Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton/CASLPA 4th Annual Autism Conference – Jan. 13-15, 2011

Disclaimer: it is EMBARRASSING how long this post has been sitting in my drafts folder. 

To say that I was excited to attend this conference would be an understatement. I was especially excited to get the chance to hear Temple Grandin speak. We all began gathering in the lobby at 7:30 am…I didn’t mind being there so early because I wanted a good seat. There were over 800 people registered to hear Temple’s keynote address and she did not disappoint us. I couldn’t believe that the first person I saw when I walked in was Temple. She was seated and autographing copies of her books. I quickly got in line to buy one and I got her autograph. I managed to get a great seat and even got to sit with 2 Special Education teachers from 2 of the schools I serve . The three of us were enthralled! (OK mostly me, but they totally humored me.)  The only thing that disappointed me about her talk was that we didn’t get a copy of her presentation slides in our handouts. (She said it was, “all in her books.”  Girlfriend has A LOT of books y’all.)  The following are a few quotes that I found in my many scribbled notes:

“My mind works like google images.”

“I learned ALL concepts using specific examples.”

“Some kids you can open from front, others you have to sneak in the back.”

“Kids need consistent discipline at home and at school – same rules both places!”

This is my only picture of my bestie Temple that wasn’t blurry

The afternoon of the first day seemed dry by comparison to some people, only because everyone was so excited for the morning. (That and we had been up so early.) I was still excited to meet someone so famous in the field of Speech Pathology and I was glad I had another work friend at my table. We were ready to hear Lori Frost; Lori Frost is the creator of PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and her presentation was on the “Top Ten 10 Myths of PECS.” I wish it had included more information about utilizing the PECS system but I guess she still wants people to attend PECS workshops. The main takeaway message I got was that PECS isn’t boring and that all picture systems are not PECS. Following Ms. Frost was PECS research information presented by Julie Koudys. She was extremely excited about PECS. I was surprised to learn that the population from her study came from Saskatchewan, near Regina. (I thought it interesting since she was from out east.) I think it was hard for some people to focus on her presentation because she was at the end of a long day, following very famous speakers (not me tho, cuz I’m an AMAZING listener.)

Lori Frost is my homegirl

I spent the final two days of the conference listening to Amy Weatherby.  I particularly loved all the video clips Amy Weatherby showed, providing concrete examples of autism. She seems to show great respect for technology, and even said, “I think iPads are going to revolutionize things for children and adults.” I was glad she even gave us recommendations for all the great speech and language therapy applications that are available for iPad and iTouch. She provided a  link to the FREE autism video glossary.  She also provided a link to her website, which has diagnostic checklists and information for parents and professionals.

I cropped the part where we were holding hands.

I am incredibly thankful that my work sent me to this conference (ALL EXPENSES PAID…HOLLA!)  It was amazing to be there with my colleagues and to learn from leaders in the field.  I met many other SLP’s (and a CASLPA employee) and I had an all around marvelous time. *throws confetti and spins around*

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So random of an entry i forgot to title it

This post is being written late because I thought it was still Monday. 

I laughed during a pap exam yesterday. 

There are people who now associate me with Ralph G. Macchio, but not with John C, Mayer, he’s a douche. 

The definitive John C. Mayering of Ralph G. Macchio

I’m geekily excited about a google document I’m sharing online with my twitter Speech Pathology friends (SLPeeps.)  It’s a bit embarrassing that I can’t wait to use it for goal writing this year. 

I will be starting a few school visits next month.  I hope Diego will be ok without me for a few hours on those days.  I’m lucky that I don’t have to work full time, but sometimes the travel gets old.    

Learning to bellydance would be sweet although I wish I had less belly to work with. 

Ugh i just ended a sentence with “with” and I’m too lazy to go back and fix it.  

This is an exceptionally craptacular entry because I am typing one handed.  Sorry.

Time flies when you’re sleep deprived

Yesterday Diego was a month old.  I toyed with the idea of pulling a Dooce and writing him a monthly letter but the odds are that I won’t keep up with it, plus it hardly seems fair since I didn’t do that for Cielo or Junior.

Behold my precious bundle of joy (at 5 am…the time he was born) as he turned 1 month old.

if only he hadn't moved his arm and covered his smile

I used to think baby smiles were just gas, but now I think he is just happy.  Happy or amused that he can keep his mom up all hours, whenever I’m so exhausted that I think I could just die he will smile or chortle-laugh in his sleep (or let out an adorable fart) and then I want like 10 more babies.  Thank god that feeling goes away or I’d end up with a reality show on TLC.  I’m so thankful Nehemias is an awesome husband and helps me so much…he cooks, does the dishes and forces me to nap with the baby. 

I can’t believe that Diego is already a month old.  It seemed like I would be pregnant forever and now it’s over and I have this wonderful, funny, adorable little person to take care of and treasure.  He has already added so much to our lives I can’t imagine if we hadn’t added on to our family.  I guess I am hard-wired to love big families tho, since I grew up in a house with 5 brothers and 2 sisters.  The noise and chaos feel natural…and as long as I can stay ahead of the mess I’m doing fine.

Obviously I am adjusting to my new schedule because I’ve found myself thinking about work lately, which hasn’t happened since June.  I’m not starting right away, but I think I may call my schools and book my first visits.  I hope that will get them organized so that when I go they are ready for me with signed permission slips and the like.   

Maybe the reason why I am thinking about work is that Wednesday is my first payday of this contract, and that it s for more than I am used to.   I’ve gone from a 80 day contract to a 100 day contract, so I am excited about that.  Sure it is spread amongst 5 schools, but prior to my services these schools were doing well to get one SLP visit a year.

I shall have  come back to this post later…I hear water escaping the tub, I must investigate.

The fact that I couldn’t remember my password should clue me in that I’m a terrible blogger

I’m in!! I feel all victorious, so much so that I kind of forget what I wanted to write about in the first place.  Oh yes, I remember!

I am a happy happy, extremely blessed fortunate young (relatively, compared to a tree) lady.  Anyone that has known me for any length of time probably knows that I have desired a home of my own for my family for quite some time.  My husband and I haven’t lived on our own since I left North Carolina. 

You see, I am a particular type of genius that got pregnant during GRAD SCHOOL.  Chick in the slimming black robe? Yeah that was me.  (By the way I totally rocked it with hot black stiletto pumps plus I scared the dept. chair into thinking I was in labour.)  Anyway, immediately after graduation we high tailed it to Canada (cross country move when 9 months pregnant? Bring it.) and began living with my family.  Thankfully my parents have a huge house, nestled in the middle of God’s Country…Thunderchild First Nation.  My daughter was born about a week after we crossed the border.  As you can guess I didn’t start working right away so we were living off my husband’s savings.  (He was in Canada on a visitor’s visa so was not allowed to work.) SEE>>>then we needed to live with my family, and I am thankful for all the help, love and support they gave us.

Flash forward (nearly) 4 years later.  Now we have 2 kids and expecting a third in August.  Continue living in 1 (HUGE) bedroom or venture forth?? 

SWEET SWEET FREEDOM! We bought a house, we signed all the papers on Wednesday and paid all the closing costs.  Now that we have home insurance there is nothing to do but wait for May 1 to get here.

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Today I am in Enoch First Nation, doing my traveling SLP thing.  Yesterday when I checked into our hotel (River Cree Resort & Casino omg I love the beds in this place!) I saw a sign for MMA fights! Dudes, burly handsome fighters were checking in right before my eyes.  The weigh ins were tonight (I didn’t go, was at work) but the fights are tomorrow. WE GOT TICKETS! I’m not sure who is more excited, me or my husband. Yay!

I’M MOVING BABY!!