Saturday, September 26, 2009

I've just finished attending the National Conference on Learning Disabilities. It was held in Whitehorse and I was able to attend. I'm so glad I attended as a parent. My sons may or may not have learning disabilities but the information that I received from attending this conference was phenomenal.

Our first night we attended a lecture with Dr. Gabor Mate. He talked about Why Parents Need to Matter more than Peers. He talked about the detachment of parents and children and how children need to attach to someone and more and more because of two parents working, they are turning to peers and this is causing problems with children because peers are not mature enough to lead our children.

On Friday, we attended a lecture with Barbara Wilson, she presented the Wilson Reading program this is being used in schools in the US and in some parts of Canada. We use it up here, it was a very interesting talk and we stayed for the second have workshop but that wasn't more detail that is for those trained and implementing the program. So it was right over my head.

I was very tired with a headache, so I missed the next lecture and now wish I hadn't because the next two workshops both referred to it.

We next went to a lecture with Lorrie and Denise Groegen, a mother-daughter team that presented A Family's Journey. So they explained their experience with a learning disability in a family. The daughters experience from being diagnosed to being a university student and living in the world was presented as well as the mother's experience with the emotion and being an advocate for her daughter and teaching her daughter to advocate for herself. It was very interesting.

Next was Chris Canavan and his experience as a man with dyslexia and ADD. His Self Advocacy talk was inspirational. What I took away from that was that we can let these struggles get the best of us but we can also overcome and look it in the face and raise our heads and move on. I was impressed with this man.

Today, Saturday was a surprise. This morning our first speaker was Dr. Martin Brokenleg and he talked about At-Risk Youth. I don't know what to say beside he was just amazing. He presented a wonderful lecture on family and how important family is, he touched on a bit of what Dr. Mate talked about in a few regards to families being together. We were next supposed to go to a our next workshops but found out that Dr. Brokenleg was presenting again and after the break.

We decided that we would stay. Dr. Brokenleg presented Circle of Courage and what this organization does. It's a business based in Vancouver. I was very impressed with this presentation as well.

Our next speaker was about Why Early Childhood Education is so Important? Dr. Fraser Mustard presented a presentation on the biology and neurology of why early childhood education was so important. I was a very interesting presentation.

Our last speaker was Ben Pollis, an Australian man would at age 8 was diagnosed with ADD. He talked about his struggles and what life was like for him. He wrote a book at 19 about it and then toured the world giving speeches. Now at 28 he has given up public speaking and runs a multi-million business in Australia. He had taken down his website but they found him on Facebook and he agreed to come and talk to us. I'm very glad he did, as parent I could identify a lot of what he said. I was impressed with his presentation and I did buy his book

Overall, I am really glad that I went to the conference. I was impressed with the level and range of speakers. As a parent, it helped me tremendously. I could identify with so much and was brought to tears a few times by the speakers as I could see some of what was talked about in myself and my own children. I hope that this experience will make me a better parent or at least one that is a great advocate for them, because that was my main goal.

It's made me more aware of the kind of parents we want to be, have always talked about what we want as parents and how we want to raise our children. This is part of that, it's all about family and keeping the family strong to attachments and love.

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