Category Archives: Official Statements

AAC Call for Presentations – AAC Conference Sep-2016 (deadline 9-May-2016)

Announcement: The deadline for presentation submissions has been extended! The new deadline is May 9, 2016.

Association for Autistic Community is seeking presentations for our second Annual Conference, the “Association for Autistic Community Conference” (AACC).


About AAC and AACC:

DATES: September 23 through September 27, 2016

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: May 9, 2016

LOCATION: Capital Retreat Center  (in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania)


The Association for Autistic Community (AAC) 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 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 a more autistic-friendly environment.

PRESENTER BENEFITS

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).

For those who desire a private room, that option is available at the standard upgrade rate ($185).

DESIRED PRESENTATIONS

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.

Some guidelines:

  • 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 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 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 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 – 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 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 (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 aacc2016@autisticcommunity.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):

Autistic Adults:
Autistic Teens:
Family members of Autistic People:
Clinicians:
Educators:
Service Providers:
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, AutCom, ASAN, AANE), 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?


FORMAT

Plain text (.txt) is preferred, as we transcribe all proposals to plain text for review. If your document is highly formatted (e.g., .pdf), please also provide a plain text version.



2016 AACC (Association for Autistic Community Conference) Sep 23-27, 2016, near Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia

The AACC (Association for Autistic Community Conference) is Back!

After our first conference in 2014, and a hiatus in 2015, we are pleased to announce that there will be an AACC this year — 23 – 27-Sep-2016 (Friday through Tuesday — over a weekend, this time). AACC 2016 will be held at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA, about a 90 minute drive from any of four airports: Baltimore-Washington (BWI), Washington Dulles (IAD), Washington  National (DCA), and Philadelphia (PHL). BWI is also an Amtrak station, on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. AAC is planning to provide limited bus service linking the venue with BWI. We will also try to help attendees make ride-sharing arrangements with one another.

The venue is in the Pennsylvania hills, with walking trails and a small lake. The lodging rooms have two queen beds, with one bathroom per lodging room.

We will be able to announce cost information for participants soon, as well as a Call for Presentations (CFP). The CFP will have guidelines similar to previous AACC and Autreat CFPs.

Stay tuned!…

Information about Past Conferences – 2014

Why would you want to attend AACC 2014, the Association for Autistic Community’s 2014 Conference?

  • Autistic people are the primary focus of the conference.  While parents, support staff, and others are welcome and can learn a lot, the conference is put on by autistic people for autistic people.  There is no “autistic track” or parallel conference – autistic people are the focus.
  • Spend time with other autistic people!
  • Enjoy some great presentations
  • Be in an environment where being autistic is not only accepted but celebrated
  • Color communication badges!
  • Since the organizers are also autistic, we try to accommodate common autistic sensory and social needs – no clapping, presentations without fluorescent lighting, no-scent policy.
  • Great opportunity to just see autistic community in action.
  • Focus is not on cure, but on ways of living as autistic people, advocacy for ourselves, and having fun together.
  • This is not a day program or highly structured event – you can attend presentations and activities or skip them. You can find a few other people and do your own thing. You can sleep in or stay up late. Or you can go to bed early and rise early to not miss any of the presentations!

Held Monday, July 28, 2014 Evening through Friday, Aug 1, 2014 Noon at the California University of Pennsylvania in California, PA, USA.  (This is in the STATE of Pennsylvania – they have a very confusingly named city named California, which is where the conferce will be held).

REGISTRATION CLOSES JUNE 28, 2014!

You can get more information here, including fees and frequently asked questions.

How Does Registration Work?

For each person attending, visit THIS REGISTRATION PAGE and fill out your information. You will receive an email a few days after you submit your information (the people who get your information are autistic so it will take a few days!) with information on how to pay via Paypal (US funds only) or check (US funds only).  After we get your payment, we will send you information about the where on the campus the event will be held, along with some packing advice, schedule, and other logistical information. If you’re sharing a room, we’ll also match you up with a roommate during this time.

We look forward to seeing you at our event!

AACC 2014 Presentations

We are excited to announce the following presentations for our 2014 conference!

  • Artistic expression as way to communicate and live a happy life
    (Brigid Rankowski)
  • The Bucket List I: Improving Authentic Communication and Social Relationships
    (Barbara Delsack)
  • The Bucket List II: Improving Motor Skills and Preventing Bullying
    (Barbara Delsack and Evan Delsack)
  • “Don’t touch me there”: Intimacy for Autistic Abuse Survivors
    (Joel Smith)
  • Emotional Power Dynamics and Manipulation Techniques
    (Ruti Regan)
  • Strategies for Anti-Violence Organizing: Where Racial Justice and Disability Rights Collide
    (Lydia Brown)
  • Teaching to Neurological Difference: Including Autistic Students in General Education Settings Using a Strengths-Based Approach
    (Ariel Caspe-detzer)

We’ll have more information about these presentations as we near the conference.  We want to thank our presenters for their hard work as they get ready for their presentations!

Call for Presentations

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.

Presenter Benefits

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). 

Desired Presentations

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.

Some guidelines:

  • 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 cfp2014@autisticcommunity.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):

Autistic Adults:
Autistic Teens:
Family members of Autistic People:
Clinicians:
Educators:
Service Providers:
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?

Statement on the Autism Speaks to Washington Policy Summit

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), the leading national advocacy organization run by and for Autistic people speaking for ourselves, and the Association for Autistic Community (AAC), an Autistic-run organization focusing on advancing Autistic community and culture, issued the following statement on November 12th, 2013 regarding Autism Speaks’ “Autism Speaks to Washington” Policy Summit:

We are profoundly concerned by Autism Speaks’ “Autism Speaks to Washington” Policy Summit to take place at George Washington University this week. Autism Speaks has a long and continued pattern of exclusion of Autistic voices from its work on autism. As an organization without a single Autistic person on its board of directors, Autism Speaks is the last group our nation’s leaders should be entrusting with the creation of a “national plan to address autism”.

This week, Autism Speaks co-Founder Suzanne Wright announced the opening of the Policy Summit by characterizing autistic people as kidnap victims and our families as nothing more than victims of tragedy and burden. She cited inaccurate and offensive statistics claiming that Autistic people cost our nation tens of billions of dollars annually. She does this as her organization devotes only 4 cents on every dollar donated to them to supporting autistic people and our families. She does this as her organization supports pity, fear and segregated housing and service-provision in their advocacy. Is this the organization that we want speaking on our behalf? We think not.

As policymakers and disability community leaders consider how best to support the needs of autistic adults, it is vital that they reach out to organizations run by and for Autistic people ourselves. Groups that persist in excluding Autistic voices and endorsing outdated and segregated models of service-provision have no place leading the national conversation on autism. We deserve better.

Press contact at Association for Autistic Community: admin@autisticcommunity.org