Sweaters. Or jackets, shawls, pashminas – whatever. Those conference rooms are always freezing. For that same reason, you might want to re-think those open toed sandals. I know that as long as my back is warm, my feet don’t care if they are sitting in snow – but that’s me.
Snacks. It’s the little things that save you money at the conferences – energy bars and water, mainly. The bars are easy to pack. Water requires just a tiny more strategy depending what you need. I’m packing one of our mid-size Kleen Kanteen bottles that we normally have around thehouse. Pick up a gallon of spring water at the store (there is a Target over by the airport or a Jewels accessible by a ten minute cab ride). Or go all econo-mom and put tap water in your personal bottle. Those two thinks will save you a couple of Jeffersons – at least.
Vitamins. Everyone brings their germs to these events so bring tons of extra C, D3 and whatever else you use to stay healthy. I usually bring my quercetin to deal with the allergies, lots of D, maybe some melatonin, and my favorite multi vitamin. Bring some of your emergency supplements too – for example I will bring some extra magnesium, because my bowels tend to slow down when I travel (TMI? NEVER!). And I never travel without my homeopathic “first aid kit”. Remember, although you dream of sleeping in at this conference – I have yet to meet someone that went home feeling well rested. You need to keep your immune system in tip top shape for when you return home.
Camera. Not only will you want to remember the event, you need take pictures of yourself with your friends that normally just live in your computer. Afterall, you have to prove to your family you are NOT insane, right? But we owe it to the parents that couldn’t make it to AO, to show them the real people behind the FB pages and Yahoo board monikers. I spent many years glued to my computer waiting for images to flow in from the conference when I couldn’t attend. I wanted to see the hugging, the exhibitors, the speakers and my favorite bloggers. Take pictures – and take time to post them to FB or send an email with the message “wish you were here” or “see you here next year”.
Activated Charcoal. For the biomed moms out there, we all know that AC absorbs toxins. So if you perhaps imbibe a little more alcohol than your body can tolerate, a couple AC may help you not feel so lousy in the morning. AC is also great for when food is not sitting well in your system. Keep in mind that AC is non-specific so it will absorb everything – including meds. So take it a few hours away from important meds and expensive supplements.
Game plan. Look over the schedule and identify the sessions you are interested in – have a plan B in place, just in case. Some of the slides and handouts are already available – and you could print them out if you are interested. This year, there will be an e-book available of the conference schedule that you can load onto your smart phone or iPad. Keep checking www.autismone.org for it’s availability.
Elevator pitch. If you are planning your next steps in terms of treatment, therapy or legal maneuvres you probably have that “rock star” person you would love to talk to – even for just a minute. Plan for that minute. Think about who would you love to talk to if given the chance? Do you have a specific question? Do you need a colleague’s contact information? Do you just want to say ‘thank you’? Here are a couple general tips:
- Keep it short – remember there are many other people that probably want to speak to this person. It will be impossible to go over an entire case history at a chance meeting – but you can have medical case information handy, with your contact information attached. See where I’m going with this?
- Have contact information for yourself available, in case they want to touch base with you at a later time.
- Be able to take notes in case they suggest you contact someone else regarding your question.
- Be prepared. Be able to make you case/question/point in 20 or 30 seconds. You can expand if you have more time, but usually there just isn’t time to go into detail.
Remember: many presenters will have a little bit of time to hang around after their session to say “Hi” or answer questions. They may also be attending other sessions or conference events.
Stamina. Man, oh, man! You would think the shift between our lives of constant motion to something sedentary and passive, like listening to conference sessions would be simple and relaxing. No way! The brain power and mental energy expended at this conference is astounding. Don’t forget the emotional energy – this whole conference is about our kids. It’s a kick in the gut at times. Combine all of that with the PACKED schedule – you are going to need serious caffeine (or water or whatever gets you through the afternoon) in order to keep up the pace. You can literally find something to do from early morning until late at night. Try to remember to grab at least one afternoon nap. Or sleep in. Do something for yourself during the conference.
Pad and pencils. It sounds like common sense, but the first year I went to AO, I did not bring any paper. I brought home loose pieces of paper that I bummed off of other people all week. It was not tidy. Bring a notebook or an iPad or something cohesive for your notetaking.
THINKer Attitude. At AutismOne you will receive a TON of information from sessions, exhibitors and especially from other parents. You may question some of the choices you’ve made with your family in the past or think about other approaches you want to take with your child’s treatment plan or school in the future. The important thing to remember is that you know what is best for your family. The old saying is “Don’t measure yourself using somebody else’s measuring stick”. At the same, do your best to keep your judgments about other people to a minimum. ‘Nuff said.
Don’t forget to stop by The Thinking Moms’ Revolution’s table. We will have t-shirts and books – but what we really want is pictures with all of you! See you next week!
To read more posts by LuvBug, Click Here.