My top ten lessons from day two of the Victorian Autism Conference

A child can't learn the way we teach...

(from here)

I was going to write a big post, filled with details about my second day at the Victorian Autism Conference (you can read day one here), but it’s Friday night, I am tired and wrung out, and a glass of wine has my name on it.

So in abridged bullet point form, my Top 10 thoughts and learnings on today, in no particular order…

  1. We are doing a lot of good things at Poss’ school. I am very very proud of the strategies we have in place, and how much work Poss’ teacher, aide and the wider teaching staff put in every day.
  2. Inclusion and acceptance goes far beyond our kids. As adults we all need to show some tolerance to others choices. And some presenters need to learn some professionalism.
  3. “Each strategy will only work for approx. one in ten kids – but for that one kid, it can make all the difference” – Sue Larkey.
  4. It’s ok not to try everything.
  5. The professionals are as frustrated with the funding for kids on the spectrum as the parents are.
  6. Social stories are an amazing tool; one that we need to use more at home.
  7. Instead of relying on consequences and threats, we need to use motivation and rewards more. Now to find what motivates her…
  8. Taking a moment to think (and telling Poss that’s what I am doing) before responding isn’t a bad thing. It shows that I don’t have all the answers (or gives me time to calm my tone) and models it’s ok for her to ask for that too.
  9. The benefits in using pictures (both in things like comic strip conversations as well as traditional visual aides) can’t be emphasised enough; with three of the discussions today focussing on ways to use them (albeit in different ways).
  10. No equals never in the minds of kids on the spectrum, both when we say it to them and when they say it to us

I came home today and snuggled with a very tired Poss on the couch, the weight of her head on my lap and I felt nothing but proud that we have the chance to parent this amazing little girl.

Finally – one last thing – Sue Larkey finished her talk today with this, which I kind of love a little bit…

People with ASD do not SUFFER from ASD. They suffer from the attitudes of other people and how they treat them. – Tony Attwood

Did you come along today? What is your top take away?


I was lucky enough to attend the Victorian Autism Conference with sponsorship from Kimochis. You can read about why I have aligned myself with the Kimochis brand here.

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  1. You have me intrigued re the professionalism comment!

    I love that Tony Attwood quote. I’m gonna do something with that I think. Maybe mail it to someone who needs to read it ;p
    kate says stuff recently posted..Thankful Thursday: The right to choose.My Profile

    • Oh the whole thing was intriguing – we will have to debrief over a wine sometime!

      And yep, there are quite a few that could use that quote… was thinking we almost need it printed and available to hand out on cards…

  2. Annaleis Topham says:

    I was at a differerent conference in WA that was focusing on Intervention for all Early Childhood children with disabilities. And the lack of professionalism was evident there. I think respect should be a two way street between parents and the ‘experts’!

    Looking forward to your future posts!

    • Thanks Annaleis – I completely agree, it has to be a two way street between the parents and the teaching staff, as well as the other health professionals, without it, how can it possibly work in the best interests of the child?

      Will be interested to hear your perspective on my posts too – it’s sometimes hard to see things from the view of the teaching staff when you are in the thick of it as a parent!

  3. thanks for posting this, even short, it still gives a good insight in what the conference was all about. i am kind of overwhelmed of all that you can find and read online – a personal approach like you had is probably a good thing. (I know there are sessions and workshops at Minds and Hearts clinic in Brisbane which is close to me, but at the moment, i feel it would almost be ‘too early’ for me to take it all in.) thanks for sharing!
    nikki recently posted..UK Documentary “My child’s not perfect”My Profile

    • Thanks Nikki. Minds and Hearts has an awesome reputation from what I have heard and if we lived close enough, I would be booking in for sure, but lovely – give yourself time.

      We have been on this road for just over two years now, I am at a point when I crave more information and I know I have the strength to try different things and work out whether or not they will fit with our girl. I certainly didn’t have that confidence to start with – and there are still times, lots of them, when I am completely overwhelmed and out of my depth.

      Be kind to yourself and try to limit your googling – you will only drive yourself mad (easier said than done, I know!) xx

  4. being a professional, i am totally unimpressed someone was unprofessional! great way to represent us to all you parents out there!!!
    And it totally is a two wat street – I am pretty sure my entire life would be perfect if I could just convince the government that health and education should not be seperate entities for kids with special needs. Then I could get paid for the work that I actually do and do what the kids actually need, and not just the stuff that fits under specific guidelines, within specific time frames.
    Glad you had such a good time at the conference, I am mega jealous because no one seems to think it much worth coming up to the territory!!!


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