Day 1: Autism Vancouver Biennial Congress

What a day.

It was a bit funny, running around trying to find change to pay for parking at the Skytrain station with Courtenay.  Then finding parking that was more than 12 hours.  Then finding a Starbucks….that was actually most important.

Once we were finally there we got to listen to Karen Simmons speak.  She is the CEO of Autism Today.  She told us some lovely stories from her book and introduced the next speaker…after making us cry.

Shannon Kenitz was up next, she’s an expert and advocate for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.  I was surprised to find out about the double blind test studies that had been done on it and the outcomes.  It looks like HBOT is good for ANYONE.  I knew this was something I wanted to try on Silas but now I have data telling me that renting a portable unit for a month is just as beneficial as using a steel one AND it’s cheaper than going to the one I was going to go to.  I’m thinking, maybe, of raising money to buy one for my community to use.

Shannon was an amazing speaker and she had us all bawling our eyes out as she told us the story of her 3 year old daughter who was two days away from having the plug pulled on her life support.  She took her out of the hospital and brought her to an HBOT place and she is now 12!!  Amazing stories.

Next up was Dr. Doreen Granpessheh.  We learned about ABA methodology and her new program she’s got going where the family can do their own ABA program.  Check it out at  She had a wealth of information, she’s been doing this for over 20 years even though she looks about 35 or younger…she’s gorgeous and very well spoken.

Next was perhaps one of my favourite speakers of the day.  I think because he lives with autism.  He’s a university profession with a doctorate of education.  He teaches about special needs.  Dr. Stephen Shore…he’s hilarious.  I love how he explained his first encounter with a girl who wanted to be in a relationship with him and how he didn’t understand it but then we studied it like crazy.  He’s now been married for 20 years.  He’s written a myriad of books including Understanding Autism for Dummies.  You always know they’re great when they’ve written a Dummy book.  Yup.  He’s talking again tomorrow morning about success with autism.  I’m stoked.


I guess what I’ve taken away from today is a refreshed excitement towards helping Silas continue to move forward.  It’s easy to get inspired at a place like that, surrounded by great people.  I did learn a few things, I’m forced to be a bit of an expert in this field so I already knew a good deal of stuff.

These speakers are all very holistic in their approach to autism and that is also my belief.  It’s good to be validated.  You need to not only do the behavior intervention but you ALSO need to make sure their body is working properly and you also need to take care of the sensory side of things.  A lot of what I’m doing has been validated…which means a lot to me.

So I’m excited to learn more tomorrow and to continue to be strong and press on!

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