Connections Center

Connections Center

August 09, 2005 08:05 ET

Treating Autism 'Epidemic' to Be Focus of Toronto Workshop

TORONTO, Ontario--(CCNMatthews - Aug 9, 2005) -

As discussion continues regarding the dramatic increase in autism cases throughout Ontario, Dr. Steve Gutstein, will come to Toronto for a comprehensive two-day workshop delving into the latest research findings and treatment advances. An internationally recognized innovator in the field of autism spectrum disorders, Gutstein's discussion will focus on the Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI) program Gutstein developed.

The workshop, scheduled for September 7th and 8th, is intended for family members, professionals, researchers and educators who work with people on the autism spectrum. The workshop will include the following:

-- How modifying communication style can dramatically change the way a person on the autism spectrum relates to others;

-- The importance of guiding and pacing, creating an experience-sharing communication environment and capturing episodic memories; and

-- What motivates people on the autistic spectrum to develop relationships.

The RDI program represents a new generation of autism treatment through which Gutstein has worked to translate research findings into a systematic clinical approach to address the core problems faced by all individuals on the autism spectrum. It is different than "first generation" intervention programs because it is geared toward remediation. A primary assumption of the RDI program is that families can increase the flexibility and complexity of neural pathways of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

"Modern neurological research has highlighted the incredible plasticity of the human brain regardless of age," said Gutstein, co-director of The Connections Center. "We have found that we can successfully change the brain pathways of people with ASD in order to foster loving relationships and enhance their quality of life."

The prevalence of autism and associated disorders has sharply risen in recent years, with some education and medical professionals describing the rise as an epidemic. Autism Society Ontario estimates that more than 20,000 people in Ontario today have autism or some form of ASD. Some, including Gutstein, believe the rise is at least partly due to a loosening of the criteria used to diagnose autism as well as misclassification of autistic children as mentally retarded in the past.

The 2-day workshop runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sept. 7 and 8, 2005. It will take place at the Mississauga Convention Center, 75 Derry Road West in Mississauga, Ontario. The cost is $225 USD until July 22, $250 until August 19 and $275 after that. Online registration is available at or by calling 713-838-1362.

About Connections Center

Established in 1995, the Connections Center for Family and Personal Development, based in Houston, is a multi-disciplinary program to develop innovative evaluation and intervention programs for people with relationship disorders. Led by Drs. Steve Gutstein and Rachelle K. Sheely, the Connections Center staff provides a full range of evaluation and treatment services, including RDI. They provide education and training to families and professionals worldwide. More information is available at

Contact Information

  • DPK Public Relations, Houston
    Dan Keeney, 832-467-2904
    Cell: 713-417-1498