Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Autism Conference Notes and Action Plan

Leif and I were blessed to go to the US Autism and Aspergers Association World Conference. I wish that I could have written about what we learned sooner. But I haven't been writing much at all anywhere, so don't feel left out. It's just one of those times.

On our way to Kansas City to attend this conference Leif and I got a phone call that was incredibly upsetting. We learned that our close friends' daughter had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Liver and Lung Cancer. This little girl was one of few friends that Jakob has ever completely connected with and been able to keep a friendship with. If you have a child with Autism/Aspergers, you know what this one friendship means. She is a jewel in our family in many ways then even just this friendship. This news was very hard to take on. And it battled for attention throughout the conference. Leif and I have no doubt that we were meant to be together alone at this conference for more reasons then just to attend the seminars. We were meant to be able to process our shock and grief and comfort each other. We are so grateful for the time we had. We are also VERY grateful for the knowledge and ideas that we gained from the doctors and experts who taught us throughout the two days.

So with that prelude, I'll tell you about the conference. The conference was held in a beautiful Marriot hotel in Kansas City. We attended Friday and Saturday. The classes started at 8AM and ended at 5PM. So it was a lot of sitting and listening for a girl with ADD and a distracted weeping heart. Gratefully Leif was there to take notes better then me. As you can see from my notes I would have FAILED had mine been graded. But some how, some way, I was able to get a lot out of the conference and I was even able to relax a little and laugh. It was validating and re-energizing to be with so many people who walk the same journey we do as a family. It was also a conference filled with a lot of hope.

We came home with a plan for action. It mainly focuses on nutrition and a little on behavior. Leif mentioned that he was grateful that he attended the conference because he was able to learn more about how the boys' brains work and what causes their difficult symptoms. He feels more empathy for them now as well as understanding himself a little bit more. Leif and I couldn't attend this conference and not see ourselves at one time or another in what someone was lecturing about. I mean, just look at my notes. :) As a mother, I was reminded of how scary loud reprimanding can be for children on the spectrum and how harsh or abrupt movements (getting in their face) are terrifying for them. So as one of the speakers emphasized, I am going to work on choosing Kindness more. Just to be Kind and try to help my kids to be kind to each other as well.

There are two diets that we will most likely follow in the future. But we chose to take a few steps in another direction for a little while before making such a drastic lifestyle change. The diets are the Gluten and Dairy Free diets. We decided that when it came to food, we would work on helping our boys accept and eat a better variety of foods before going Anything-FREE.

And the few steps in a different direction that we will focus on is the supplements that were most commonly recommended throughout the conference by the doctors and experts. They are:

Nutritional Supplements:
Multivitamins (without Copper)
Omega 3 fatty acids
Lithium Orotate (this is the natural form of Lithium, a salt. It is Much less potent then the prescription form Lithium Carbonate.)

We purchased these supplements as soon as we returned home from the conference. I didn't expect to see any major results for maybe one month. But I am telling you, we have seen results! All we can figure is that one of these or all, have helped. Caleb came home from school this week and is finally able to read to us from his little school books.

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