Just a week ago, I had the privilege of presenting a breakout session at the annual conference of our state autism society. For several years, I had submitted a proposal and been rejected - till last year, when I was given the chance to present the basics of FC (what it is, who might benefit, history and controversy). This year, things were even better, because the conference committee actually encouraged me to include at least one speaker who uses FC to communicate.
As it turned out, I had not one, but three, young men willing to participate. Thanks to the dedication and effort of their families and various support staff, all three were able to be present and take an active part in the discussion. It was wonderful!
I again focused on the basics, but had proposed that we move beyond the controversy to talk about the many success stories that FC has generated. My three very special friends made my work a piece of cake!
R.B. has now given several presentations of this sort, and it's truly amazing that he is able to put on his suit and tie, attend a conference, and remain seated throughout the entire time of our 75 minute breakout session. He attended at least one other presentation as well.
D.M. is a little newer at this, and had more trouble remaining seated, but his message is a powerful one that grabbed everyone's attention. He too was able to attend other sessions during the conference.
Q.P. is still in high school, and newer yet at public speaking. He needed to leave the room a few times, but remained connected to the ongoing conversation and was willing and able to add to the discussion whenever he had something to say.
Each of these guys uses FC a little differently, and their support teams are at differing stages of proficiency. All of us agree that the acceptance we are feeling right now is extremely exciting.
Sadly, the attendance at our session was very light. For a conference that attracts close to 1000 attendees, we had hoped to have a larger crowd. But the 20 (or so) who were there appeared to be sincerely interested and truly impressed.
It's a foot in the door. Now we wait to see what happens next.