Friday, June 18, 2010

Meeting my Hero

Today Brian and I went to an Autism Conference here in Oregon. It was put on by Future Horizons and the guest speaker was Temple Grandin. I have been looking forward to this for MONTHS.
It was such an amazing experience, that I must start at the beginning.

Back in January of this year I had a dear friend tell me I needed to google "Temple Grandin" She was an Autistic woman who became successful and that she thought I would really benefit from her. I kinda waved her off and told her that I was too "busy" to try and deal with researching one more thing that dealt with Autism. I was up to my eye brows in research from google and Charlie's therapist's that I honestly didn't need or want one more thing to read.

Ironically a couple days later one of Charlie's Therapist had mentioned this Temple character again. At that moment I thought to myself "I might as well have my whole head under water" and googled it.

I did not realize how much she would change my life. I read a little about her and then ordered almost all of her books. I still have 3 books of hers I still need to read, but life with an Autistic two year old you don't get much down time.

So when her books came in the mail, I read, and read and read. Temple showed me a side of Charlie that I never would have known. She taught me things that no other google search or therapist has yet taught me. Through her books, she taught me to connect to my little boy that I though I wouldn't ever be able to connect with.

So once I found out that she was going to be in town, I bought tickets. Fast forward to months of waiting. This morning I woke up at 5 AM, made the kids their breakfast muffins, and got ready to go. We had to leave the house by 6:30 to get there in time to check in, eat a little breakfast, and see what books and tools they where selling.

Fast forward- We are in the hotel, already checked in, I was feeling pretty nervous, and had high anxiety. I not only was going to meet my hero, but I was leaving m
y kids for one full day (YIKES!) So Brian and I where standing at the end of the book line, looking at some children's books that explain bullying, why Children on the spectrum are different when we heard an "Excuse me".

That's right folks, it was Temple Grandin herself!

All night I had been rehearsing my speech that I would say to her if I got to meet her, and it went a little something like this

"Dr. Grandin I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have helped me connect with my son that I thought would be lost forever, You have given me the courage and strength to take this journey with him, and you have give my family hope. Thank you so much"

Want to know what I did instead?

I cried.

Yep... like a baby. Talk about EMBARRASSING! I tried to regain composer, and when I turned around she was talking to other moms about their children, but just couldn't. Instead Brian and I went to our seats and ate our breakfast.

A short while later Dr. Grandin started her speech, she talked for about an hour and a half. It was so insightful. I took lots of notes, and hung on every word. Once it was break time I figured I had enough courage to speak to her, to say something, anything. So, I got in line. I was the last person in line to meet her, and again, nothing came out. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, that all I could say was "Thank You" as she signed my paper.

The next speaker was Paula Aquilla. Her speech was on Building Bridges through Sensory Integration. It was VERY interesting. A tid bit long, but so informative. Gave me more insights into why Charlie does this things he does. There was one more speaker after Mrs. Aquilla, Her name was Britt Collins. Ms. Collins talked about OT in school and the In's and outs.

The whole thing was just so completely overwhelming with information, that I am completely Exhausted. I now have new tools to use with Charlie and feel re-energized to get him on the right track again. Today was a total make over -sort to speak- for me. It gave me fresh ideas on how to teach Charlie, and set in stone the things we have been doing.

Here are some pics from the conference.

My lovely Breakfast

People waiting to see Dr. Grandin

Dr. Grandin Signing Books and Answering Questions

You can see the massive line. There was about 200 people attending.

Dr. Grandin

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