Pat Graham is one of the Board of Governors of PAMIS, and a keynote speaker at the PITL Conference.

She was a speaker at at the IASSID Conference (the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) in Melbourne, Australia.

She wrote this as feedback for the event.

Something really quite fabulous happened to me
Would I go to a conference in the Antipodes?
I forgot the jet lag and the 20 hour flight
Sitting bolt upright in a tin sausage all night

I’ll do it. I’ll do it. No persuasion required
I’ve got time on my hands. After all I’m retired
Bring on the sightseeing. Lead me to the free lunch
‘You’ve got to speak at the conference!!’ Ah ….there’s the crunch

Back to the food.. let’s try Aussie grub out for size
It turned out there was no lunch. Free or otherwise!
There wasn’t much coffee and even less cake
At my age that’s what helps to keep my awake

There were professors, researchers, experts galore
Keen as mustard PhD students by the score
But where were families and carers? Where were our guys?
Notable by their absence. Why was I surprised?

Jenny’s skills as a networker are unparalleled
The looks on folks’ faces are a sight to behold
She tells random strangers without further ado
We’re from Scotland and we’re passionate about loos

Melbourne had some changing place facilities
But none at a conference on disability?
When I phoned them up to query the position
Their staff didn’t even understand the question

I didn’t agree with all of the things that I heard
And some of the science went right over my head
But I was pleased that so many from near and far
Were contemplating causes so close to our heart

So how do I sum up what the conference taught me
We shouldn’t be humble about what we’ve achieved
We’re experts, not scholars, but do more than enough
Our child’s our life’s work and it’s a labour of love

There were plenty theories and not enough practice
But academics can’t juggle 10 balls quite like us
So let’s use our imagination and courage
Then break all the rules and create Pamis College

I didn’t get to speak until the very last day
By the end of the week I was feeling quite brave
I had time for only half of what I’d prepared
But was surprised to find that they really did care

Then as we were leaving I heard someone shout
Please fill in the questionnaire on your way out.
Even though it’s not like me to be so perverse
I decided I’d give them my feedback ….. in verse