I am off tomorrow morning, very early tomorrow morning, for the IMFAR 2012 convention in Toronto. I am very excited to be attending and blogging courtesy of Autism Speaks, Autism Speaks Canada, Dana Marnane and Suzanne Lanthier. It was a tough day today though. Conor knows Dad won't be home for a few days and he has been a bit agitated. This afternoon I received a call from the good people at the Leo Hayes High School that Conor was not having a good afternoon. They thought it better that he stay at school until his regular departure time though and I agreed. When I picked him up I was informed that Conor had in fact calmed down and the rest of the afternoon had gone well. Conor will miss his old Dad until I return Saturday night. I might react differently but I will be missing him too.
It is worth it though to attend IMFAR with the annual concentration of autism research and knowledge being hosted in Canada. I am looking forward to blogging about IMFAR from the perspective of a father of a 16 year old son severely affected by his Autistic Disorder. I underlined Disorder intentionally. Autism for me is not a culture or a way of life. It is not just a different way of thinking. It is a serious disorder that restricts my son's life, my son that I love dearly. I want to attend IMFAR and learn as much as possible and, hopefully, convey what I have learned, filtered through the perspective I have provided at Facing Autism in New Brunswick for 6 years. It is the perspective of a realistic, caring father who refuses to drink the "autism is a blessing" feel good Kool-Aid of the Neurodiversity advocates who insist on obliterating from public awareness the harsh realities inflicted on so many, including my son, who suffer from autism disorders.
I hope the IMFAR convention brings news of real progress in autism research. Although I am a realist I do not give up hope, hope based in solid research.
I thank Autism Speaks for this opportunity.