Aspergers Society of Ontario

Aspergers Society of Ontario

May 15, 2006 08:00 ET

Aspergers Society of Ontario Kicks off Annual Fundraising Campaign with 'The Frantics'

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 15, 2006) -

Fundraiser Commemorates 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Hans Asperger

The Aspergers Society of Ontario today announced the kick-off to its annual fundraising campaign. The Society has teamed with The Frantics for the June 6th opening of the comedy troupe's 12-day run of "Still a Disappointment to Their Parents" at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. A portion of the money raised from the sale of 200 tickets for the event will support the Society's fundraising initiatives. The fundraising tickets, which are $50 each and include a reception with The Frantics following the show, must be purchased in advance by calling 416-651-4037.

This fundraising event is also being held in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hans Asperger. As early as 1944 in Vienna, Hans Asperger wrote about the cluster of characteristics and pattern of behaviours seen in several young boys who exhibited mild autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. It was not until 1994 that Asperger Syndrome (AS), now recognized as an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), was first included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV).

"The Aspergers Society of Ontario is filling a crucial gap in supporting the complex needs of individuals diagnosed with AS," said Dr. Kevin Stoddart, Chair of the Aspergers Society of Ontario Board of Directors. "There is however, still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in establishing more extensive and wider reaching programs. We appreciate the in-kind gifts and donations we have received to date, and look forward to the continued support from the community as we strive to boost our fundraising target."

As a not-for-profit organization, the Aspergers Society of Ontario can only achieve its goals in effectively supporting the growing population of individuals diagnosed with AS, their families and professionals, through the continued generosity of donors and members. Current services provided by the Society include responding to the more than 150 requests for information received each month; providing regular education and training to families, professionals, schools and agencies regarding AS; facilitating child social interaction and parent groups in cooperation with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (www.camh.net); and organizing regular social groups for young adults with AS.

What is Asperger Syndrome?

Individuals with AS may exhibit a variety of characteristics, including marked deficiencies in social skills and difficulties with transitions. These individuals often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (such as body language) and often cannot understand unwritten social rules. Individuals with AS have sensitivities to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, and may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and are bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see.

By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and may exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naivete, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context or to effectively communicate specific needs.

Although AS can be first detected in childhood, many individuals are not diagnosed until well into adolescence or adulthood. Without diagnosis, support and intervention, children, adults and their families struggle to understand this puzzling profile of strengths and deficits.

About The Frantics

The Frantics (Paul Chato, Rick Green, Dan Redican and Peter Wildman) have one of the most rabid and loyal fan bases of any comedy troupe in North America. "Still a Disappointment to Their Parents will bring our trademark puree of insane ideas bizarre encounters and ridiculous concepts," explains Chato. "Plus a few songs."

The Frantics first stormed onto the stage in 1979. They went on to write and perform an award-winning CBC radio series and their own landmark television series, 4 on the Floor, where they created legendary skits and iconic Canadian figures like Mr. Canoehead. Their collective unbalanced minds continue to deliver scathing social and religious satire, and outrageous characters. Additional information is available at www.thefrantics.com.

About the Aspergers Society of Ontario

The Aspergers Society of Ontario was founded in 2000 by parents of children with AS and concerned professionals. It is the only agency in Ontario solely devoted to people with AS and their families. The Society's mission is to provide awareness, education, resources and support to individuals with Asperger Syndrome, their families, professionals and the general public, to enable individuals with AS to realize their potential as participating members of the community. Additional information is available at www.aspergers.ca.

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