Each year, the rate of autistic children grows across the nation and right here in Utah. That's why this eighth annual world conference right here in the Wasatch Valley is becoming more and more important.
“I find such strength and such courage from these people. They are warrior moms and warrior dads. They deal with incredible things on a daily basis,” said Utah State University Assistant Professor of Art Christopher Gauthier.
Christopher Gauthier and his wife Jacqui have two children on the spectrum. He’s shared his artistic talents and stories at talks across the nation. His images of people on the spectrum capture what words in a structured definition of autism cannot.
“If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. It's not easy to narrow down,” said Gauthier.
The world conference in Salt Lake aims to bring the people and the tools together in one place.
“You bring everybody under one roof. You could be sitting next to your physician, your teacher, and all learning the same things about development interventions and therapies,” said Lawrence M. Kaplan, PhD.
It’s also a personal battle for Dr. Lawrence Kaplan whose son is on the severe end of the spectrum.
“He needs 24 hour care 7 days a week and when we are long gone we are wondering who's going to be taking care of Ken?” said Kaplan.
The conference could help ease those concerns. Treatments, therapies, national and local exhibitors, and the most important resource: someone who’s walked in your shoes.
“For us, it’s an opportunity to build relationships with people who walk the same path to learn and grow from the enormous amounts of information available,” said Jacqui Gauthier.
Another big concern about this growing rate autism, as Dr. Kaplan mentioned, is what happens to the adults on the spectrum.
To find out more about the conference, click here.