We are searching for presentations and activities for our fourth Autspace conference.
DATES: August 15-19, 2019
LOCATION: ORTONVILLE, MI
PRESENTATION PROPOSAL DEADLINE: MAY 8
Submit a presentation proposal HERE.
Submit an activity proposal HERE.
Please review this information about the kind of presentations and activities we’re looking for.
Individuals may submit one presentation proposal and one activity proposal. Please do not submit more than that, even if part of a group of co-presenters.
WHO WE ARE
The Association for Autistic Community (AfAC) is an autistic-run not-for-profit entity (USA 501(c)(3)). 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 to accommodate autistic needs. We are not a therapy organization and we’re not interested in curing 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.
Our conference, Autspace, 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. The presentations complement the interactions people can experience with each other in our 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 Autspacewill receive 1 full conference registration for a standard, shared (3 people) room. Conference 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. Presenters have the option of upgrading to a single room or double room for a fee.
Please note that we cannot cover travel expenses for any presenters.
People who lead activities will not receive compensated registration.
WHAT WE WANT IN PRESENTATIONS:
Autspace presentations are for autistic people. 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 a fulfilling autistic life in society at large. Assume that autistic people are your primary audience when crafting a proposal.
- Autism involves differences in communication. Successful presentations will include both written and verbal information. Information about presentations are printed in the program book, which allows attendees to “pre-process” information prior to attending the live 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 as an autistic person, 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 the difficulties of dating. (To name such a few examples. You’re not limited to these topics, however.)
- Pay attention to linguistic accessibility. If you are using language that is not commonly understood by the adult population of the United States, your presentation probably won’t be successful.
- Becareful 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 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 format. Many Autspace presentations use the traditional power-point while speaking format, followed by questions. However, 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 in scope than being for autistic people only, 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 are autistic themselves. Thus, presentations on “My Life with Autism” are presentations that may be rejected on the grounds that it is unlikely to provide significant value to attendees who already have their own firsthand experiences. 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 experiences! 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.
This year, we are seeking proposals for activities. Potential activities include discussions on topics of community relevance, Q&A sessions with attendees with particular expertise, and purely recreational activities.
Here are some examples of activities proposed by past Autspace attendees:
- Improv sessions
- Stim toy making
- Stim parties
- Board games
- Conflict de-escalation training
- Open mic session
- Autistic POC breakout session
- Write-in sessions for autistic writers and other creatives
- Quiz bowl competitions
Note that you are in no way limited to these activities. They’re simply examples of the kinds of activities that may interest Autspace attendees.
- Presenters are expected to arrive and be at the venue or nearby at least 24 hours prior to their presentation. 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 and this time includes the question period.
- We do things differently than some other conferences. It is particularly important that media, slides, and material presented MUST be provided in advance to Autspace staff so that we can prepare alternative of the material formats (such as a format accessible to a blind participant).
- We may ask for additional information during the selection process if that information would assist the selection committee in deciding which 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 (although we understand that answering our questions isn’t your full-time job).
- 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.
AfAC 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.