In my late teens and early 20’s, I remember the excitement as I bought tickets and planned to go to rock concerts with my friends. In my late 20’s and early 30’s the rock concerts were joined by work conferences in exotic locations with fantastic speakers. And then in my late 30’s all that changed when going to an autism conference sparked the same excitement as back when I was lining up for Bon Jovi.
I remember joking to a good friend, who was excited as me about flying to Sydney for 3 days to go to the Mindd conference “What has my life become?? Who would have thought 5 years ago that going to an autism conference was going to be the highlight of my year?”.
I think that the power of having like- minded people in a room together creates an energy that is truly special. Just like watching a live rock concert on TV is never the same as being there in person. Same is true for the autism events. You can watch as many webinars and live streams as you like sitting alone in your house with your laptop and you will never get the impact that you would have in a room with 500 others all sharing your journey.
The autism journey is a lonely one. Too often we are locked away in our own isolated situations, frantically googling and Facebooking but craving some true connection with others who “get it”.
We are incredibly lucky in Australia to have the Mindd Foundation International Forum right on our doorstep. Mindd gives us the opportunity to hear from world experts in the field of Children’s health, mental health, women’s health, Biomedicine and Nutrition. Mindd brings us the opportunity to see and trial hundreds of products and services endorsed by Biomedical doctors and naturopaths. And most of all Mindd gives us the chance to connect.
I have forged longtime friendships from people I met at Mindd conferences. Other motivated, passionate mums (and a few dads) who were all like me. They got it! We talked poo, we talked food, we wrote pages and pages of notes. We had coffee in the breaks, dinner and a few wines at night and we created the sort of support networks that are so crucial to keep you going. We laughed, We cried. We sat in rooms full of others just like us and we felt the energy, the hope and the possibilities. We were inspired, we inspired each other and we walked away knowing we had the support to implement all of these wonderful suggestions that would help our children.
I am a proud Mindd Ambassador and I implore you, if you can, get yourself to Sydney for 3 life-changing days in May. Invite your doctor, complementary health care providers, school and kindy mums to come along and be educated and empowered. I have been to every Mindd conference since their inception 11 years ago and each time I learn something new, I make new connections and I strengthen old connections. Some of my friends I only see physically once a year at Mindd. We arrive on the first day, we take our seats and immediately pick up where we left off. It’s priceless.
I’ll be there again this year and I would love to put a face to the many names I interact with from the other end of my laptop. Please come and say hi at the Biomedical Autism table. I’ll be there drinking broth and tea, sampling the goodies from the expo, learning, laughing, crying, hugging and filling myself up from my beautiful autism support network to keep me going for another year.