If you care for someone with autism in Ireland and have not signed up with Middletown Centre for Autism, then please don't wait any longer. I'd been to one of their excellent courses before, and today I attended their first International Autism Conference, and it was well worth all the arrangements and bribery of the children. Not only were the speakers absolutely first class - of which more in a minute - but all the basics are FREE, including the conference, coffee, lunch and parking. When you're used to everything connected with special needs being UBER expensive, there's something very special about a free event. It feels like somebody cares.
It was a day of listening, chatting, putting faces to names and even relaxing just a little bit. And I learned some important lessons too:
1. I need to get out more.
2. While much of the material was not new to me, I realised that I need regular reminders so that I can stop slipping back into unhelpful parenting habits. Hearing it in a different way in a new setting and from a different perspective does make a difference.