Beginning this Wednesday, July 6, the Autism Society of America Foundation will hold its annual conference in Orlando, Florida. This will mark the organization’s 42nd conference and is one of the largest of its kind in the nation. The three-day event will feature approximately 100 exhibitors and up to 1,800 attendees converging from all around the country.
Among those in attendance will be Shonda Schilling, wife of former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as well as Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, stars of this year’s critically acclaimed autism documentary, Wretches & Jabberers.
We will be there and I’m looking forward to meeting the various family members, caregivers and professionals that are so passionately dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those affected by autism.
Attendees will be equipped with vital information and support, which include educational training, communication tools, biomedical info and early intervention help.
Aside from the training, perhaps the greatest component to these types of events is the ability to network and interact with other parents and caregivers who are also affected by autism spectrum disorders.
Caring for an individual with autism can often be a lonely and isolating experience and the opportunity to connect with others who are facing similar challenges is a great support resource and an important reminder that we’re not alone.
It’s no coincidence that our closest friends happen to be other parents with children on the autism spectrum. The instant bond that autism creates among others who are affected always seems to cut through any racial, social, economic, religious or political differences that may exist — one of the many silver linings that often accompany this disorder. The conference will be a great way to foster these types of relationships.
The ASA conference will be a family-event and provide respite care (via KiddieCorp), so parents are able to attend the conference with complete peace-of-mind.
If you will be attending and have the time, please stop by and say hi.
I’m looking forward to a great week ahead — see you in Orlando.