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Report from AMCHP

by Janell Wells

On Saturday, March 4 through Tuesday, March 7, I participated in the AMCHP [Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs) Conference. I was asked to give a speech on transitioning from pediatric to adult health care services.

I went with my mom and we got there on Saturday and I went to register. This was in a huge hotel like I had never seen before. I went down to register and it seemed like there was millions of people. I had asked mom if that was all that was going to be here and she said no that there where about 200 more missing. At first I felt like a little ant. All those grown ups and one kid. I mean there where other kids there but not teenagers. Most of them where younger kids that where 6 and 7 years old. But then I met allot of people while I was there. Some were my moms friends but some were just friendly and wanted to learn more about our point of view.

I gave my speech on Sunday to a full room of more than 100 people, many people were standing up. I was the only teen on the speaking panel. I was nervous at first but then it got to me and I just relaxed and went through it. Other people on the panel where really nice to me, Josie Woll (parent leader from Hawaii) who presented after me included me in her speech using what I had just said as examples.

When I was done and the meeting was all over, many of the people walked up and was said what a great job I did and how well I knew this topic and how proud my mom must be of me. For the rest of the conference I couldn't walk around in the hotel and have some one not stop me and say what a great job I did on my speech. I really liked that because its not everyday that you get to give a speech that will help more generations of teens to come behind us. By giving that speech I helped more then 100 people understand what it was like to go through transitioning.

Many of the parents asked me questions like, what age do you think I should start talking with my kid about what he or she is going to go through when he or she transitions into the adult heath care. It felt really good to know that I helped them understand what its like from a teens point of view not from and adult going through a teen to tell the story.

And that's why others need to do the same thing. It is hard at first, but afterwards you are thinking about the next time and what you would say or do different to help them understand even more.

AMCHP is a large organization that works very heard on national and state program and policies that impact women, children and families in key public health issues. Janell was invited to speak as a representatives of young people with special health care needs "transitioning" out of high school and into work or school.

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