March 3rd is the early registration deadline for the 2010 AOTA Conference! Save money and get in early. Still wavering on attending? Here are some considerations for a few common excuses...
"But I would rather only take courses in my specialty"
I think anyone would be hard pressed not to find some relevant topics in the conference program, despite their specialty. 3 hour workshops are offered in a wide range of topics and are quite detailed. While in-depth courses are good, seeking a variety of learning opportunities is a good change. Surely it is not anyone's goal to only learn more and more about less and less. Who knows what new ideas you could be exposed to and how it could make a difference in your career? (Also, if you don't feel that the conference offers enough courses in your specialty, why not consider presenting on the topic? That counts for credits too, and helps build the profession)
"Travel is too expensive"
There are LOTS of ways to save money attending conference. At least 100 students attend the ASD, and their income is substantially less than any employed OT. Use the Conference Connections board to find roommates- a hotel room split 4 ways is considerably cheaper than going it alone. Wear an OT shirt on your flight and you're almost guaranteed to meet a friend who will share a cab with you. Book flights early, and consider using credit card points to redeem for a discount on your ticket. Put yourself on a budget for meals. See if continental breakfast is offered at your hotel. I also frequently pack snacks and mini-meals- protein bars, shakes, pepperoni rolls (non-WV folk, you don't know what you're missing by refusing to put meat and bread together)- which saves money on lunches. Also, consider what your employer may offer you for attendance. Could you get paid education days? Could you get part of your registration paid for? Would they consider pitching in on travel expenses for an inservice after conference? ASK! The worst they can do is say no.
"But I could get CE credits cheaper elsewhere"
Yes, there are cheaper ways to find CEUs. Student supervision is free, but limited to a certain number of hours. There are journal articles that can be read, but many journals require a professional membership. And there are certain sites that offer free CE classes or offer to customize your class on "_____ for OT" for anywhere between 1-6 hours. But what is the overall quality of learning in those classes? What feedback do you get from the instructor or other learners? How will your professional life change following those classes? Let me assure you, it is different at the AOTA Conference.
"But I don't like to travel to fun places"
Just pretend that spring in Orlando is like winter in wherever you are, trapped under 3 feet of snow with only beenie weenies for nourishment. Or maybe seek treatment for anhedonia.