The Spectrum Mum's Experience at the AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference

I have been to many international autism conferences, but the AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference is by far the best one I’ve been to worldwide. The moment I arrived at the conference, I felt so welcomed, like I was coming home to a family reunion rather than my first time at AO. I was so impressed with the conference that I started saving up for the  AutismOne/Generation Rescue Conference 2012 the moment I got home. I even pre-registered for the conference and all the events as soon as I could, even though I wasn’t sure then if I could afford the trip. Because I knew, this year’s conference is going to be even better. As a friend said, she’s getting a bucket to save the money to go next year. I too have a very big bucket to fill, for Chicago is a long way from Kuala Lumpur.

People are amazed that I would travel halfway around the world to attend the conference. But honestly, the 27-hour flight is no big deal to me. Living with Autism is waaayy harder. The amount of knowledge I learnt and the amazing people I met there made it all worthwhile. This is the biggest autism conference worldwide with hundreds of lectures to choose from, what better place to learn and meet people as dedicated to recovering their children as you are? The flight, 13-hour time difference, insane jet lag and the unbelievable changes to my body rhythm did mess me up. I was sustained by coffee and little cups of yummy GFCF freebie food samples up and down the corridors whilst running to the next lecture. I kept wondering when I was going to crash and burn, yet my guardian angels kept watch over me. My days were filled with hope, affirmation and friendships. But at night I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep. How I ever managed to get to all the lectures and still sound sane and coherent during a conversation astounds me.

I missed my daughters but I knew they were safe and happy at home. I am blessed with a supportive husband and parents who took good care of Mei and Min Min while I was away. Without them I would never have been able to attend it. Prior to leaving, I was busy preparing supplement schedules, daily menus, emergency phone numbers and the many preparation required before leaving the girls for such a long time. Thus I packed my suitcase an hour before I left for the airport, not a good idea. I ended up with an odd assortment of mismatched clothes, 5 pairs of shoes, 4 handbags, 3 pairs of panties, 2 ball gowns, 1 frilly nightie and no bra! Luckily, there were a few shops near the conference hotel, phew!

Every single day was amazing, the lectures were eye-opening, at times I felt overwhelmed by the information overload. But I kept pushing myself to keep going, not wanting to miss a single precious minute of this amazing conference.

Some of my highlights at the conference;

I met so many inspiring individuals. Jenny McCarthy was filled with vitality, positive energy and even more luminous in life. She was wearing killer platform heels and I was in ballerina flats. Jenny had to crouch waaaayyy down for the photo hahaha! When I told her I came from Malaysia, she yelled, “Get out!!”

After 3 years of meeting Dr Andrew Wakefield at various conferences all over the world, I finally managed to get a photo taken with him. He gave me some sage advice in Hong Kong, which led us to some wonderful breakthroughs with Min Min. For that I will forever be grateful. Btw, Hubby is wondering how long I’ll use that photo on my FB profile….(sorry honey, I’m not ready to take it down just yet:-)

I volunteered at the Generation Rescue’s Lounge, a great way to help out and make even more friends. I even had a foot massage there, much needed after a long day.

I attended the Rescue Our Angels Cocktail Party & Silent Auction and met some lovely people especially the incredibly wonderful Tim Welsh aka Tanner’s Dad. A gentleman in every sense of the word. He has a name y’all…..

The Gala Night was full of joyful moments. It was a chance to dress up and feel glamorous. I sat with the best bunch of people ever including Tex, Goddess, The Count, Blaze, Sunshine and LuvBug. People I am privileged to call my friends and co-founders of The Thinking Moms’ Revolution.  

I made out like a bandit at the Silent Auction, there were so many amazing goodies to choose from. I won the Book of the Year Collection! Though I have 5 of the 7 books already on Kindle version, I still wanted the autographed copies. They were bulky and heavy but I was determined to stuff them into my suitcase. I also won the raffle for a private breakfast with Dr Arthur Krigsman! Mind you, I must have bought 20 tickets and stuffed them all into that tiny box. And to those who asked; the breakfast was illuminating. I know what my focus will be, thank you for your kind advice Dr Krigsman.

Karaoke Night was brilliant! It was the most relaxed and fun night I’ve had in many many years. And to think that this year, I will be one of the hosts of Karaoke Night together with my Thinking Moms.

Though I am no longer in the fight against autism, it left a deep and dirty trail of illnesses and medical issues. The knowledge I learnt at the conference has brought me closer and closer to complete recovery for Mei and Min Min.  The friendships I made there has changed my life for the better. I left the AutismOne/ Generation Rescue Conference at peace with the world and myself.

I hope to see you there!

About the Author:
Marissa Bagshaw is a mother of 2 children who are recovered from autism. Her blog Spectrum Mum in Malaysia is inspired by her daughters’ journey through autism.  Marissa is the founder of KL Biomed, a support network for autism families doing biomedical intervention in Malaysia and neighbouring Asian countries. She is also a co-founder of The Thinking Moms’ Revolution. Marissa lives with her husband and daughters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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