We talked to Karen Christine Wise and Damon Mathew Wise Âû .They were excited about presenting at AUsome Parents Event 2021 taking place online Sunday March 21st 9.30am to 4.30pm. This conference is specially designed to meet the needs of parents who are new to autism. We know that this can be a stressful time for parents. Often the search for answers can lead parents to many therapies and ideas which are not supported by the Autistic Community. AUsome Training is here to empower you with advice, information and support from people who are Autistic themselves. Many of us are parents also. We have created Ausome Parents Conference so that you can feel fully supported and confident in your own abilities as a parent of an AUsome kid.
Karen and her husband Damon will be panelists discussing and answering parents questions on “Dealing with the System”.
Damon and Karen have had four children. Their first child Gene only lived for 24 days on earth but lives on in the heart of the family. Micheal, Eve and Daniel all have diagnoses.
Being an autistic family presents a full mix of disability issues, as each person within the spectrum has a different mix of problems, solutions and interests which help us overcome the everyday obstacles the world throws at us.
The family have often appeared in the media to explain the issues and problems they have encountered.
Karen told us about her previous conferences:
I’ve presented on numerous occasions for different events on different topics. This will be my second time about Autism and having Autistic Children at a conference that I have not organised.
What will you be sharing at the conference?
It’s based on my life experience. Also, the information required by parents is being slowly steered away from a medical/professional stance.
My presentation is how to just enjoy the experience of having a child. So many parents and family members are so motivated to get the treatments, services and education that they get weary. I know because I have encountered these obstacles for over 20 years. I was too busy being an advocate and not being a parent. Every child has a unique personality and childhood. I learnt to describe my children by their diagnoses to the medical professionals and by their personality to their teachers and relatives. The presentation will benefit anyone who interacts with anybody within the spectrum.
Why do you think events like AUsome Parents Event are important?
Ever since I was involved with organising the first Autistic led conference in Shannon, many moons ago. The resistance by the medical profession to a peer led advocacy and mentoring has slowly been eradicated. Resistance was not futile. Myself and other Autistic people have led the revolution behind the scenes.
What do you see as the main differences between AUsome Parents Conference Event and Autism Conferences that may only feature one or two Autistic presenters, if any?
The main differences are I am not the token Autistic that is used as an example that all the money spent on professionals helping me is worth the medical and charity models that are there. No mention of human rights anywhere in those narratives. The acceptance by the so-called establishment has been hard-won over many decades.
What do you think Autistic people gain from attending an Autistic -led parents event?
Acceptance and normality. When I got my diagnosis and I read the definition of the traits, I felt normal. Every human is a distinct individual but also part of society.
What do you think people will learn from your own experiences?
How to celebrate each day with their child. How to educate their child that they are normal because there is no such thing. How to take enjoyment from their child. How to just live a life with some moments of happiness just like everybody else.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending this year?
Come along and join the fun. We are real people, we have spouses Autism and have children. I have learned through experience and discrimination, how to navigate the insanity that is trying to access your legal entitlements in this country. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, learn from the experts.
What do you think parents will gain from attending Ausome Parents event?
Parents will learn how to stand up for the individual needs of their child. Carers are normally parents, so same thing. Autism is not just one issue, it is multi-faceted and complex. Just like life in general. I hope that our elected representatives and civil servants that determine and enact health, social care and education policies would also come to more of these conferences. After all, they work for us.