I’m in the midst of frantically preparing to fly to Singapore to attend the 2019 Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC).

Two years ago, I delivered two sessions during APAC 2017 in Sydney. I presented a session on managing school transitions and another on how to travel as an autism family. It was the first I spoke at a conference and I took so much away from it, listening and learning from professionals and autism advocates.

It was a truly life changing experience.

In the years since, I’ve been more committed to making a difference for autism families, particularly in helping parents better understand and support their kids. Which is why I’ve been very quiet around these parts in recent months as I work on developing a course for professionals to help them better understand and engage with parents.

In the last year I’ve also delivered a keynote address in Adelaide and worked with ASPECT to provide professional development to teachers and parents at the Hunter and Port Macquarie schools. I’ve also met with local schools to discuss their views on the parent-teacher relationship and I’ve attended sessions with parents to get their feelings on the topic too. I’ve been making steady progress and I’m getting closer to delivering a training package that will help bridge the gap.

The upcoming visit to Singapore is special. It’s my first overseas conference and my first visit to this dynamic city. Even more exciting, the APAC 2019 committee invited me to speak this time around, which is an unbelievable honour (and a terrifying one too!).

I’ll deliver a plenary presentation on the second day of the conference, focusing on our positive education journey with GIlbert. It’s heavily based on my Adelaide keynote from the Getting the Right Fit conference, updated for an international audience. Again, Gilbert will be the star of the show with his video contribution to my talk!

Later that day, I’ll participate in a parent panel, featuring parents from around the globe sharing their own positive stories and how they’ve become thriving caregivers. I’m hoping it will be a source of inspiration and hope to parents and caregivers in attendance.

On the final day, I’ll present a workshop for professionals, discussing ways they can develop more positive partnerships with parents and families. I’ll provide insight into the reality of special needs parenting and share practical strategies to better understand, engage and partner with parents. It’s going to be a test of the professional development package I’ve been working on so I’m eager (and terrified) to find out what professionals think of it!

On Tuesday (tomorrow – eek!) I fly to Singapore with my husband Nathan so we’re ready for the first day of the conference on Thursday. Over the last few weeks we’ve been trying to manage our own fears and anxieties while tending to our kids’ worries. It will be the longest we’ve been away from them so we’re all a little wary of how it will go (and what might happen on our return!)

The kids are being looked after by Nathan’s parents, who are staying at our place to minimise disruption for them. They will be in safe hands, they will be thoroughly spoiled and I’m sure they’re going to have a great time. Likewise, it will be good for Nathan and I to have some time away by ourselves, even if it will be a whirlwind trip away.

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with you on social media (Facebook is your best bet) and I’ll also share my presentations with you on my return. Fingers crossed I’ll find more time to blog here in the coming months – I certainly have lots to share!

Wish me luck – see you on the other side!!!

P.S. You can listen to me talk about the upcoming conference tomorrow morning on ABC Newcastle around 7.35am, just before I head off to the airport!!!