Shonda Schilling to Share Personal Experience with Autism; Thousands to Attend Conference/Expo
Bethesda, MD—On Thursday, April 14, Shonda Schilling, wife of baseball hall-of-fame candidate Curt Schilling, will share her son Grant’s struggle with Asperger’s syndrome and the difference occupational therapy has made between peace and constant conflict for her family.
Schilling, New York Times best-selling author of The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome, describes the post-diagnosis guilt she had after learning she and her baseball-legend husband had been incorrectly parenting their autism spectrum child for years. She is available pre-conference to discuss how, as the wife of a Major League Baseball star, she was essentially a single parent for years, and how the realities of life in a baseball family made the situation with Grant even more difficult.
Mary Beth Kadlec, the occupational therapist helping Grant, is scheduled to introduce Schilling at the keynote address of the AOTA 91st Annual Conference and Expo taking place in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The address begins at 4 pm.
Approximately 7,000 people will be at the conference which runs from April 14-17. Forty percent of the exhibitors are looking to hire occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and OT educators.
Other highlights include:
- An exhibit hall with more than 381 vendors and 440 booths, many with interactive displays of the latest advances in technology and medicine including a state-of-the-art functional electrical stimulation (FES) system that sends low-level stimulation to the paralyzed muscles in an arm and hand, enabling the hand to open and close
- A “Transportation Zone” with specially adapted cars from Chrysler and General Motors staffed with professionals who help older drivers stay safe and aid drivers with physical disabilities
- OTs who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) who will speak on their expanding roles and areas such as amputee care, traumatic brain injury, behavioral health, and support of warrior transition units
- OT dogs—including several former rescued dogs—who help people with daily living skills
- A pre-conference seminar (April 13) at the Franklin Institute concentrating on ways occupational therapy practitioners can partner with museums to promote true access for all through universal design, environmental modifications and personnel training
Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the professional interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants, and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations, and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to www.aota.org.