National expert returning to Yuma for OCD/ADHD seminar
More than a decade after her son, Aaron, was first diagnosed with a neurological disorder, Carol Engler isn't ashamed of her son's behavior.
She laughs about it.
"He went through this phase where he touched everything three times," she said. "He would touch his shoulder three times. He would touch his head three times. He would turn up the volume on the radio three times. And if I stop him, he would start it all over again."
Engler accepts it because she knows her son doesn't do this on purpose. Aaron has Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, all mental conditions which affect his ability to conform to society's behavior standards and concentrate in the classroom.
After figuring out why her son was acting strangely, Engler first worked to educate his teachers about the diseases. Since then Engler made it her mission to educate others about it.
"I've made it my personal goal to educate as many people as I can about it," she said.
As part of her public awareness plan, Engler is inviting everyone to attend the ADHD/ACA/ADD/TS Conference this week.
The seminar will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday at Carpe Diem at First Christian Church, 221 E. 26th Place. The event is free to the public and will end at 4:30 p.m.
Susan Conners, an education specialist who has appeared on national television shows, will lead the conference. She is considered to be an authority on Tourette Syndrome and co-occurring conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Sal Rodriguez, exceptional student services director for the Crane Elementary School District, said the conference is an important tool for parents and educators in the area.
"Now days we have a heightened sense to educate people about undiagnosed problems which affect the schools," he said. "As a nation, we need to be proactive about these behaviors."
This is Conners' second visit to Yuma. She presented a day-long seminar focused on Tourette Syndrome in October.
More than 100 teachers have already registered for this week's seminar. The school districts are providing substitute teachers for their classes, Engler said.
"I've never heard of anything like this," she said. "The schools have been so receptive. There is such a need for teachers to know about this because it's facing them in the classroom daily. I think they are thirsting for the knowledge."
Rodriguez said both parents and teachers have a responsibility to recognize the symptoms in children.
"We need to learn to help them overcome these barriers," he said. "We have to learn. It's more than the individual. It has an effect on all of us."
The event is sponsored by Southwest Area Special Education Directors, the National Tourette's Syndrome Association, ADE-ESS Department and Engler, a Yuma Realtor.
For more information, contact Londa Scott at 373-4161.
Michelle Kann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6855.