Apraxia Monday: Conference Decompression

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By Leslie Lindsay

I didn’t go.  At least not this year.  But I have been to a National CASANA conference.  And it was quite an experience.

My daughter had been diagnosed with CAS for a little over a year when I made the committment to, “throw my hat” into the CAS world.  I was a bit reluctant at first to attend a conference.  After all, I wasn’t working (what would I wear? can we afford this?), and I wasn’t really sure if it would benefit me or my daughter.  Didn’t she need me at home, anyway?!

But I went.  And I loved it.  Prior to the conference, I had gone on-line and printed out all of the course syllabi’s, popped into a delicious-smelling binder and flagged them.  I am a nerd student at heart.

But I will admit, it was overwhelming.  Each day was a learning experience–faces, names, presentations–well they all began to blur.  Things I heard got me excited, others made me want to cry and hide under the table.  But I pressed forward, asking questions, introducing myself, reviewing poster presenations, sliding pamphlets and brochures into my bag.  And when I left the conference, I was filled with new knowledge.

But it sat for a good week or more before I could touch it again.

When you’re ready, here’s a list of suggestions for making the most of your post-conference experience:

  • If you made contacts, or promised an email, connect within about 2 weeks.  Keep the subject line as something like “CASANA conference”
  • Sort through your “goodies.”  Make piles: “To do” (call, look into), “Notes”, “Resources,” toss/recycle/give away all of the extraneous stuff you thought you might need but don’t really.
  • Send a follow-up note or email to someone who really made your experience matter.  If it was a presentor, another participant, someone from CASANA…they will appreciate it.  A lot.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you feel you haven’t done “all you can” for your child with CAS.  This is a journey.  It takes time.  This conference was just a stop on the journey.
  • Help educate others in your family about CAS. 
  • Help educate your child’s school
  • Hold a meeting or gathering of some friends you met (or knew before, but also attended the confernece).  Have it at your home, a coffee shop, a park.  Compare notes.  Talk about what you liked/didn’t like.  Share your experiences.

Realize that by attending a conference like this, you did the best thing you could do for your child with CAS:  you learned more.  Go you!!

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