Saturday, June 27, 2009
Way Beyond Awareness
Though I haven't had adequate time to organize my thoughts prior to writing a summary of the really great day we had at USD's Summer Autism Conference, I have to refer back to my write-ups of previous experiences there and arrive at the conclusion that only an inadequate summary is possible anyway. To actually grab a hold of and present to someone who was not in attendance the overall tone of this conference would be exceedingly difficult.
Fortunately, veteran Hub blogger Dad of Cameron (Do'C) has provided an excellent blow-by-blow of our 2-hour presentation, including links to some of the video and written media that we utilized in our presentation. Do'C also added a palpable energy to the presentation that would be sorely lacking without his contribution.
I couldn't be more pleased than to count Bev as among my friends and allies, as she is quite simply one of the most elucidating people on the subject of autism that I have had the pleasure to encounter. Bev gives of herself in many ways - far moreso than myself or Do'C - in terms of the personal commitment required to carry this all the way through. I respect that immensely, and I think anyone who has seen Bev's presentations would agree that there is something - a very nebulous, abstract something - that is pervasive during her presentation and that creates an intensity that is difficult to describe, but easy to buy into. I think the word I am looking for here is ... Honesty.
Two amazing people that I am proud to be associated with.
I want to extend a personal invitation to any new blog readers who may be visiting after seeing or meeting us at USD to shoot me an email or comment on this post if you would like any further information from our group beyond that which we talked about during the conference. Please also look at the archives or maybe some of the "Best of One Dad's Opinion" on the right sidebar if you are interested in other things I have written.
One SLT asked us during the panel presentation what resources may be available to get our message of dignity and respect to the group that she works with at her site, many of whom speak Spanish, Kumeyaay, or Filipino as their first language. I mentioned the Exceptional Family Resource Center as one possibility for a local resource, and so have included a link to their website (click the underlined words). I would take a personal interest in assisting the EFRC to archive and offer some of the resources that are available via the Autism Hub, if you choose to initiate this contact. Stephen Hinkle also mentioned Babelfish as a posible resource for such families. It also so happens that I am a passable Spanish speaker, and Do'C is quite fluent.
I'd also like to thank, once again, conference organizer Dr. Jodi Robledo (whoe husband and infant daughter were also diligently spreading sunshine all around the conference environs) and , of course, Dr. Anne Donnellan. Of Anne Donnellan I have often said before, she was "ND" before "ND" even knew itself existed.
Of the other presenters; among them Stephen Hinkle, Martha Leary, Nan Negri, Diana Pastora-Carson, Jacqui Thousand, and others - I simply can't say enough good things.
Thanks also to Steven Kapp for his contributions, and also to Daniel Lightfoot from Autism Speaks - a research scientist who wanted to - and I believe did! - learn some new things from the autism community that go far beyond cell behavior.
And to the teachers, administrators, SLTs, aide workers, and parents who took the time to attend the conference - thank you! I hope you benefitted from the time invested and that you will recommend others attend this great conference in the future.