Thursday, May 29, 2003
  NBC Hosts Night of Too Many Stars, May 31st.

The Night of Too Many Stars comedy show was the highlight of the Autism Coalition's benefit event in February 2003 in New York City. This event raised over $1.5 million for autism research and education programs. During the May 31st NBC broadcast (8pm Eastern; check local listings), several public service announcements will air that educate viewers about autism and promote the Autism Coalition website and a toll free telephone number for viewers to support our cause and learn more about autism.

More information here
  SARS threatens to close China's only school for ABA training. 
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
  Court rules Ontario must fund boy's autism therapy


A 6-year-old central Ontario boy has won a court decision requiring the provincial government to continue funding his treatment for autism.

Andrew Lowrey of Orillia was diagnosed with the serious and disabling neurobehavioural syndrome when he was 4 years old.

The Ontario government funds intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) therapy for autistic children at a cost of about $50,000 per child per year. However, the funding ends when the child turns 6.

Andrew's parents, David and Maureen Lowrey, challenged the funding cut-off as age discriminatory and contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On April 11, 2003, Justice Arthur Gans of the Superior Court of Justice granted a temporary injunction compelling the government to continue funding the boy's therapy even though he had reached 6 years of age.

The injunction was to remain in place until Andrew's lawsuit was decided on its merits or until the judgments in similar cases were released later this year.

Justice George Lane dismissed the government's appeal of that decision today.

"Our family is ecstatic, overjoyed and relieved," David Lowrey said in a release.

"Many autistic children can be cured of autism, if they get IBI treatment early enough and long enough. Andrew was late entering IBI therapy, but his progress was truly exceptional and his prognosis is excellent."

"This is a great decision for Andrew, and for other autistic children," said Patrick Lassaline, one of several lawyers representing Andrew in his legal challenge.

This may be the last legal challenge for the boy, said the lawyer who argued Andrew's motion before Lane.

"Similar cases are currently being heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and decisions may be rendered later this year. The outcome in those cases will likely determine the law on a final basis, subject to any appeals," said Robert Durante.

"Although those decisions will impact Andrew's case, hopefully Andrew's IBI treatment will have run its intended therapeutic course by that time."

Thursday, May 22, 2003
  Damian's Birthday! 
Sunday, May 18, 2003
  Group protests Salisbury eatery
Supporters raise autism awareness after family says restaurant turned them away
By Ben Penserga
Daily Times Staff Writer


SALISBURY -- Collin Passon was surrounded by 50 of his supporters Saturday during a rally behind Zia's Pasteria -- the restaurant that reportedly refused to serve the 5-year-old autistic boy.

Richard and Leigh Ann Passon, Collin's parents, and members of the Autism Chapter of the Eastern Shore organized the protest near the Route 13 restaurant across from The Centre at Salisbury to promote autism awareness.

In a letter published May 10 in The Daily Times, Richard Passon wrote that he, his wife and their three children were asked to leave Zia's because Collin was making noises.

Zia's officials repeatedly have declined to comment about the incident.

Over the last few days, the Passon family has garnered support from various people and groups on the Lower Shore.

On Saturday, the group marched around the old Service Merchandise parking lot near Zia's, holding signs such as "We Love You Collin" and "Shame On You Zia's."

As the rally began, some of the children passed out leaflets about autism. One child held up a whiffle ball bat with a sign that read "Help Us Learn."

"It's going to be a very peaceful demonstration," said Michelle Baugess, a Cambridge resident. "It's just to make people aware of autism."

Though she did not know the Passons before the Zia's incident, Gretchen Nichols, who has an autistic child, said she felt she had to come out anyway.

"We're here to support the Passon family," she said.

Ernest Nichols, Gretchen's husband, said he also was upset by the incident.

"It's just ignorant," he said.

Yet, as cars rolled into the parking lot and people huddled for the protest, Saturday's mood was more of appreciation for the support rather than anger toward Zia's.

"Thank you so much," rally organizer Jennifer Horton said to the group. "We are so touched."

Leigh Ann Passon added: "I think this is amazing."

  MSNBC's Michael Savage mocks individuals suffering from autism. See Atrios, dKos and PLA for details. 
  New, follow-up study from UC-Davis and the MIND Institute released this week. Wampum and the Bloviator discuss. More discussion on the recent upsurge here and here
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