaction is so important. You have the power to escalate or de-escalate the situation with your words, body language, and overall approach.
2. Stop and help your child
This might seem self-evident, but parents often try to manage their child’s behavior while simultaneously working, eating, or conversing with other people? Some such parental juggling is inevitable, and even the best parents need to divide their attention at times. However, make sure that you don’t do this during a meltdown. If your child is truly out of control, you need to be fully present and attentive to what’s happening around you. Otherwise, their physical and emotional well-being is put at risk.
However, giving your full attention doesn’t mean lecturing, bargaining, or disciplining. If your child is having a true meltdown, she is in a panicked, fight-or-flight state. As such, she won’t be able to engage in new learning.
In addition, be sure not to give in to any request or demand that directly preceded the meltdown. Doing so reinforces the idea that meltdowns yield positive results, and that’s not what you want to teach!
Rather than shouting, correcting, or rewarding negative behavior, simply prioritize safety. You can work on teaching once your child has regained equilibrium.
You can also reduce stimulation levels. This may mean a quick move to a quieter, more private space. If that’s not a possibility, you can stay put and lower lights, block excess noise, and disperse a crowd if one has gathered. Which brings us to our final point …
3. Tell bystanders what you need them to do
One of the most difficult elements of a public meltdown is … the public. Even if you’re at a party where the guests know and love your child, it’s still stressful to have him melt down. That said, you can take this potential frustration and turn it around. If you’re concerned about communicating with bystanders, try talking to friends and family members ahead of time about what to expect should your child lose control.
You might consider carrying cards to hand to strangers if it helps to explain the situation. But if you’re surrounded by close friends and family, it may be easier to simply plan ahead and ask for what you need (be it space or support) in advance.
Finally, after a meltdown ends, make sure to take time to recuperate before re-entering the party. You both need to take pause and rest before getting back on your feet.
Want more guidance on this topic? These 10 Tips for Managing a Meltdown, with specific guidance from Amalie D. Holly, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst on the FirstPath Autism team can help further. http://info.firstpathautism.com/meltdown-guide-parents
Tips courtesy of FirstPath Autism:
FirstPath Autism is an organization dedicated to the education, training, and awareness of evidence-based autism treatment developed by the Founder, Romina Kiryakous at the Genesis Behavior Center in Turlock, CA. The treatment practiced at Genesis is based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the most widely covered treatment for autism by insurance companies. In 2015, Kiryakous developed FirstPath Autism, a personalized online education, support, and training program dedicated to the parents and caregivers of children with autism. The goal of FirstPath Autism is to offer an autism lifeline to parents and to help care givers better serve children with autism.