The Wisconsin state motto felt appropriate as Sharon Soliday and I ventured to Milwaukee, WI for the Autism Society annual national conference last week. We were there as vendors, speaking to people about online speech therapy, our new platform, and our company. Never having been to Milwaukee or the Autism Society’s national conference, we had no idea what to expect but felt prepared for every possible outcome. We had great swag, beautiful signage (thanks to Meagan), and enthusiasm.
This conference turned out to be a unique blend of people, parents, individuals with autism, educators, and other service providers. Most of the professional conferences that I attend are geared toward one type of person, generally professionals. While we love to talk shop with other professionals, we sometimes lose the perspective of those directly impacted by the topic.
Sharon and I had such eye-opening conversations with parents and educators. We heard first hand about the lack of services available in the midwest, challenges accessing services for adults, and resources that teachers need to provide service. All of this was invaluable to us. In turn, we shared our story and why we’re so invested in helping people access great service. We’ve been living and dreaming online services for so long that it’s easy to lose sight of the questions that parents and providers have about speech-language services via video streaming. Once we help people understand about how accessing quality service online can solve so many problems, people were blown away. We were refreshed and reinvigorated as we left the conference.
As far as the city itself, the 10 square blocks that I saw of Milwaukee were equally great. A diverse skyline with old buildings and cathedrals cozied up to contemporary office buildings, a river running through the center of the city, and a pleasant overcast weather (atypical for them, but made me feel at home). Downside: I didn’t love the food. If you know of delicious restaurants (with fresh food!) in Milwaukee, let me know!