So, after a long train ride to Toronto, a rather jumble of confusion in the subway, and a check in at the hotel, I arrived at IMFAR 2012 on Wednesday, May 16th. Okay, so I arrived a day early for IMFAR, and from the amount of people standing around chatting wearing IMFAR badges, so did others. It was extremely exciting for me to be there, at my first research conference. The following is my experiences with presentations, the conference itself, and my thoughts about it all. But beforehand, a few things to remember:
1) I am not a scientist and I am disabled. I often found myself relying on the tweets and notes that the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism
put out because they explained it in ways that I could understand, and they're a lot faster in information processing and typing than I am. They also could interpret the presenters whom I had trouble following along due to my own lack of understanding and their own presentation style (Seriously, some of them really needed public speaking skills; I understand they're researchers, but they're presenting on behalf of the entire team....)
2) Most of the studies presented have not been peer-reviewed, and some of them have not been completed yet. They are summaries of what they have found so far, and current speculation on results. I tried my best to speculate how the results could potentially affect the lives of autistic people.
3) This is my first science conference, and it has been a huge learning experience. Not just the science, but also learning how to report/live tweet, how to read the schedules, and taking down the names of people I talked to and their abstracts (business cards helped a bit). Some things I feel I didn't do a good job, because well, I'm sometimes slow at typing and there was a LOT of information to process. However, where I feel I may be lacking, I feel that Estee Klar and the ladies from TPGA did an excellent job, so I highly recommend looking into their reports for more information.