Tuesday, August 20, 2013

USAAA Conference Recap

Last weekend I spent working at the USAAA Conference in Salt Lake City on behalf of New Beginnings Nutritionals. That is what I do, attend conferences and talk to parents about Autism recovery and specifically supplements, which were instrumental in my son's improvement. Each time I am brought to tears. Newly diagnosed parents, parents who have never heard of supplements or biomed, parents desperate to help their children (some already adults!). Hearing the stories, either understanding because I have "been there" with that particular issue - regression due to vaccines, destructive, self-injurious behaviors, no pain sensation, food cravings due to gut dysbiosis - or maybe it is hearing their story which is very different than mine, they hit home. This time I got to meet many adults with Autism and it was incredible! I love getting a look into their opinions, ideas and the way they see life. I even got to hear Dr. Temple Grandin speak, meet her and speak with her personally. Talk about an amazing opportunity!!! It was just so crazy. Her keynote speech is one I will not soon forget. She focused a lot on basic skills (that quite frankly as a whole our society is NOT teaching even neurotypical children which is awful!) like shaking a person's hand when meeting them, saying hello, please and thank you. She also spoke about little tips and tricks to help them learn. Like did you know that writing on pastel or lightly colored paper can be easier for children with Autism? She covered things like cooking to help learn math and fractions. They need hands on learning many times. They cannot stand fluorescent lighting. She had some pearls of wisdom:

"Boys who cry keep their jobs, boys that get angry go to jail" - true and a good thing to learn early! We can have our emotions but the way we express them is important.

"Most of Silicon Valley is on the spectrum!" - I have often thought that myself, how else could we have achieved so much brilliance and advanced technology?? ;)

She talked of building on these kids' strengths and those strengths begin to emerge around 3rd and 4th grades. She thinks with "movies in her head" and has a hard time with generalized thinking. She thinks in specifics using the items she has seen personally for reference. She has trouble in math - my son can relate. She says that many times visual processing is an issue and to ask children if the letters jiggle on the page - my son said his did not.

Of course she covered sensory issues, of which my son has struggled with and continues to do so to a point today. He is also an auditory thinker. She made a cute statement "How can I think if my lips don't move". I do think my son feels that same way. She emphasized increasing social interactions through shared interests like Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts, 4-H, school clubs. She spoke about the job shortages in skilled trades and in computers/electrical engineers as potential careers. Beyond it all, she was in absolute inspiration to hear, see and meet! She has accomplished so much in her life and has never let Autism stand in the way of achieving. It is what all parents of a child with Autism wish for their child. A life filled with their passions realized and happy with who they are.

Then on Sunday I got to present a session with Julie Matthews on how to get supplements into your child using fun and creative ways! Our talk was not on problem feeders and we made it clear that hiding supplements in foods is NOT a good idea! But, if your child KNOWS they need the supplements, knows you are giving them but you are looking for more palatable ways to get them in, then this class was for you! What a great time we had, showing parents they can make supplement taking fun and yummy too! We talked a lot about the power of nutrition, how diet is truly your foundation and then the supplements "fill in the gaps". We even covered some supplements that treat specific things. We gave a demonstration on making a nutrition filled smoothie with the Spectrum Mate multi-vitamin/multi-mineral. It was a hit! It was an incredible time helping families begin to understand the power of HOPE and healing that can come when you embark on biomed! It was an exhausting weekend and now right back into the swing of things since tomorrow is the first day of school for my children. I hope your summer has been one to remember, and in the good way! ;)

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