On Wed June 4th my crew hosted a panel at the Colorado Department of Education’s Autism Conference. A huge thank you to Clara, John, Kyle, and Cassidy! These panel members shared their experiences, suggested ways to improve education for students with Autism, and responded to questions from the audience. They were graceful under pressure, poised, thoughtful, and honest. They were sometimes asked easy questions (how old were you when you were diagnosed) and sometimes asked impossible questions (what should teachers do about bullying). In all cases, the panel members were forthright, helpful, and responded to the best of their abilities! Well done!!
Their panel was later referenced by OTHER presenters as helpful, insightful, and necessary. Professionals approached me and asked me to relay to the panel their thanks and gratitude for their contribution. And a quick shout out to Mallory Griffith! Mal: we could not have done the panel without you. Thanks for running the pre-show conversation, calming jitters, prepping the slides, and bringing the computer!!
In addition to thanking my crew, thank you to the other presenters at the Autism Conference. Presenting can be stressful, which may tempt people to beg off. Every presentation I heard was helpful, filled with information, cross referenced each other, and seemed quite supportive. What a great opportunity to be surrounded by teachers (conference brought to you by the Colorado Department of Education!), parents, self-advocates, and other professionals. It was great to cross paths with folks I haven’t seen in years, and make a couple of new friends.
Finally, one presenter stated that her harshest critics were found within the autism community. Her story deeply saddened me. I’ve been reflecting all day about what might prompt someone to be critical of another person. I have no answer to that question. Her story was a good reminder to choose kindness, every day.