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As the parent of an autistic child, Shorewood mom Julee DeGeus tried to learn as much about her son's condition as possible. Her busy schedule didn't allow much time for research, though, which led her to attend Autism One's Chicago conference last year.
"I got information that, if I got it on my own, would have taken years," she says. "The typical medical professional doesn't know this stuff."
Edmund Arranga, co-founder of Autism One, says: "Parents don't have the luxury of being able to attend four or five conferences a year. We knew we had to bring everyone together and get information to everyone's questions."
The nonprofit organization, based in Fullerton, Calif., will hold its second conference in May in Chicago. DeGeus plans to attend again. She appreciates the opportunity to talk to other parents of autistic children. "I networked with other parents that I still talk to. I've recommended it to at least 20 people," she says.
This year's conference will feature 114 speakers and will be divided into four different tracks: biomedical treatments, behavior/communication/education therapies, complimentary and alternative medicine and government/legal/personal issues. Parents can listen to speakers from one track or some from all four, depending on their needs. The day before the conference, Autism One will offer classes on science, philosophy and history to help parents understand the information presented during the conference.
The Autism One 2004 Conference is scheduled from May 28-30, with the advance classes on May 27, at The Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel, 909 North Michigan Ave., Chicago. A three-day pass is $250 for the first parent and $99 for the second. A one-day pass is $115. Daycare is available for $25 for half a day and $40 for a whole day. Visit www.autismone.org for more information.
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