Parents whose children have autism spectrum disorder say they’re happy to see so many resources available to them in one place at Quebec's first autism convention in Laval this weekend.

Held at the Cosmodome in Laval, the Salon de l’Autisme features different services and numerous speakers, including adults with autism.

“We want people to talk about certain things, because autism is complex,” said Brigitte Harrisson, founder of Saccade, an autism spectrum intervention group.

Harrisson was diagnosed with autism in her 30s and holds talks to help parents understand their children's behaviour.

Also at the convention are devices to help parents, such as a GPS tracking device designed for people with ASD. Tony Fama, president of iLOC Technologies, who came up with the idea after he lost his son in Disney World.            

“I got him back and everything was fine, thank God, but that doesn't work out the same way with a lot of wandering instances. In autism over 50 per cent will end up wandering,” said Fama.

The convention is the brainchild of Salon de l’Autisme president Johanne Leduc, whose two sons were diagnosed with different levels of ASD.

Her goal was to have all of the treatment options in one place.

“There is a lot of service, otherwise there wouldn't be any people around here. The problem as a parent is we have an impression that there are no services,” said Leduc.                         

Autism affects about 1 in 68 children in Canada.

Still, parents say that it's difficult to find the right type of treatment for their child. Conventions allow parents to explore different ways to treat various levels of autism.

“They have Mira dogs for autistic children, and it's supposed to help a lot so we put our name on the list for that,” said Sofie Guegan, who is the parent of child with ASD.

The convention also offers private and public programs, including summer camps and schools.

It runs until Sunday.

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