I recently attended my…well, I don’t really know how many conferences on autism I have attended. Let’s just say, it’s a double digit number.
Anyway, I ventured down to Huntington Library in San Marino, California and attended the first day of the Profectum Conference (Honoring Individual Differences: The Gateway to Supporting Neurodiversity in Autism and Mental Health Treatment).
I didn’t attend any autism-related conferences last year, so I was eager to get back to one.
How was it?
First of all, I was invited by friends of ours to accompany them. I contacted my son’s regional center case worker and asked to be approved to registration to the conference.
A side note to all parents of kids who are clients of a California Regional Center – Your child’s regional center will pay to send parents to one autism-related conference per year. However, you must initiate them paying for it. They typically will not advertise that they do this. You have to ask them.
Anyway, I was glad to attend this conference with friends.
Second of all, I was also pleased to run into a few acquaintances. It was great to check in with folks that I hadn’t seen in a while.
And, finally, I was glad to spend a day immersing myself in topics related to autism and to hear the excellent speakers that this conference had booked.
What did I learn from the conference?
This conference focused more on the understanding of autism as it relates to the brain and the human biology and our responses within the environment than how to do floor time with your child or what is floor time or how to go to a regional center for an autism evaluation.
The topics during this conference were more specific to what happens in the brain of someone with autism and how does that affect their world. Of course, it did also delve into how facilitators, teachers, and parents do in response to autistic behaviors, and topics like that.
The speakers had very high levels of education and experiences, which is typical to these types of conferences, even though there were times when they were a bit too technical (in a medical sense) for me. I don’t have a PhD in medicine, but these speakers were aware of that and often spoke in laymen’s terms.
I did walk away with new insights on things like different physiological reactions of someone with autism to certain environmental stimuli, human beings have ancient behaviors embedded in us, and an interesting take on the facial expressions of someone with autism vs. someone neurotypical (specially the upper facial reactions/movements).
One important thought I walked away with was this one:
“Autism is not a measure of a disability, but of ability and accommodation.”
The speakers were interesting and diverse. One was a parent of a child with autism who later went on to becoming an OT. Another was a very experienced speaker who was making her debut at this conference. And, boy, was she great to listen to.
At the heart of what I took away from this one day was the combined experiences and knowledge of people who had put their lives into the world of autism. Studying it, testing strategies and theories, and endless hours of discussion on the subject of autism.
Lives dedicated to autism.
The stories I heard, the friends I met, and the whole atmosphere of community were well with it.
More on Kimberly Kaplan:
To purchase “Two Years Autism Blogs Featured on ModernMom.com”
or “A Parentsʼ Guide to Early Autism Intervention” visit Amazon (print or digital) or Smashwords
LinkedIn: Kimberly Kaplan