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The Benefits of Attending Conferences

Submitted by lawilcox on Thu, 01/20/2011 - 10:25.

Over the past few months, I have been blessed to attend several conferences and workshops related to Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Asperger’s Syndrome. I’m always eager to learn more, meet new people and return home with a renewed sense of encouragement, stamina and hope.

Late last fall, I attended a tremendous event hosted by the NAA (National Autism Association). Holly Robinson Peete keynoted the conference and there were countless amazing speakers on hand to discuss treatment options for our kids. On Monday, I helped to organize a presentation and book signing with Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted, authors of THE AGE OF AUTISM. This week I am attending a local conference hosted by the FEAT-NT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment – North Texas).

Workshops at both events have been beneficial and motivational to me as a parent. While the NAA conference was focused on biomedical treatments for the most part (which we utilize for Ethan), the FEAT-NT event is more focused on mainstream therapies (think ABA and RDI) but also offers sessions related to effective biomedical interventions. Hearing THE AGE OF AUTISM authors speak about the connections they’ve made between Mercury exposure and Autism (and a variety of historical illnesses) was compelling and thought-provoking. (We utilize a multi-faceted treatment and therapy approach for Ethan, who actually tests high for Mercury, which weaves mainstream therapies together with alternative treatments; I couldn’t be happier with the results!)

When attending events like these, I cherish the opportunity to meet adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Yesterday at the FEAT-NT conference, a man (in his 50’s) living with Asperger’s Syndrome sat on a professional panel and answered questions about his life and experiences. It was supremely interesting to me that in recent years he has taken it upon himself to transition to a GFCF diet and actively fight a persistent Candida overgrowth. He shared that he feels the yeast started growing out-of-control when he was around the age of 6. (I was overwhelmingly encouraged and inspired by his willingness to take on a new treatment with such passion.) This smart man reminds me that it is never too late to implement new interventions and treatments that could be of great benefit to individuals living with ASD!

Walking away from these recent events with a lot of new contacts, I look forward to sharing some new blog interviews in the coming months. I hope to share information that will be beneficial to a variety of our readers in different ways. I’m always eager to learn about new therapies, treatments and interventions…how about you?


Leigh Attaway Wilcox is a writer and editor for the projectLD family of companies. Leigh is Assistant Editor of the internationally acclaimed AutismSpot.com and her work can be found on many of the pLDNetworks sites. Leigh is a guest blogger for the Dallas Morning News on the Dallas Moms Blog and is the author of ALL BETTER: A Touch-and-Heal Book published by Piggy Toes Press in 2007. Leigh lives in North Texas with her husband and young son who loves reading, LEGOs, Mario Bros. and also happens to live with Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder.