Behind the Scenes at ISAAC Conference 2020 – Part 2

06-Feb-2020

By Gabriela Mangino, Conference 2020 Co-Chair

“I love that everything I have learned with my son,
I apply during the organization of the conference.”

I am Gaby Mangino. I have a major in business administration and have two children: Daniela, she is 12, and Diego, who is 11 years old and is an AAC user, as he has cerebral palsy.

For 19 years, I’ve been working as a freelance in a market research company where I have projects that I can do from home, so it allows me to support Diego in all his needs and take him to his therapies.

Since my son was a baby, he started going to CATIC, a therapy center in Mexico City with a special education program focused on communication. There, I was taught about the importance of communication, and I have seen through the years that is has gained national and international recognition, has growth. After some years of taking Diego to CATIC, I was invited to be part of parents’ group, in which we organized some events for the students and courses and workshops for parents. But the work started growing as we began to raise funds to bring recognized therapists to Mexico to evaluate the children and give courses, and have organized camps. We made a great team!

Gabriela Berlanga and Marcela Manzur, owners of CATIC, and Wendy Moreno and me, mothers of CATIC´s pupils.

Gabriela Berlanga and Marcela Manzur, owners of CATIC, and Wendy Moreno and me, mothers of CATIC’s pupils.

When CATIC asked me if I wanted to be a co-chair of the ISAAC´s Conference 2020 in Cancún, my first answer was, “Yes, of course!” I was aware that it would require additional work, but it lifted my self-esteem simply because it meant that I had done a good job, they trusted me, and, above all, they believed that I was capable of doing it. It was a new challenge to get out of my comfort zone where everything was already settled. I am no longer just Daniela and Diego’s mother. I am also Gabriela Mangino, a professional who has the great responsibility for a successful international conference.

I love that everything I have learned with my son, I apply during the organization of the conference. At all times I think about his needs, how I would do it and what would be the easiest for my son if he were in that place or in that situation. If so, then I think this will be very useful for other AAC users to feel more comfortable.

During all years at CATIC, I have learned about AAC and other topics related to it. Also, I learned about ISAAC (International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and noticed that while AAC is very common in other countries, in Mexico it is hardly known. So, it is a challenge to make it known all around the country.

It has not been easy. The organization of the conference has involved been a great deal of work and I am sure the work will increase as the date approaches. But I do it with pleasure. Besides the work itself, my role with ISAAC 2020 has allowed me to know more about AAC and, above all, to get to know successful adult AAC users who inspire me to keep up my efforts in order to improve Diego’s communication.

First published in the ISAAC CSWN Newsletter, December 2019 edition

**Read “Behind the Scenes at ISAAC Conference 2020: Part 1,” by Wendy Moreno, here

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