How inspiring, to meet a group of heroes in Salt Lake City. Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD,
the Founder and Chairman of US Autism & Asperger Association, and Theresa K. Wrangham
, a parent advocate,former president of the Autism Society of Colorado, member of the Advisory Board of USAAA, and just plain nice person, welcomed me to the conference with open arms, and made me feel welcome right from the start. This is unusual in an organization, this pervading feeling of welcome and openness, and I felt it when I walked into the conference.
This conference is a beautiful mix of parents, advocates and people with Autism, and the presentations were right on. I learned a lot about nutrition, that will help my family, and change some of the recommendations I make to families. I also saw the need to bring together all of the people across the country who believe in advocacy and respectful, developmental treatment and support. I met Kathleen Werr, of The Wild Idea, a parent advocate and a hands on creator, who is creating a cutting edge social “happening” for autistic adults in Washington State. (Happening is my word; Sorry Kathleen. That’s my 60’s sensibility sneaking in!) I met Jacquelynn Bradley, a parent advocate, and creator of a transition program in Utah, that matches all of the respectful, developmental standards we have been trying create in New York. They are just examples of the literally hundreds of folks I met who were all positive and assertive about what directions this world has to move in.
I was blown away by getting the chance to meet, and talk to, Patricia Lemer, MEd, NCC,
who has been doing and saying for 40 years a lot of what I thought I had invented! I am reading her book now, Envisioning A Bright Future
and it is so exciting to see the groundbreaking work she did to make it possible for folks like me to advocate for sensible developmental therapies, and for children playing rather than doing worksheets. She has begun a very exciting documentary project that I hope to play a part in, and I will talk more about that soon. Here is the link to Patricia’s organization, Developmental Delay Resources
. If this were your only resource, you could put together a top-notch, developmentally appropriate program!
I could write for quite a long time about this, but I just want to thank Larry and Theresa, and Jaqui and Chris Gauthier in particular, for the invitation. This conference, and these people, are changing the world for the better.