Stanford Conference

I don’t have a lot to say about the Autism conference at Stanford this past Saturday, I only stayed until noon and I don’t want to offend anyone, so I’ll keep it brief.  I can say that it wasn’t anything like the ARI Conference we went to in New Jersey.  The conference was at the beautiful Stanford Alumni Center, packed full, over 300 people–parents, doctors, students, everyone obviously touched by and interested in Autism.  I was excited to hear the Keynote speaker, Dr. Anna Penn, whose lecture was titled,  Spectrum Disorders in the Environment Before Birth.  I thought we’d hear about environmental factors…toxins, vaccines, water, infections, mother’s health, nutrition, GMOs, etc.  What we heard about for an hour and a half was about the placenta.  She spoke all about the placenta, how it transports molecules, breaks down molecules, aids with metabolic changes, converts molecules to another, can form a barrier, produces hormones, converts hormones into other forms.  It got very science-y, and she reported the findings that she and her team found with mice placentas.  Dr. Penn and her team are very well doing excellent research in finding biomarkers in the placenta for ASD, but it was not the way I imagined the conference starting.

My thinking is that Stanford had this amazing forum to reach hundreds of caretakers of kids with Autism.  The room was packed with individuals touched by ASD, and we’re hearing about Placenta research.  Why not kick off the day with something inspiring?  I wanted to hear a doctor tell me about causes, cutting edge treatments/therapies, biological issues, problems with the gut, supplements, and a take home to-do list for parents to feel they are on the right track and they can do something for their child.  Never once during the day did I hear about kids recovering from Autism.  I didn’t hear anything about their methylation cycle being off.

At one of the breakout sessions I attended about feeding and digestive problems in ASD, a question was presented from a couple in the audience to the doctor about anGluten Free/Casein Free diet.  The mother and father spoke about their son making huge gains shortly after putting him on GFCF.  They asked the doctor what his take was about the diet.  I had stopped taking notes at that point, but the gist of the response was that there was no evidence of the diet, and you could try cutting back on lactose for a couple of weeks.  He brought up Celiacs disease and said you could have your child tested.  He didn’t mention that it can take months for gluten and casein to clear from the digestive system, or that they act as opioids for children with a leaky gut.  He obviously wasn’t up to date about the huge importance of diet with these kids.  I’m still no expert, but it disappointed me that parents walked out of that room thinking GFCF was not worth trying.

I left the conference at noon since I had to get back to Sophie and Jackson.  After the morning sessions, I wasn’t thrilled about staying anyways.   As great as the ARI conference was, I wish I were going to the Autism One conference in Chicago going on this week.  Everyone describes it as the Disney World of Autism conferences.  It’s the conference where all the ‘Thinking Moms,’ DAN (Defeat Autsim Now) doctors, specialists, and cutting edge thinkers go to mingle and learn from the leaders in Autism.   Depending on where Jackson is in his treatment at this time next year, I’m hoping to go to the Autism One conference.

Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone in this post, but I’m staying true to my opinion.


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