This was my first time. I am already thinking of what it's going to be like next year. And I know it will be just as incredible next year as it was this year.
For me this biggest deal and most stress was from not knowing where I was going and exactly how to get there. I have no sense of direction and I hate city driving. Particularly Chicago. I found my hotel, and it turns out when I got to the front desk, it was the wrong hotel. Go me.
Anyhow, I felt much better once I checked in (to the correct hotel), got all the stuff in my room and found the conference. I had a little bit of time to wander around before I went to my first presentation. I walked in at the tail-end of one of the presentations. I was sorry I missed it, because it looked good.
Before I talk about any of the presentations in specific, I want to make a few comments about the conference in general. I am socially awkward unless I know people. And in large groups, that awkwardness is exacerbated. Many of the people I saw at the conference were meeting up with people and already knew people who were there. I didn't, so I did feel kind of lonely at times. But, I wasn't really there to socialize, I was there to learn as much as possible.
My favorite things from the conference (excluding all of the excellent presentations where I was trying to learn things) were the keynotes. It felt amazing to be in room FULL of people who understood what it was like to have a child with autism. People who understood the impact of what we eat, people who understood how toxic and poisoned our world is and how important it is to change that - maybe not for everybody, but at least for your family. So inspiring and so exciting and so motivating.
I got to meet my TACA mentor in person, and she was just as nice there as she was on the phone. Very cool to see her.
I also had lunch with Buzzy's homeopathy practitioner. She was very cool and easy to talk to.
The rest of the time it was presentation after presentation after presentation. I ate every so often and I did get to see the vendors as well.
|Picture from Autism Furniture website.|
I wound up getting a pillow chair for everyone to use. You can find it here if you want to read more about it - Nesting Chair. It feels fabulous. It came with a pillow meant to be used as an ottoman and another two pillows. It's a brown suede-like material. Apparently brown is my favorite fabric/furniture color, because it matches well with our couch and the little chair I got Buzzy for Christmas. It was meant for the kids, but I am parked in it right now. It gives us an extra seat in the living room. I must say, it was one of my better purchases. I got a good deal on it, because I bought the floor model from the conference (and didn't have to pay shipping, because I drove it home with me). I had to put it in the back seat of my Camry, and I smashed it down pretty good. But, as I drove it kept expanding and by the time I got home I could barely see out of my rear windshield. Ha ha!
I will talk more about some of the things I learned in a later blog post. For now that's all I have in me.