Is it an Autism Conference or a 3 Day Vacation?
I am so excited! I can’t figure out if I am excited to attend this year’s Autism Education Summit(AES) in Dallas, or if I am more excited about having 3 days with no kids!
When our son was first diagnosed with autism nearly 8 years ago, our world was rocked. Suddenly, the picturesque future we dreamt about was snatched from us in an instant. We began to wonder what form of a “normal life” we would be able to have.
For me, I wondered if I’d ever get to teach my son to play a sport, or if he ever would ever sit down and watch a football game with me? Ethan is 11 years old now, and I still have not given up hope that I will see him swing a baseball bat or dribble a basketball one day.
Running Low on Hope
I must admit though, there are times when hope begins to run low. My hope of seeing Ethan on the field turns to a hope that he will just keep his clothes on or into a desperate plea for him to just stop hitting himself. Sometimes, you feel disheartened and discouraged. Sometimes, it is really hard to shake that feeling of hopelessness.
Never fear, one thing a true warrior parent never runs out of is hope. My wife and I consider ourselves to be such warriors. We run exclusively on hope! We believe that autism is a medical condition, and there are ways to help these kids improve. We just have to find the right solution. We try anything and everything (within reason) to help Ethan feel better. When progress is slow however, we began to run on fumes. Every once in awhile, we need our tanks refilled.
The Autism Community
It doesn’t matter if autism affects 1 in 68 children. Sometimes, it feels like you are the only family going through it, but, hope is only a few clicks away. Social networking sites make it possible for us isolated parents to connect. Through sites like Facebook, we help one another. We listen to our fellow warriors and vent to them. We offer guidance and advice. We inspire each other. We have become part of a strong online community filled with like-minded parents all of whom support our family through this journey. In the process, we met fantastic people and built great friendships with people we’ve never even met.
We are lucky! The grandparents are excited to watch the kids as we make the 10 hour drive to Dallas. We’ll finally get to meet some of our best friends in person, and I’ll get to meet some of my new blog followers as well. (which i’m really stoked about)
We get to learn about the latest autism research. We get to be inspired by stories of healing from doctors on the front lines. All while being surrounded by a few hundred of our closest friends!!!
What am I looking forward to most this year?
This year will be our 4th AES, and it’s going to be a big one. I’m quite excited to hear Dr. Josh Axe give the medical keynote on Ancient Medicine, and I’m also looking forward to hearing Robert Kennedy Jr. speak.
However, what makes this year extra special for me is I will be one of the speakers. It’s crazy to think little ole me will be up on stage. What’s even more insane is who I’ll be sharing the stage with. I’ll be part of a Dad’s panel featuring a former NFL football player, a doctor/author, and an advocate/author. Then, there will be me.
Register for the Autism Education Summit and come see us Dads.
Enter coupon code : imsimplyadad to get $20 off!
I’m not an author, doctor, and at 5 foot 5, I’m certainly no professional athlete. I’m Simply A Dad, but hey, that’s okay. That’s what the panel is all about: “Fatherhood and Family Life”.
Much to Share
If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s being a Dad, so I guess that’s what makes me a good fit. My wife and I have been together for 20 years and that’s no small feat in the autism world. Despite “only being a Dad” I feel like I do have much to share on this subject, and I am really excited for this opportunity! (and a little nervous…okay okay I’m scared to death 🙂
Check out the story behind how this came to be and how it’s all my wife’s fault.
Sleep is Good Too
A good, peaceful night’s sleep without kids interrupting or waking up at 4am will be nice too. Although, who am I kidding? There’s no way I’m sleeping the night before the Dad’s panel, but hey Friday night I should be out like a light right???
Fill ‘er up
We expect to learn even more this year and meet new parents and continue to spread the message of hope. At the end of the weekend, Heather and I will be well-rested, inspired, informed, and our tanks will once again be full of hope! In fact, I suspect they will be overflowing!