On March 16th Bob Doman gave three lectures to groups of professionals and parents in Sofia, Bulgaria. The topics of the lectures were Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Brain Injury/Cerebral Palsy.
The lectures were organized by Gabriela Trichkova, one of our super NACD moms, and the Bulgarian Down syndrome Parents’ Organization. Gabriela was anxious to help educate both professionals and parents in Bulgaria about NACD’s perspectives, as well as help change the view of potential and offer a means of achieving better outcomes.
It was a great pleasure and an honor to speak with the folks in Bulgaria. Gabriela did a great job of organizing everything and making sure that I was well taken care of while in Bulgaria. Arriving in Sofia felt a bit like coming home. As the plane landed I could see the city laid out at the foot of the beautiful mountains that were still covered with snow. It looked just like landing in Salt Lake City, Utah. The mountain overlooking Sofia, from what I understand, is Vitosha, which is one of the symbols of Sofia, just as Mount Ogden is back home.
It’s interesting that upon arrival in a new county with a very different language and different form of government than ours, it felt like home. Throughout my stay, meeting, lecturing, speaking with the people, sharing meals with our NACD families, and touring Sofia, it only reinforced how much it felt like home and the people like family. As I travel and meet with families and professionals around the world, the word “foreign” is becoming more and more “foreign” to me. Children have the same needs, parents have the same love and motivation to help their children, and fortunately most of those working with children have their hearts in the right place and are looking for ways to do what they do better.
I was very pleased by the attitudes and interest expressed by everyone attending the lectures. The group was obviously bright and anxious to learn whatever they could to further either their work or their efforts with their own children. I felt that I was able to provide them with some new insights and perspectives and hopefully did enough to help change some children’s lives. From the response I received, I feel the conference was a success.
I wish to thank everyone who made my visit to Bulgaria possible and look forward to seeing and helping more and more of these children and families.