Getting recharged at the 2011 MINDD International Forum on Children

By Alive & Well


I’m just back from the 2011 MINDD International Forum on Children that was held in Sydney, and I’m pumped. It was an educational, uplifting event – and my first gig as a wellness presenter (more on that later!).

The MINDD Foundation is a non-profit committed to improving the lives of children by promoting an integrative approach to healthcare that treats the underlying causes of disease in each individual. Their main focus is the so-called ‘four As’ – allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism, which in Australia now affect:

  • Allergies: 1 in 3 children
  • Asthma: 1 in 4
  • ADHD: 1 in 10
  • Autism: 1 in 100

Incredible statistics. And it was fascinating (and scary) to hear that childhood cancer, diabetes, obesity and depression have all more than doubled over the past two decades. As a generation, our kids will not outlive us.

The Forum provided a window into all the ways practitioners and researchers around the world are trying to help children heal from these conditions, delving into the science behind them and discussing techniques and therapies that address underlying imbalances and kick-start delayed development.

Conference highlights and recap

Dr Robyn Cosford (right) and me

Dr Robyn Cosford (right) and me

I attended the science stream this time. There was a lot to take in. As Dr Cosford says, it’s like we’re exploring an elephant – one group is discovering the ears while another is fixated on the toenails and so on. In an upcoming post, I’ll share some of the insights for parents from the science stream, so watch out for that.

There was fun stuff too:

  1. Presenting to the general stream about my tips for parents – it was awesome! I had some great conversations with parents afterwards and, by popular demand, will record the full version of the presentation for the blog in my next post.
  2. Hanging out with a whole posse of Son-Risers. We don’t get together very often so it was special to see so many Son-Rise mums, dads, playroom buddies and, of course, Son-Rise teacher extraordinaire Sean Fitzgerald. We shared our enthusiasm for the Son-Rise Program® with anyone who would listen.

The learning continues

After the Forum, I was given the privilege of sitting with Dr O’Hara and her US partner Dr Gail Szakacs as they worked with Australian families and their doctors on a case-by-case basis to help some beautiful little Aussies. Thank you to the extraordinary parents for allowing me to sit in. You know who you are and you inspire me. I was humbled by the experience.

And finally, on Tuesday night I attended a fundraising dinner for MINDD to support their priorities for the next 18 months:

  • Launching a comprehensive online portal to support families
  • Developing a Healthy Mindds cookbook promoting “nutrients in, toxins out” for families and professionals
  • Seeking seed funding for the development of a grassroots education program to be run in homes, schools and communities. If you can make a donation to help further their vital work, please visit MINDD.

Thank you so much to everyone involved. To the Director Leslie Embersits and the amazing Alexis for working tirelessly to make the Forum happen. To the presenters for sharing their knowledge and supporting our children. To the practitioner attendees for prioritising a holistic approach over a band-aid job. And finally to the parents and carers for learning from and loving their children every day.

Have you discovered MINDD yet? If you attended the Forum, how was it for you? (And if you can, get along to the 2013 event!)