Today, Princess Marie was in Odense to attend the SIKON Conference hosted by the Danish Association for Autism.
The SIKON Conference is held over two days and celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Princess Marie is Patron of the Danish Association for Autism since November 2011 and she attended the SIKON Conference in April 2015.
Those who take part in the SIKON Conference can attend presentations, participate in courses and share their knowledge about autism.
During today’s event, Princess Marie was on hands to give the Autism Prize before meeting with lecturers and participants and learning about the different stands. The Autism Prize 2018 went to Felix Munch and Ellen Vallentin for their important work on research into parents with autism.
She also had the opportunity to test a new rocking chair that is used to soothe autistic children as part of a new therapy.
Here is Princess Marie’s speech:
“Congratulations on the anniversary!
The SIKON conference has been held 30 times. The first time was in Copenhagen in 1988. It was then when autism was a rare diagnosis and therefore the conference was also quite small, only approx. 5% of the participants present today.
At that time, only a small group of parents and professionals had seen autism. Today we are many, more than 800 people.
Because we’ve gotten better to spot things that are hard to see!
An anniversary is always a good opportunity to correct the eyes of the years gone by.
You can ask yourself some questions about,
- Why you took the choices you took in your life, and you can reflect on whether you actually achieved what you had set for.
Or if everything went according to plan, whether it was attained its goals or whether it was more coincidental. And what had you really done if you had chosen to do something completely different from what you did … would you have been somewhere else right now?
You can also choose to look at everything from above, looking at something other than yourself. Look at the community around, the life you live, and dive into some social issues and ask for example:
- How was the quality of life for people with autism 30 years ago?
- What was their biggest challenge then?
- What have we been doing in the 30 years and how do they have it today?
One can look at their opportunities to develop their identity and ask:
- Are autistic children part of our kindergartens and schools today?
- Will autistic young people get in education and do they get work in our businesses?
- Do they earn money, and do they gain independence from others, or should we always care for them – and how do we do it in the best possible way?
- Will they meet with the acceptance and recognition of other people in our society or are we trying to “file them a bit” so they are easier to fit?
Some time ago, I met Lasse at Novo Nordisk where he is employed by Project Opportunity. Lasse was employed as an operator in the production department, he did the job perfectly. It was quite accidentally discovered that Lasse had “hidden talents”, he could find visual errors in language patterns – Lasse suddenly became invaluable because he was ” seen “.
Because we see autism now. We recognize the behavior that characterizes autism, so the question must be whether we also see the talents of autistic people. Have we been better at finding their skills?
Have we changed our attitudes and our view of diversity, we have become more open to diversity, and more tolerant?
We are, maybe …
But now we are going to look forward and SIKON has again, this year, gathered some highly skilled researchers, professors and speakers who will inform us and make us even more aware of our topic Autism!
I wish you a very good conference!”
Princess Marie wore a recycled outfit today! She chose to wear her Hugo Boss white printed dress. She first wore it while visiting the HC Andersen Children Hospital in 2017.
She also carried her old Yves Saint Laurent black tote bag and she wore black pumps. I believe they are the Jimmy Choo ‘Romy’ suede pumps she debuted earlier this month.
We’ll see Princess Marie tomorrow again when she’ll attend the spring concert of the Children Association.