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Thinking Autism’s 2023 International Conference
Differential Diagnosis: Actionable Pathways to Improved Well-being
Over two information-packed days you will learn how to better recognise health challenges commonly associated with autism, how these issues run alongside and exacerbate autistic symptoms, and proven interventions that can elevate happiness and well-being for your loved one, yourself and your family. Just as importantly, you will have plenty of time to chat with presenters, autism-related exhibitors, and fellow delegates, including at our informal evening social events.
See the speaker line up below to learn about the wide range of topics this conference will cover.
Do you have some questions or concerns about the conference? We’ve prepared some answers at the bottom of the page and/or write us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 6, 2023 6:45 pm to 7:45 pm
Stella Chadwick: introductory presentation; Unlocking the Potential: Harnessing Nutrition in Biomedical Interventions for Autism Spectrum
The Friday evening presentation will be a great introduction for people new to nutrition and a helpful refresher for people who have been doing this a while. Stella and her team at Brainstorm Health have helped hundreds of families find ways to improve well-being. Please stay afterwards for a chance to socialize at our free Friday evening event.
Tickets: £10 (ticket price refunded to TA members who attend on the night, post event)
Conference Day 1: Saturday 7, 2023 – 09:00 – 17:00
Registration starts at 8:30. We will have the coffee and tea ready!
• Stella Chadwick Atlas: Navigating the Path to Success – Biomedical and Nutritional Interventions in Autism: Case Studies and Insights
Sometimes the best way to learn is to get insights from people who have already succeeded. Stella will be presenting case studies from her own practice, covering a wide variety of health concerns and symptoms and what has been proven to work.
• Gilian Crowther PANS/PANDAS the crossover between these conditions and autism
Gilian will be discussing the links between autism and PANS/PANDAS, how the biological mechanism of molecular mimicry can lead to the production of autoantibodies, resulting in neuropsychiatric symptoms, best known as infection-triggered autoimmune encephalopathy. She will explain testing, and how identifying and managing underlying infections, inflammation, and immune dysfunction can result in significant symptom improvements.
• Dr. Christian Bogner Etiology and diagnostic approaches to ASD
If you can better understand where something originated, its etiology, you can better understand how to make improvements. This lecture will cover some common causes of conditions often found in people with ASD and how to diagnose and therefore successfully improve symptoms. Dr. Bogner’s insights look beyond the autism label, which as a diagnosis often prevents professionals looking further.
• Dr Agnieszka Wroczyńska My autistic teen has been regressing: What to look for in medical diagnostics.
Based on her own experience as a parent and medical doctor, this talk will help families who need to discover what is causing their child to lose skills and function. Regression is common in autism, and heart-breaking. This talk will help guide family’s looking to stop and reverse regression.
• Dr. Richard Boles High Sensitivity for Monogenic Causal Diagnoses in Autism, Including De Novo Variants Representing Novel Disorders, with Trio Whole Genome Sequencing and Data Reanalysis
Autism has a genetic component but that is not the end of the story. While some people have used the term genetic to imply fixed and untreatable, this is not the case at all. New testing options can help you to tailor nutritional approaches and interventions. While this title talk may not make sense to everyone, the presentation will.
• Stella Chadwick Empowering Change: Unveiling Breakthroughs in Biomedical and Nutritional Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Further Case Studies
Food can be medicine. Sometimes removing certain foods can be medicine too! Stella will share success stories from families just like yours who have seen significant improvements in happiness, health and function by using targeted interventions, including dietary ones but also much more.
• Peter Lloyd-Thomas Discovery methods to treat Autism symptoms and comorbidities: Insights and observations from those who have tried to use Personalized Medicine
Peter Lloyd-Thomas saw incredible positive changes in his son, and fuelled by that has spent years interacting with and supporting hundreds of families through his blog. Learn about approaches that can work when testing may not be an option.
• Anita Kugelstadt Glutamates, seizures, the vagus nerve and measuring improvements: Making progress at age 20
• 18:00 – 22:00 Evening Event. Time to relax! Let us do the cooking (and dishes!). Tickets: £20. Have fun, share stories, have a drink, pick up hints and tips from fellow parents, carers and autistic people. Build your network and recharge your batteries with people who understand your story over a delicious hot buffet dinner. Previous delegates have made friendships that have spanned decades.
Cash bar. Tickets must be purchased separately. Only open to conference delegates
Conference Day 2: Sunday October 8, 2023 – 09:00 – 17:00
Registration starts at 8:30. We will have the coffee and tea ready!
• Dr. Ben Marlow Medical comorbidities in Profound Autism: The impact of genetic testing on better understanding and managing them
Genetic testing is a growing and exciting field that can help provide some answers and a guiding light for making intervention decisions. Those people with profound autism often suffer from the most and the most debilitating medical conditions and symptoms common in people with ASD. Sadly, these people with the highest needs are often overlooked by research but there is much that can be done.
• Dr Christian Bogner Therapeutic interventions in ASD
Learn from Dr. Bogner’s large medical practice and research as he shares important insights regarding what families can do and what has helped others.
• Dr. Richard Boles Autism and ADHD: Diet and supplement strategies to improve outcomes informed by the latest science in genetics and mitochondrial medicine.
You may already know that mitochondria are the powerhouses found in each and every one of our cells. Mitochondrial problems are common in ASD and improving that can make significant changes to well-being and functioning.
• Dr. Ben Marlow The microbiome: Differences in Autism, current research and future therapeutics
More and more, people are realizing the massive impact of microbiome health. Much of us is, in fact, bacteria, and the composition of that bacteria makes a huge difference in our well-being and behaviour. This talk will focus on common microbiome problems found in ASD and how they can be treated, often with incredibly positive outcomes.
• Peter Lloyd-Thomas Strategies used by known autism clinicians vs parents applying personalized medicine This talk will cover a lot of ground, looking at interventions that have been commonly used in autism, highlighting some of the successes and why these might work
• Dr Agnieszka Wroczyńska Translating Autism Guidelines: What to expect from mainstream medicine in terms of diagnostics.
This talk will help you understand how to better advocate with mainstream medical professionals, preventing symptoms and problems from simply being dismissed as autism. As both a medical doctor and a parent of a child with autism, Dr. Wroczyńska is well-placed to provide insights that will make a difference as you seek help.
Learn more about our speakers
Dr Christian Bogner is a lecturer, educator and experienced practicing clinician. His services specialize in online education for his patients. He is a Functional Medicine certified physician with additional board certification in OBGYN. He has obtained his certification in Plant-Based-Nutrition from Cornell University.
He is a clinical consultant for MaxGen Labs, LLC, a nutrigenomics lab analyzing genetic data, utilized by over 800 practitioners around the world. He has lectured throughout the United States and abroad regarding integrative approaches to disease with a focus on genetics, neurotransmitters and toxicities.
He has studied key genetic codes responsible for detoxification, inflammation, methylation, cell repair, and the coordination of neurotransmitter metabolism.
Dr Bogner will be giving two presentations:
‘Etiology and diagnostic approaches to ASD Therapeutic interventions in ASD’, and ‘Therapeutic interventions in ASD’
Dr. Richard Boles is a medical geneticist and a paediatrician who specialises in mitochondrial medicine, functional disease (including cyclic vomiting syndrome, other atypical forms of migraine, and chronic fatigue syndrome) and autism spectrum disorders. His expertise stems from decades of both clinical work and research at a major academic centre as well as from his most recent experience in cutting edge biotechnology and genomics. He uses an innovative and integrative approach in both diagnosis and treatment to best serve his patients. He treats children and young adults (up to age 25) with a variety of conditions.
Dr Boles will be giving two presentations:
‘High Sensitivity for Monogenic Causal Diagnoses in Autism, Including De Novo Variants Representing Novel Disorders, with Trio Whole Genome Sequencing and Data Reanalysis’, and ‘Autism and ADHD: Diet and supplement strategies to improve outcomes informed by the latest science in genetics and mitochondrial medicine.’
Dr Ben Marlow (MBiochem ABPI MBBS MRCPCH PGCME) Paediatric Consultant (Neurodisability), Colchester General Hospital, ESNEFT Clinical Director of the Synapse Centre, ESNEFT
Ben Marlow is a Paediatric Consultant with an interest in neurodevelopment having completed his special interest (SPIN) training in neurodisability at Cambridge and Luton. He joined the team at Colchester General Hospital, Essex, in 2019. He is Research lead and neurodisability lead for the department and head of the East of England Research Group for Community Paediatrics.
He has worked in the NHS for nearly 10 years having completed his medical training at University College London (UCL). Prior to his role as a doctor, he completed a Masters in Biochemistry and worked for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and UCB Pharma in Research and Development. He also completed a research fellowship at the University of Florida.
He has a keen interest in the neurobiology of neurodevelopmental disorders, especially the fields of neuroimmunology and metabolism. He is very keen to help advocate and advance the translation of science into treatments for children with neurodisabling conditions, particularly within the field of Autism. At the beginning of 2020 he was awarded the Gupta Foundation Young Researcher Award and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) local research network principal investigator support funding.
He is a Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, British Association of Childhood Disability (BACD) and British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA).
Dr. Marlow will be giving two presentations:
‘Medical comorbidities in Profound Autism: The impact of genetic testing on better understanding and managing them’, and ‘The microbiome: Differences in Autism, current research and future therapeutics’
Dr Agnieszka Wroczyńska is a board certified internal medicine specialist. She has published over 50 articles in peer reviewed journals, conference presentations and book chapters. Since 2014 she has been the physician in charge of her son with autism and complex medical issues.
Dr. Wroczyńska will be giving two presentations:
‘Translating Autism Guidelines: What to expect from mainstream medicine in terms of diagnostics’ and ‘My autistic teen has been regressing: What to look for in medical diagnostics’
Stella Chadwick founded Brainstorm Health® in 2014 with a commitment to achieving optimum health for children with Autism, ADHD, PANS and PANDAS, as well those with behavioural and learning difficulties and food and chemical sensitivities.
Stella is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Functional Medicine Practitioner. Her extensive professional training includes a 1st Class BSC Honours (Nutritional Therapy) degree as well a specific training focus on the principles of Functional Medicine – which assesses and addresses the underlying causes of conditions.
Stella has a special interest in the relationship between the health of the gut and the brain as well as autoimmune conditions such as PANDAS and PANS; and food and chemical sensitivities.
Stella will be giving and introductory presentation Friday evening, as well as two presentations on Saturday:
Friday – ‘Unlocking the Potential: Harnessing Nutrition in Biomedical Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder’
Saturday – ‘Atlas: Navigating the Path to Success – Biomedical and Nutritional Interventions in Autism: Case Studies and Insights’, and ‘Empowering Change: Unveiling Breakthroughs in Biomedical and Nutritional Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Further Case Studies’
Peter Lloyd-Thomas is an independent researcher, trawling through the scientific literature and doing some experiments along the way. He is not a doctor, but has a Master’s degree in Engineering from Imperial College, London, a National Engineering Scholarship and an MBA from INSEAD, a business school near Paris.
Peter’s younger son was born in 2003 with severe autism. His son is the star of Peter’s very popular blog, https://www.epiphanyasd.com/ The combination of personalised medicine and personalised education has greatly improved his son’s well-being. Peter is also the author of Game Changer: Improving the Outcome in Severe Autism Using Personalised Medicine.
Peter’s research interest is translating Autism Science into Autism Therapy. This is a pro bono activity and his blog has no financial input or output. He is a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation.
Peter will be giving two presentations:
‘Discovery methods to treat Autism symptoms and comorbidities: Insights and observations from those who have tried to use Personalized Medicine’, and ‘Strategies used by known autism clinicians vs parents applying personalized medicine’
Delegate feedback from previous conferences
“I would’ve travelled to the moon to help my child. In the end I only had to go as far as central London to find a room full of people with great ideas to steer me in the right direction and explore otherwise unknown options.”
“This event exceeded my expectations totally; very stimulating, informative and encouraging! I also liked the friendly atmosphere at the conference.”
“I have attended the Thinking Autism conferences for a number of years. My son has an improved outlook that is a direct result of the information I have learned. The effect that this has on us as a family cannot be underestimated. Thank you for all your hard work.”
“We first came to a TA conference when my 6 year old daughter was still severely ill, could not sleep, had chronic diarrhoea, was spinning and stacking everything, was screaming if moved from a staring position, and was still eating 0-3 months baby food. This was after exploring everything the NHS could offer and being told just to get used to it as it will be like that forever. Within 2 months of following advice from TA our daughter slept through the night and ate adult food and lost her diarrhoea and this has never regressed. From there she has steadily lost her symptoms and is now learning really well. Without TA we would be nowhere and the conference is a way to learn at lightning speed the latest developments.”
“Thinking Autism is a lifeline for our family. It is our first port of call for any queries related to autism, for networking with other families and for information that is vital on our day-to-day living with autism. With Thinking Autism we feel valued, respected and that we are not alone. We owe Thinking Autism our greatest and deepest gratitude.”
“Our paediatrician told us that our 2 year old son was the most severely affected autistic child she had ever seen and that we should prepare ourselves for a non verbal nappy wearing adult. Fast forward 16 years and our 18 year old has language, understanding and with his love of cooking is about to go to college to study catering. More importantly he is happy and healthy. We attended many TA conferences over the years, met like minded people, learned a lot about how the body influences the symptoms and comorbidities of autism and learned to look beyond the label.”
Frequently asked questions
Why this conference?
We are parents – we formed this charity because we were able to help our loved ones and think that everyone should have that opportunity. Conferences are the fastest way to gather the most recent information and increase your circle of support – nothing else comes close – and so our volunteers undertake the effort and costs. Conferences are rare and there is no guarantee that we will be able to hold another, part of the reason we encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity.
Our charity has hosted over a dozen small and large conferences and the feedback we consistently get is that the experience is hugely beneficial – informative and invigorating. Our delegates range from parents of newly diagnosed children to paediatricians. We design the conference to meet a wide range of needs and interests.
I don’t have time to attend a conference, I’m a full time carer.
We know that it’s tough to get time and space to attend a conference. You could attend either day of the conference and get a great overview, if one day is the most you can organise. Our charity makes every effort to offer support and information in multiple ways, but we can’t stress enough how incredibly useful and uplifting it is for parents and carers to be together in the room. Beg, borrow and steal some support so you can be with us. We promise it will be incredibly worth while
I can’t afford all the testing and interventions that these conferences talk about. We’re struggling to keep body and soul together.
While we wish with all our hearts that appropriate health care and interventions for people with ASD were provided free, sadly that is not often the case. It will generally cost the family money out of pocket. But, our aim is to give you targeted information and help that is affordable and accessible. For example, with genetic testing so much cheaper and far more detailed these days, testing information can help you avoid missteps that cost time and money. Other talks will consider a wide range of medical testing for diagnosis, when it might or might not be necessary, and the best tests to use in the circumstances, again allowing you to make money-saving decisions with that information. Our speakers will focus on details that can make an important difference in creating your treatment and intervention plan, meaning you can save both time and money and feel more confident in your decisions.
We appreciate that accommodation in London is not the cheapest but the same is true in any major UK city. In planning the conference, we need to choose a venue that works for our needs, the needs of the speakers who are travelling from overseas, and is central to the many, many delegates who will be travelling, often from other countries. Those venues are rare. As well, we get our best attendance when the conference is central, like London.
Cutting the cost.
If you’re able to offer or would like to access a car share do let us know and we’ll see if we can pair you up. If you are able to offer or would like to access a spare room in London again let us know. We hope to be able to help people find ways to travel and places to stay that will make attendance more affordable.
We’ve done everything we can to keep costs for the conference low. While we can’t control the price of rail tickets or hotels, we’ve provided what is the lowest cost autism conference of this calibre in the UK. Please write to us if money is the only thing holding you back from attending.
I’m overwhelmed, I’m shy or I’m autistic myself – I won’t know a soul.
If you’d like, we can organise a buddy for you but our experience tells us that won’t be necessary. Our conferences are the friendliest places in the world and most people attend on their own. You will be among friends and supporters. But, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to help!
We will be creating zones for discussion during the conference breaks. These will be places you can have your coffee or tea and know that other people there want to talk about specific topics, just like you. Zones will focus on topics (such as gut health, sleep problems) that reflect common struggles in autism. You don’t need to use this aspect of the conference, but it will be there for those who want to.
If you are worried about being alone at the conference, remember you can find one of our TA volunteers. We’ll be easy to spot and we can introduce you to people who may live close to you or who have other things in common with you. We promise you won’t be alone for very long at all!
Where is it? How do I get there?
Queens Gate House is within a few minutes’ walk of either Gloucester Road or South Kensington tube. It’s on Cromwell Road and is very well served by buses. There are lots of hotels within walking distance and if you’re aiming to be close to the venue we recommend using Booking.com to nail down the best prices. If your family is going to accompany you to London, we’re just a short walk from the Victoria & Albert, Natural History and Science Museums if kids or loved ones need entertaining. If you are attending in tandem (that is swapping attenders to share child care) please let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you.
We are aware that rail strikes may still be happening in October, which is a worry for those who plan to travel by train. While we remain hopeful, should a strike happen you are entitled to a refund for your ticket. Strike days and the routes impacted are announced in advance and we believe this will give people a chance to change plans, should that become necessary.
Taking a coach is also an option, one that will not be affected by a possible rail strike.
How much can a conference help me? I’ve been doing this a long time.
Short answer? A lot! We encourage you to remember how valuable your time at the conference was – the support, the inspiration, what you learned, the chance to sleep through the night!
We have chosen up-to-date speakers and topics who are able to provide new information to you, and there will be Q&A sessions with the speakers. While there is overlap in the topics we’ve addressed at other conference, much of the information will be brand new. As well, it is always helpful to be reminded of things you’ve forgotten over the years.
If you add up the number of years the small handful of TA volunteers have been trying to help their children, it’s well over a century! Yet, we are all looking forward to learning new and better ways to help our own loved ones, all of whom are over 20 years old.
And don’t forget, you’ll get to meet up with old friends, and make new ones. Your time will allow you to pay it forward to people who are brand new to this, like others did for you many years ago.
You will charge your batteries, which, if you are like the mums who run the charity, have been running very low for years. We understand exhaustion and feeling like your brain is already full, but we also know that making the effort to spend the weekend with like-minded people, including experts to teach us, is one of the best ways to feel re-energised.
What kind of questions can I expect to get some answers to? (Please note, when we say child, we mean a loved one of any age with ASD. We know that no one is too old to improve their well-being).
• Could there be something genetic that I could address that will help my child?
• Why does my child seem to progress and then regress?
• Are there low-cost changes I could make to help my child?
• What diagnostic tools would help me uncover the causes of symptoms I see?
• Is there a way for me to better individualise my child’s diet and supplements?
• What approaches have worked for someone who has the same symptoms as my child?
• I see breathing and digestion issues in my child – is there a link?
• I think my child has mitochondrial problems – how can I help?
• Aside from autism, my child has many health issues – how do they connect and what can I do?
• My child seems anxious and has a racing heart quite often. How can I help?
• I’ve heard of PANS/PANDAS – could my child have that as well as autism?
• My child really struggles with ADHD. How can I help?
• Are there strategies to help me recognise symptoms and what they might mean?
• What can I do to improve my child’s immune system?
• I’ve heard of Lyme disease – could my child have that?
• How would I know if mitochondrial problems are causing my child’s symptoms and how would I improve them?
Are there other benefits to attending?
All delegates will be able to talk with exhibitors about their services and products. The schedule leaves you plenty to time to ask questions and get answers from our ASD-friendly exhibitors, speakers and fellow delegates.
You’ll have the chance to buy the book Game Changer: Improving the Outcome in Severe Autism for less than anywhere else and talk to the author, Peter Lloyd-Thomas.
We have organised social events on both Friday and Saturday (tickets £20 for a meal) evenings. Both of these are informal and will provide you a fantastic chance to both relax and spend time with fellow delegates, sharing and learning. .
This weekend is one of the few times you can concentrate on how to best help your child or yourself, without distraction. Many attendees tell us that they learn incredibly valuable information not just from the speakers, but from the other delegates they meet and talk to. Speaking in person is far more impactful, detailed and useful than what we’re able to share by writing posts on social media.
I have to travel from far and will need a place to stay.
We realise that staying at a hotel is expensive. We made a great deal of effort to find a nearby hotel that would offer our delegates a deal; however, there were no places interested.
But, we are hoping to connect people who may choose to share a room at one of the many nearby hotels, offer a room (or couch!) to someone who is coming from outside London, or who may choose a lower cost hotel some distance from the venue and share cab/Uber costs for traveling back and forth. Please contact us at email@example.com if you would like or can offer some help.
We also encourage you to contact old friends in London and ask for a place to stay. We are certain they’d love to see you and this would mean your conference weekend could be a bit of a reunion as well as more affordable.
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