At Love & Autism, we want to continually improve our conference and your conference experience. After every conference we gather to discuss what went well, acknowledge the misses, and engage in discussion about the ways next year’s conference can be better. Growth is highly valued in a conference put together by a group of clinicians. We recognize that risks, although hard, can lead to new beginnings and a richer experience. It means being transparent and daring, because vulnerability is beautiful and is the way in which we want to create strong and meaningful connections with our community.
100% autistic speakers and their own allies on the main stage - As you have heard from many autistic self-advocates, the importance of autistic voices in shaping the discussion about autism is more than just important; it’s vital to improving autistic experience in the world. We at Love & Autism recognize this truth.
Shortened conference time - In the U.S., and probably in many other countries we tend to value the philosophy that more is better. Failing to recognize that sometimes more is just more. This change took some real discussion because each year we want to help people feel like they are getting a “bang for their buck.” However, each year we hear from attendees on ways in which Love & Autism is a not only thought provoking but can offer emotional paradigm shifts for how people think and feel about autism. We at Love & Autism want to honor this. We want to give people the space to process and not feel overwhelmed. So we are taking a step in that direction by ending the conference at 4:30pm (as opposed to 5:30 or 6pm), because down time on your weekend matters.
Additional breakout session tracts - This year’s conference has added more practical breakout sessions to our unique small group learning events “DO, LEARN, CONNECT, BELONG.” Conference goers will learn rich and practical advice that they can implement in their lives the very same day. From ways to help your child be safer to how to navigate the IEP process to raising a more compassionate child; our conference goers will have both short term and long term ways to make positive changes in their lives. We also will host a breakout session resource faire where you can engage with many of our breakout speakers, get their resources and decide which breakout track will best serve you. For all the ones you will miss; well, at least you can get the handouts!
All new speakers on the main stage - Love & Autism is a passion project created by a group of people who value and love their work family. It is important that the Love & Autism family continues to grow too. There are a few familiar faces, in that David Finch will now take over the role of Master of Ceremonies; but other than that we have all new perspectives, all new narratives, but same ole grounding in love & kindness.
Reduced cost - Enough said.
Want even lower costs, our deepest and only discount will be offered to Love & Autism Members. Plus, when you are a member, you get to rock our Love & Autism classic tee.
Easier registration - First, yay! Second, not only is the the result of our lessons learned but having practiced how to better support this process after multiple years. New systems have been implemented (feels like this needs a “and hopefully you feel the improvements in this experience).
The ability to tailor your Love & Autism experience - Breakout tracts designed to support the needs of you, your family, and those you support. Want to come for only one speaker… we have that. Can only come for one day… we have you covered. Make Love & Autism 2018 what you need.
Better descriptions of breakouts - We recognized we could do this better so we are. We want our guests to have a meaningful conference experience and more information is a huge part of this.
Movement space in the main area - Because people need to move, but don’t want to miss out on what is being offered. Of course we will still have the calm room for those needing space and time away. However, for those who need to move while learning we are offering supportive tools in the main area for easier accessibility.
More Love & Autism merchandise - Turns out our t-shirts were a big hit. For those wanting their own Love & Autism gear but who want more than a t-shirt, you’ll be happy to know that our line is expanding. Be on the lookout as new items will be unveiled in future newsletter. Merchandise will be available to pick up in our office for locals, shipped for a fee for those wanting them in advance, or the day of the conference.