Please feel free to distribute this CFP in appropriate locations.
Association for Autistic Community is seeking presentations for our first Annual Conference, the “Association for Autistic Community Conference” (AACC).
About AAC and AACC:
DATES: July 28 through August 1, 2014
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: March 30, 2014
LOCATION: California University of Pennsylvania (in the TOWN of California in the STATE of Pennsylvania)
The Association for Autistic Community (AAC) is an autistic-run not-for-profit entity (USA 501(c)(3) paperwork has been filed with the IRS). We are committed to the idea that autistic people can grow and learn from interactions with other autistic people in physical space, when the space is designed with autistic needs in mind. We are not a therapy organization and do not cure autism. We celebrate the existence of autistic thought, community, and culture, and we believe these things can and do exist. We also welcome the support of allies, including parents, professionals, and friends of autistic people into our space to experience a bit of what autistic life can be.
The AAC Conference (AACC) is not a typical professional conference. It’s autistic space, and created first and foremost for autistic people. As a result, presentations are just one part of our program. We believe that the presentations complement the interactions people can experience with each other in more autistic-friendly environment.
The biggest benefit is the interaction you will get with attendees at our conference! We will also assist you prior to the conference if you would like help ensuring that your presentation is appropriately tuned for the audience.
Presentations selected for AACC will receive 1 full conference registration for a standard, shared (2 people) room. These registration includes room, meals, and conference registration as a participant.
In the case of multiple presenters, this conference registration will be divided among the presenters such that it is equal to one full registration (for instance, if two people present, the registration can be divided among the two presenters, such that each would receive a 1/2 conference registration).
If your presentation is accepted, we do ask for a key/room condition deposit before check-in ($50 per room key, refunded at checkout). In addition, for those who desire a private room, that option is available at the standard upgrade rate ($25/night).
AACC is intended to be more than simply a set of presentations that may talk about us. Desired presentations are for us, not about us. We want to see presentations that are about autistic culture and life, events that are of interest to autistic people, and ways we might live an autistic life in society at large.
- Autism involves differences in communication. Well-received presentations will include both written (for the program book) and verbal information, as this allows attendees to “pre-process” information prior to attending the presentation.
- If your presentation has phrases like, “Epidemic of Autism” or “Burden of Autistic Children,” this is probably not the conference for you! We are focused on positive ways of living with autism, not doom and gloom. It’s fine to talk about difficulties autistic people (and even non-autistic people) have, but this should be done in a positive way. Successful presentations might include topics such as alternative means of communicating during stress, how to manage daily living tasks such as eating and bathing, or how an autistic person can manage with the difficulties of dating.
- Pay attention to linguistic accessibility. If you are using language that is not commonly understood in the adult population of the United States, your presentation probably won’t be successful.
- Be careful of stereotypes. Autistic people are very different from each other, and we expect to have many different types of autistic people in attendance. For instance, don’t separate “parents” into one group you talk about in your presentation and “autistics” into another (that would have an implicit assumption that there is nobody that is both a parent and an autistic). We also expect to have people in attendance from throughout the world, so take that into consideration with your proposal.
- It’s okay to have a non-traditional presentation. While the traditional power-point while speaking, followed by questions, will likely be the most popular format, it isn’t the only format we would accept. In particular, we are always interested in participatory interactions and presentations that can include people who might not enjoy sitting through nearly two hours of speaking!
- It’s also okay if your presentation is broader than just autistic people, as long as it has relevance to an autistic population. In particular, presentations that may be relevant to the wider disability community are likely also relevant to us.
A Note About First Person Accounts
Most attendees live with or know someone with autism; thus presentations on “My Life With Autism” are presentations that may be rejected on the grounds that attendees already know – through first-person experience – what life as an autistic person is like. Personal experience is most valuable when it includes application to attendee’s lives or experiences.
In addition, it is important that your presentation recognize the diversity of autistic experience! While you may have first-hand knowledge of your experience of living as an autistic person, it would be unwise to assume that something that works for you would automatically work for everyone else. Your presentation will be best received if you are aware of diversity of opinion within your presentation topic.
Presenter Information / Responsibilities
- Presenters are expected to arrive and be on-site at least 24 hours prior to their presentation. Thus, if you are scheduled to give a presentation on Wed morning, you would need to arrive and register on Tuesday morning. We expect you to be able to be reliable and to be able to actually give your presentation.
- We may be recording presentations. Presenters must agree that we can record your presentation and use the recording for organizational purposes (such as putting it on our web page or selling conference DVDs). In exceptional cases we may refrain from recording. If this is a requirement, let us know.
- Presentations will be 1 hour and 45 minutes in length. Most presenters choose to allow questions at the end – this time includes the question period.
- We do things differently than some other conferences. Of particular importance, media, slides, and material presented MUST be provided in advance to AAC staff so that we can prepare alternative of the material formats (such as a format accessible to a blind participant). The deadline will be several weeks in advance of the start of the conference. This means material cannot be added after that deadline.
- We may ask for additional information during the selection process if that information would assist the selection committee in deciding what presentations to accept.
- We will ask for additional information if your presentation is selected, such as your detailed contact information, how your bio should appear in the program book, and a description of your presentation for the program book. It’s important that such requests be answered in a reasonably timely manner (we understand that answering our questions isn’t your full-time job).
- You will be expected to prepare material relevant to your presentation for the program book (a paper, outline, slides, and/or other useful information).
- We have a non-discrimination policy that we expect presenters to follow. In particular, we will not allow a presenter to demean any class of people. In addition, successful presentations will seek to acknowledge, or, better, include, the existence of people who may not fit a stereotype or the dominant race/sex/religion/etc.
AAC Non-Discrimination Policy
We prohibit discrimination and do not tolerate any harassment, derogatory comments, or inappropriate behavior based on a person’s sex, race, age, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, religious beliefs, veteran status, disability status, communication differences, or any other physical or personal characteristic.
How to Submit
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following format:
Name & Title (if any):
Title of Proposed Presentation:
Detailed Description of your Presentation for the selection committee: (this will probably need to be several paragraphs)
Describe (briefly, one sentence is plenty) how your presentation would be of interest to the following groups (or indicate “N/A” if your presentation likely won’t be of interest to a given group):
Family members of Autistic People:
Other groups (specify the group[s]):
Enter a brief (one to two paragraph) description of why you are qualified to give a presentation on this topic:
Have you presented at similar events (Autscape, Autreat, Autism National Committee, ASAN), or are you otherwise known to the autistic community? If so, please describe.
Do you have any questions or concerns you would like us to answer?