Let’s get packing!
It was just a few years ago that I started attending the AutismOne Conferences.
I was up to my ears in vaccine-induced autism. Our co-pays for my son’s therapies were high. I was dirt poor, often having to choose between bills and therapies the pediatricians or schools recommend for children like my son. I knew I needed more education on how my son’s diagnosis of autism affected him individually. I felt overwhelmed by the IEP process, fighting to get his needs met, and the emotional trauma of the grieving process I experienced after seeing my boy clearly regress into “autism.”
Every parent who saw what I saw experienced the same turmoil: the future of their beloved child would not be one of celebrations.
We were told by “experts” that our boy might never talk, be toilet trained, or have a productive life. Worse, we were virtually told that there was nothing we could do…that the prognosis was grim, lifelong, and forever. Our dreams were crushed. The kid we knew was gone. We were depressed to say the least. I was financially tapped and emotionally devastated.
Fortunately, and unlike the situation with so many other families, I have a supportive sibling. I called my brother because I knew he had sky miles. I asked if he could get me to the AutismOne Conference in Chicago so that I could learn how to better help my son. My brother so kindly arranged my flight, got me a hotel room, and helped with meals. He told me I needed to go and that I should arrange for childcare. I couldn’t afford registration, so I called AutismOne and was given a free pass.
I was gladly anticipating meeting Facebook friends there. Other educated parents are a fantastic resource for help. At the conference hotel, I settled into my room and headed across the courtyard to registration. I was like a fish out of water. I hadn’t been away from my children in years and felt socially inept. But it didn’t take long to realize that many parents were coming from the same place I was coming from.