After teaching and consulting during the day, the three of us drove over to the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids and checked into a room for our first Totally Social sleepover. HA! After settling in, having dinner, and prepping for the next day, we reviewed our PowerPoint once more and had a great evening of laughing and stories. The next morning we had Sabra and my favorite treat, Starbucks, and set up our presentation space. At about 8:00 am (we started at 8:15), Sabra and I noticed our fearless mentor was no longer with us. As we set out to gather her up from probably talking with someone she knew, Sabra noticed Temple standing right outside the next room. Knowing Chris would be bold enough to approach her, we knew we had to find her fast. All of a sudden we realized that Dr. Grandin was speaking with someone. As you can guess, that someone was Chris!!! We walked over like giddy teenagers and listened in to the tail end of their conversation. Chris was sharing our session topic and the legal issues she is becoming more and more involved in. Temple had quite the strong feeling about this outcome and naturally we were all ears to hear her speak. As much as we wanted to soak up these moments, we knew the morning had to go on. Chris said her goodbye and offered our session for Temple to come to, which she said she "might stop by" (!!!). We were just geeked! We were all set to share our programming experiences at the middle and high school level and hoped to inspire many to replicate programming in their own districts/counties. While we believe that those who attend are truly meant to be there, we had less participants than we expected. But, never to be defeated, we celebrated taking the risk of presenting to people representing parts all over the state of Michigan. We met great people who share our vision and hope that they too will spread the word about creating these electives for students. It was a great experience! After presenting, we scooted over to the ballroom to hear Temple Grandin be the keynote speaker, introduced by our Lt. Governor, Brian Calley, which we proudly said to each other, "we know him....we met with him about autism". Needless to say, Temple's messages echo much of what we believe in and loved listening to her thoughts, research, and perspectives. We enjoyed a nice lunch together, did some networking, looked at all the vendors and finally took the journey home. It was a whirlwind, but we had an incredibly memorable time. If you know of anyone interested in hearing our presentation, please feel free to let us know through email or in person. Sabra and I would like to extend our warmest thanks and sentiments of gratitude to Chris. She has encouraged us to do more than we ever thought we could in this field. We would not have so many of the experiences we do without her. There would be no Totally Social without her bringing us all together. Thank you, Rans. We can't wait to see what is in store for the three of us!
3/8/2015 12:40:37 pm
Isn't that the truth! Chris Rans is truly the driving force of Totally Social ASD and the success that I have had so far as a professional. I am inspired and challenged every day by her influence. I am so blessed and will strive hard to never take for granted the influence that Rans has made in my life. I just love her so much.
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