Saturday, November 23, 2013

OCALI in Review

So here I sit writing this while in Kentucky after heading out from the OCALI conference yesterday.

I'd never been to an OCALI conference, but it was an amazing experience. It is always refreshing to see my peers more than once a year and catch up with old friends. Some of the people I saw I had not seen in almost ten years!

One of the biggest thing this conference did was reaffirm the choices I've made regarding my career choices. It has not been an easy transition and soon I'll be leaving my apartment for another living situation which will better suite my needs. My "where has the year gone" post will be coming up soon, but this is not that one. But for right now, I'm just looking at where I'm standing at this exact second.

One of the greatest moments for me at the conference was really connecting with people I had met back in July at the Autism Society of America conference. That was the point in time where I reevaluated my life and decided to make a LOT of big changes to my life. It was very touching to hear some people follow my blog and are aware of things going on in my life. Other people recognized me walking around donned in my corset and asked how things were going.
"Amazing. Greater than I could have ever imagined" was my answer. Of course elaboration was required.

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I sit back and reflect on the types of people who go to these conferences. Educators, parents, professionals, family members, and most importantly individuals on the spectrum. These people are all gathered in one place for the common goal of sharing information and sharing hopes.

As family members, we come to hope our loved ones will have all the opportunities in the world available to them with no limits placed on who they can be or what they can do.

As educators, we hope to learn how to best teach material in the classrooms that will stay with students long after they leave the walls they come to know so well.

As professionals, we hope to gather information on how to best support the clients we work with so they can reach their fullest potential.

As an Autistic person, we share the hope of what it looks like to be happy in our own skin.
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So here I sit, plotting out my vacation week in Chicago. Chicago will always be home for me and luckily I'm in a position right now to travel while working from my computer. Things are great for me right now.
Yes, I'm still going to be recovering from talking to hundreds of people in such a short amount of time.
Yes, I miss my friends back in Maine and think about them often; wishing to have a way to bring them all with me cross country.
Yes, I'm feeling extremely blessed with my life right now and the amazing people I meet along my journey.


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