Kit Mead, “Autistic in the Psych Ward: Research, Experiences, and Possible Changes To Be Made”

This presentation will discuss and analyze:

-What studies say – and don’t say – about Autistic people and psychiatric hospitalization, and firsthand autistic perspectives on their psych-inpatient experiences

-What kinds of things might be especially difficult for autistic people who are psych-inpatient? How might autistic people prepare for or deal with these situations?

-What kind of policy changes could be made to improve quality of care in for autistic people inpatient-psych?

-What kind of policy changes could be made for more community-based support for acute crises?

Andee Joyce, Let’s Take It to the Stage: How Autistic Performers Navigate the Performing Arts

Autistic people are severely under-represented in the performing arts, as musicians, singers, actors, comedians, etc. Many of us want to do these things but need role models to guide us through the allistic-dominated world of casting, booking, networking, and so forth. In this presentation I offer my own experience as a late-blooming singer-songwriter, in addition to interviews from other autistic performing artists in multiple fields, on how we deal with things like disclosure, sensory issues, social challenges, and other potential obstacles to sharing our artistry with an audience. I will also perform several of my autism and disability-themed songs in a sensory friendly manner.

Steve Lieberman, “The Room Where It Happens: Working Within the System and How to Effectively Engage with Congress”

This presentation will examine both sides of a typical interaction between an advocate and a Congressional office. We will explore how Congressional staffers are hired, what it’s like to work in Congress, and how staffers approach interactions with constituents and advocates. We will look at several methods of engagement between advocates and Congressional offices, identifying those that are both effective and ineffective and explaining why.

Noor Pervez and endever corbin, “AAC and Nonspeaking Autistic Culture 101”

We will introduce participants to the concept of augmentative/alternative communication and the range of communication methods it refers to, highlighting the ways it can be useful to autistic people with a range of perceived verbal abilities. We can show examples of a few of the common apps and some of the light tech equipment nonspeaking autistic people might utilize, and talk about the pros and cons of each for people considering exploring AAC use. We will talk about including nonspeaking and sometimes-speaking people in the broader autistic community and focus on centering the perspectives of AAC users in conversations about communication and inclusion. We can share recommendations about how to interact with AAC users and other nonspeaking people respectfully, as well as how to work with us to advocate for our rights and self-determination. Take home messages include ideas about how to better involve nonspeaking people in neurodiversity activism and where to start with AAC if listeners are considering investigating additional communication options for themselves.

Sarah Pripas-Kapit, “Publishing While Autistic: Writing for Traditional Publication”

The publishing industry has expressed more interest in autistic-authored books, representing a great opportunity for autistic writers. However, the process of getting published and navigating the industry is still a very complex one. This presentation will provide an overview of how autistic writers can effectively enter the industry. The presentation will be primarily focused on the practicalities of how to get published (rather than how to write a book that can be published). Topics covered in the presentation include:

1. The pros and cons of traditional publishing

2. Preparing a manuscript or book proposal for submission

3. Querying and selecting a literary agent

4. Working with an agent and going on submission

5. Editing and publishing a book with a publisher

Kate Ryan, “Advocating in Healthcare Settings”

Autistic people have autistic bodies–autism is not just in the mind, it is in the body too. Many people have experience with psychiatrists but we also break our legs and burn ourselves and need accommodations for health problems too not just neurological ones. A lot of autistic people are in constant pain and we need to speak up to get better pain treatment. Healthcare people are often not very educated at all when it comes to autism and they should be. We can make our lives and those of our autistic brethren easier by advocating for ourselves.

Information about activities to come!