Team GR: The Autism Education Summit is a place where parents, caregivers and medical professionals can come together to learn, grow, and inspire. We asked Lisa Barli, one of our favorite Mommy Warriors, to tell us what she learned during the Autism Education Summit 2018.
Top 5 Mommy Warrior Takeaways from the Autism Education Summit
I’ve attended every Autism Education Summit along with dozens of other autism-focused conferences since 2005. I’ve always found professional autism conferences to be an important part of our family’s journey. They offer us the opportunity to learn more in one weekend than we will the rest of the year from reading research and articles. Our first conference also marked the end of feeling utterly alone on this journey. When our child was first diagnosed, it was as if we were trying to navigate our way through an unfamiliar and frightening room alone in the dark. Then, we attended our first conference; and suddenly there was light, a map, and others who understood how we felt because they were walking in the same uncomfortable shoes.
The Autism Education Summit this year was bigger than ever, in a beautiful and convenient location, and just as brilliant as always. I’ve been asked to jot down some of my takeaways from this year’s conference, so here I go.
How to End the Autism Epidemic with JB Handley
First, JB Handley gave a keynote address on day one of the conference to discuss his new book How to End the Autism Epidemic. This book is the most important thing to happen this year for our nation’s children and families. If you haven’t read it yet, go out and get yourself a copy TODAY! It is a beautifully written book that is also incredibly well cited. The evidence, data, science, and under oath testimony inside these pages are all profound even for veteran parents; profound enough that Robert Kennedy Jr. has given a copy of this book to every elected state official. You will likely want to give a copy of this book to every parent, grandparent, expectant parent, teacher, doctor, therapist, and lawyer you know and love; but certainly, give a copy to your elected officials and ask that they read it and consider it carefully while they work for you this term.
Second, everyone asks what was the most exciting new research and treatments that were presented. The presentation that I heard the most buzz about was Dr. Christopher Shade’s presentation on detoxification essentials. Dr. Shade does a great job of matching complex science with common sense. I’ve known for a long time that proper organ support (liver, kidney, etc.) and fiber or binding agents were important; but the research presented regarding the incorporation of bitters into these kinds of protocols was new and exciting information for me. Other topics that had a lot of buzz about them included VoxxLife Wellness Socks, products and protocols from BodyBio, testing and treatment for Lyme and other persistent infections, CBD options, and gut health. For those looking for additional information, the slides from Dr. Shade and several other presentations have been made available on the Autism Education Summit website.
Have a Healthy Mindset
Third, I wonder if everyone else says to themselves “Jenny McCarthy gets me” every time they hear her speak. This year, Jenny spoke about all the different treatment options available today for parents to investigate further; and then she spoke with author Annie Hopper to discuss neuroplasticity and the importance of energy and thought on illness and on healing. For me, this is perhaps the most important conversation any parent at the Autism Education Summit could have taken in. To me, this is the key to recovery. Yes, the science and actual treatment is critical as well; but all the science and treatment in the world has a difficult time overcoming energy and a mindset that’s prepared for failure instead of victory.
Treat the Person, Not the Disease
Fourth, at every conference there’s a quote that gives me goosebumps and sticks with me in my head and heart. This year that came during a presentation on persistent infections from Dr. Dornfeld when he said, “you have to treat the person who has a disease, not the disease a person has.”
I’ve always found individualized treatment to be incredibly important. Medicine should not be one size fits all; and I feel practitioners should always stay aware of the individualized needs of the person they are treating. This gets lost in western medicine every day; but perhaps never more so than for children and the patient who is literally lacking a voice. I’ve found it extremely important for parents and practitioners to remember to include the patient in the process. Explain to them what the doctor is doing (i.e. blood tests, treatment, etc.) and why. Encourage them to ask their own questions and voice their own concerns (what do they want help with, what hurts, what do they hope for?). I know that can sound foreign or even crazy to those with a pre-verbal child, but I promise you it’s important. It will not only help with compliance (for things like blood draws, diet changes, etc.), but it will also help with the child’s sense of hope and lessen the sense of fear. This ultimately helps with recovery as well as quality of life.
Feedback is Valued
Lastly, Generation Rescue really listens to parents and work incredibly hard to make sure that the needs of families are met. Every year, I’ve witnessed how they have made changes to the conference and its schedule based on parent and attendee feedback. Be sure to fill out that quick survey that they sent to your inbox and help them help your loved ones!