…to finish where I left off last night…
After Music, Movement and Motivation there were three morning workshops to choose from: Impact on Siblings, The Parent School Relationship and The Ontario Advocate. The sibling workshop was presented by Dave Weaver and Sharon Skutovich of CPRI. The presentation focused on how chlidren’s disabilities impact the lives of siblings. Since both my children have mental health diagnoses I decided against attending this workshop. Andrea and Judy Wright of Thames Valley Children’s Centre presented the talk on the Parent School Relationship. Both women are Parent Mentors and had valuable insight to share with those of us who attended their workshop, I will share more later in the week. The Ontario Advocate – Your Children, You and the Advocate’s Office; The ABC’s of Inclusive Advocacy was presented by Mike Fogelman of The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.
Lunch was a lovely affair, the food was delicious, and we were given “free time” to connect with other parents and chat with the professionals who were present. It was great to have a little down time and was a wonderful opportunity to connect with one another.
The afternoon workshops included You Matter, presented by Nancy Wardrop of London Health Sciences Centre and offered highly beneficial tips on building resiliency and suggestions on how to take better care of ourselves. Chad Quanz of Regional Support Association gave an interactive presentation on the topic of behaviour as communication. The Internet, Social Media, Cellphones, and Suicide: The Perils and Potential for Family and Healthcare was the topic presentedy by Dr. Rex Roman. Dr. Roman is a Board Member of the Ontario Association of Suicide Prevention and discussed how new technologies “are conspiring to prevent your child’s growth and good judgment”. I attended the “You Matter” workshop and left with some new insights and tools to aid me in my own journey to good health.
The conference closed out with a lively talk by CPRI‘s Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay. “Dr. McKinlay was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at age 19 but knew by the age of 7 that he had “a secret””. His lecture was entitled “Living in Disorder” and he explained that he would use his presentation in an attempt to mimic the often chaotic thought processes of a child with mental health issues. He flipped through power point slides at a dizzying pace, stopping only occasionally to take a quick sip of water before plunging back into his topic with luster. Speaking at speeds to rival auctioneers, he also candidly shared his own struggles dealing with, and attempts to mask, his own symptoms of Tourette’s. It was easy to see Dr. McKinlay’s sincerest desire is to help young people who suffer from mental illness. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, I believe, his goal is to prevent having another child suffer the shame of being ostracized the way he was.