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Alternatives for Special Kids Conference, Irvine

Author: Darien C. Small

We are going to be participating in the upcoming Conference in Irvine, Alternatives for Special Kids, May 8-11. Darien Small, the organizer, was motivated to launch the first of these annual conferences last year in Boston because of his own experience as the father of a child with special needs. After the modest start, this year Darien is bringing together a large variety of resources for these children under one roof, with a wide spectrum of speakers. It should be a nice hothouse environment for them all. Sue and I are both giving presentations, and we will be participating in a number of workshops throughout the period. There will also be an exhibit area, where we will feature not only conventional neurofeedback but also Roshi II and HEG. We will of course also be promoting the practitioner network.

Darien’s most remarkable achievement has been the procurement of funding support for his conference. He is therefore able to offer scholarships for attendance. These scholarships may be particularly appropriate for those clinicians who are in dual roles both as neurofeedback practitioners and as parents of special-needs kids. We encourage attendance by any practitioner who is working with this population. Families are welcome at this conference. About 60% of attendees are expected to be families, and 40% professionals. Families bring their special needs kids, and these get to acquaint themselves as well with the available technologies. Attending families are typically well connected with support networks at home, having been commissioned as scouts to take the message back. So attendance may also be a way for you to build your practice.

In addition to the offer of scholarships, Darien is also seeking our help in getting the word out about the conference. His announcement follows:

“Alternatives for Special Kids (ASK!) has a limited amount of scholarships available for its upcoming conference in Irvine, California on May 8 – 11. Alternatives for Special Kids Conference, Workshops, Exhibits, and Consults is by far the largest conference of its kind. ASK! brings together world-wide expertise in hands-on approaches to dealing with the tough challenges that our children with special needs face. This is not a conference about reporting the latest research, but instead, ASK! 2003 will help parents and professionals to readily improve the lives of their children.

“ASK! scholarships will allow families and professionals to both work and consult with over 120 speakers who will present 220 presentations/demonstrations and 75 more concentrated workshops. The eight tracks of the conference range from Healing Therapies, to Technologies, to the Best of the Resources. Presentations span from healing acquired and traumatic brain injuries, to mobility and body control, to g-tube nutrition, to learning, to unscrambling children with multiple issues, to alternatives and resources for teens. Presentations are geared for children ranging in age from infants to teens and focus on a broad range of physical and cognitive challenges.

“There are partial, full, and full-working scholarships (one parent/friends volunteers in exchange for the other attending the conference) available. ASK’s goals are to:

1. Reduce the time it takes to piece together the right puzzle that can best help our children.
2. Create meeting spaces where professionals, parents, children, and manufactures can
collaborate to problem solve the hurdles that our children have to struggle through.
3. Educate the public to alternatives that can improve the lives of children with these tough challenges and to bring to the public resources that can enrich the family.

“ASK! also offers a very exciting Kids Care / Conference that runs at the same time for both the children with special needs and for their siblings. The Kids Conference includes many age and ability appropriate activities. There are also workshops for teens that range from careers, to dealing with emotions, to ways of helping in the dynamics of a family with a special needs child. In addition, some of the main conference speakers in the arts, music, movement, and adaptive sports will work with all of the children. The Kids Conference will provide professional nursing care.

“With three weeks to go, ASK! is also looking for assistance in getting the word out. We have add cards, brochures, and other publications available. We also have a shortened version of this post.

“For additional information, view our Web site at www.4healthykids.org, e-mail darien@4healthykids.org, or call 401.315.0590. The full list of topics will be posted this weekend. Scholarship requests should be submitted as soon as possible.

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