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ASAN: Tell Congress “No” to Three More Years of the Same On Autism Policy

29 May

The Combating Autism Re-authorization Act (CARA) has been started in the U.S. legislature. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) has issued a position statement on the bill:

Today, Senators Menendez and Enzi will be introducing legislation extending the Combating Autism Act for three more years. The Combating Autism Act was passed in 2005 without the involvement or consultation of a single Autistic person, let alone the broader self-advocate community. Without legislative action by Congress, the Act would expire on September 30th of this year. While we respect the Senators’ good intentions, the Menendez-Enzi legislation would freeze in place the current flawed CAA programs, which fail to make any provision for services, do not incorporate anything about adults on the autism spectrum and exclude self-advocates. As a result, ASAN opposes any long term re-authorization of CAA without badly needed investments in services and vital program reforms to ensure self-advocates are involved at every level. We’re urging you to call your Senators and tell them to OPPOSE the Menendez-Enzi re-authorization legislation as too long an extension without any of the needed reforms. You can reach them through the Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 by giving your state and asking to be put through to your Senator. Making the call and urging their opposition is important even if you don’t feel comfortable having a longer conversation, but if you want to provide additional reasons to oppose this extension we have provided several below:

A three year extension of the existing Combating Autism Act means a three year delay before Congress takes any meaningful action on services for Autistic people across the lifespan. It means three years before any new supports for adults on the autism spectrum are introduced and three years before any of the problems with the status quo are fixed. We can’t afford to wait that long.

CAA’s existing programs enable a severe bias in the autism research agenda against services and adult issues. According to the recently released IACC Research Portfolio, less than one percent of autism research dollars spent in 2009 went to research relating to adults while only three percent went to research about improving services, supports and education! This inequity calls out for change.

CAA’s existing structure excludes the very people who should be at the center of the autism conversation: Autistic people ourselves. By locking in place for another three years a bill that was passed without the involvement of self-advocates, Congress would be sending a message that the needs and perspectives of Autistic adults don’t matter.

Any long term extension of CAA must involve additional investments in services, greater inclusion of self-advocates in every program and more respectful language shifting from “combating autism” to supporting Autistic people. Call Congress today at (202) 224-3121! Remember to call twice in order to reach both of your Senators. If for accessibility reasons, you need to e-mail your Senators instead you can find their e-mails on the Senate website at this link.

We need your help to remind Congress they can’t ignore the voices of the Autistic community. As always, Nothing About Us, Without Us!

Regards,

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network

What I did with your money

18 May

Now LBRB is successfully moved (with a few little bits of tidying needed her and there) I need to tell you what I did with the nearly $1000 so generously donated.

First and foremost of course I bought some new hosting. I think you’ll agree that the site feels much faster and slicker as a result of the move. Gone is the churning away and (hopefully) gone is the CPU throttling.

However, I did have some money left over so I decided that as you all had been so generous that the right thing to do was pay it forward. In that spirit I split the remaining money into three parts and donated thusly:

The Autism Science Foundation – A good deal of LBRB contributors and visitors are American so to donate to a science based autism foundation in the States seemed like a good idea. ASF do not place _any_ research monies into the blind alley of vaccines.

National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading autism charity, giving an actual voice to actual autistic people is vital and the NAS do this better than anyone else in my opinion.

Speur Ghlan are a small, recently incorporated charity based in the land of my fathers – Scotland. I know the founder well and am constantly impressed at her drive and enthusiasm for her subject matter.

The amounts involved were not huge obviously but I hope that I’ve managed to meet with your approval both in choice and reasons for choice.

Thank you once again for your generous donations to get LBRB a better home. I hope I can repay you with years more quality blogging from Sullivan and the odd bit of snark from me 😉

ACT Now!

27 Jul

UK Autism campaigners are working together to ‘ACT NOW!’ about the proposed benefit cuts and assessments and have launched a petition which we intend to deliver personally to No 10 Downing Street. Please ACT NOW! and sign by accessing: http://actnow01.web.officelive.com/default.aspx

The proposed benefit cuts and the assessments will begin in 2013 for those on the Autistic Spectrum who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and other benefits. In addition the cuts across Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts could have a catastrophic effect on the Autistic community, a group whose vulnerability already creates high levels of stress and anxiety to those involved.

Those who live with autism 24/7, 365 days each year will be at the core of these cuts and will have to live with whatever ensues as a result of the cuts. We are not opposed to cuts as such and understand that cuts need to be made. However the magnitude of the changes that these cuts will bring about and how they will impact on a community that is already marginalised and discriminated against, must be taken into account.

In 2008 the National Audit Office estimated that autism costs the UK 28.2 billion pounds each year and yet only 18% of Local Authorities who responded to the National Audit Office survey were able to give precise numbers of adults with low functioning autism known to services, with only 12% being able to do so for adults with high functioning autism. Given that thousands of children and adults do not meet the criteria for the provision that is available in their Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts we would like to know how much of the money being spent is on crisis management.

The cuts to budgets in Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts are going to make it even harder for children and adults to meet the criteria to access the provision that is available within Authorities and Primary Care Trusts, and we fear that only the minimum that can be supplied to these children and adults will be what is given. We also have grave concerns that there will be no new services that would directly benefit autistic children and adults, commissioned by Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts.

We are calling for urgent talks with Her Majesty’s Government to ensure that those who live with autism 24/7 are consulted fairly and effectively in every aspect of the decision making process that will ultimately affect our lives.

We would like HMS Government to address and respond to our concerns. We WANT HMS Government to address and respond to our concerns.

UKAF launches a Keep The Promise Autism Awareness Campaign

3 Jun

The UK Autism Foundation is issuing a call to all supporters to back the Foundation’s new ‘Keep The Promise‘ Autism Awareness Campaign that we are launching. We first started the Autism Awareness Campaign in 2000 but we feel that there is a great deal of unfinished business on autism in the United Kingdom and we are appealing to the new Prime Minister David Cameron to take firm and decisive action on autism. Prime Minister Cameron has promised to help and protect the vulnerable. We now ask the Prime Minister to KEEP THE PROMISE and support the 500,000 people with autism.

Please support UKAF’s Autism Awareness Campaign by writing letters to the following – for the cost of a few stamps you too can make a difference by ‘Standing Up for Autism.’ We have been campaigning non-stop since 2000. Her Majesty’s Government needs to do so much more for parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in our country. Many are still suffering and struggle to access public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care.

Join UKAF’s ‘Keep The Promise’ Autism Awareness Campaign by writing to:

Prime Minister David Cameron
10 Downing Street
Whitehall
London SW1A 2AA

PLEASE tell the Prime Minister that you are backing the UK Autism Foundation’s ‘Keep The Promise’ Autism Awareness Campaign and ask him to protect the vulnerable by supporting UKAF’s call for –

* An autism strategy for children
* An autism strategy for the elderly
* A new Autism Stakeholders Group – so there could be genuine and real partnership working with small, medium, large charities and Ministers with HM Government where everyone will feel they are equal at the top table.
* Permanent increases in the disability living allowance, the carer’s allwance, child benefit and tax credits for the Autism Community. Many carers are working over 70 hours a week and get a pitiful 72 pence an hour – this is way below a minimum. Autism is a 24 hour job and carers need more than 72 pence an hour.
* UKAF is calling for state funded autism schools and Autism Academies so that all children and young people with autism will have equality of opportunity. UKAF is calling for all avenues to be open – mainstream, special schools and specialist autism schools.
*UKAF is urging Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to reach out and help poor families with autism who are struggling to cope with life during this recession. UKAF has urged the Government to protect the vulnerable from the cuts to Public Services.

Please also send letters – with the above points to –

Rt.Hon.Nick Clegg MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Cabinet Office
70 Whitehall
London SW1A 2AS

Rt. Hon. Andrew Lansley MP
Secretary of State
Departmentr of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1A 2NS

Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State
Department of Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SWIP 3BT

We appeal to you to spend on a few stamps and write to the above next week, backing the UKAF’s ‘Keep The Promise’ Autism Awareness Campaign – your support will make a difference – we need decisive action on autism.

PLEASE email your friends to join the campaign and start writing these letters. Please spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and My Space and ask them to write to David Cameron to support UKAF’s ‘Keep The Promise’ Autism Awareness Campaign calling for decisive action on autism.

PLEASE support the vulnerable.

PLEASE ask your friends to join the UK Autism Foundation causes page on Facebook please invite all your friends and contacts to join this page and help and support us – we are lobbying and campaigning for the poorest sections of society.

Autism Science Foundation offering places at IMFAR 2010

11 Feb

Funds will enable parents and other stakeholders to attend the leading autism research conference and share what they’ve learned with the broader autism community.

The Autism Science Foundation today announced that is offering a limited number of grants to parents of children with autism and other stakeholders to support attendance at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), to be held in Philadelphia, May 20-22, 2010. Awards of up to $1000 can be used to cover registration, travel, accommodations, meals and other directly related expenses, including childcare.

After the conference, grant recipients will be expected to share what they’ve learned with families in their local communities and/or online.

IMFAR is an annual scientific meeting, convened each spring, to promote, exchange and disseminate the latest scientific findings in autism research and to stimulate research progress in understanding the nature, causes, and treatments for autism spectrum disorders. IMFAR is the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR).

“We are thrilled to be able to give back directly to the autism community in a research-focused way,” said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation. “The award recipients will bring critical new research information to their communities, increasing the speed with which the latest data are shared with the broader autism community.”

“These scholarships are a wonderful opportunity to bring more stakeholders to the IMFAR and improve dissemination of the latest research findings presented at the conference,” said Dr. David Amaral, president of INSAR and director of research at the University of California at Davis M.I.N.D. Institute.

To apply, send a letter to grantsATautismsciencefoundationDOTorg describing why you want to attend IMFAR and, most importantly, explaining how you would share what you learn there with the broader autism community. Letters should be sent as Microsoft Word attachments of no more than 2 pages, 12-point type, “Arial” font, with standard margins. In the subject line please write: IMFAR Grant. Letters must be received by March 15, 2010. Recipients will be announced in April.

Less evolved creatures

29 Dec

Back in of this year, Wired did a piece called ‘An Epidemic of Fear‘ that exposed some of the anti-vaccine charlatans masquerading as purveyors of science that have infested the autism community in the last 10 years or so.

Amy Wallace’s excellent piece (”An Epidemic of Fear,” issue 17.11) isn’t really even about vaccines. It’s about what Thomas Friedman calls the American “dumb as we wanna be” attitude, which combines stunning intellectual laziness, the erroneous concept that all information is equal, and the Internet to create a witches’ brew that we’re using to commit national suicide.

Sadly not just a national malaise, but an international one, Wallace’s piece provoked outraged indignation from those primarily responsible for stirring the Witches brew. The same people that time and again commit the sin of pride as they tell you that they – a handful of business moguls, big titted starlets and antivax lawyers – know as much about the science of vaccination as well, actual scientists who study vaccination and its side effects. Who can forget Jenny McCarthy’s ego-exhortation: her son *is* her science, a course she passed at Google University.

Wired go on to say:

…We got more mail about our cover story, “An Epidemic of Fear,” than any other piece we’ve published. Dozens of medical professionals commended Amy Wallace’s feature on the fallacies promulgated by the anti-vaccine movement. Meanwhile the anti-vaxers flooded our mailboxes with stories of children injured by vaccinations, chain letters, misogynistic rants, threats, and just plain crazytown (”Sodomite editors should go get AIDS at the Folsom Street Fair,” advised one less-evolved creature).

Less evolved creatues permeate the rank, file and leadership of the autism/antivax community. From the creatures that are proud of the baby eating pieces on Age of Autism to the creatures like Dr Sherri Tenpenny who think its OK for kids to die of the flu:

Study these numbers. We’ve had SARS, Bird flu and Swine flu. On average, approx. 190 children/year die from the flu. Considering there are about 62M kids under the 14 years of age in the US, this is NOT “statistically signficant” and should not even make the radar screen.

In 2010, the less evolved creatures should be given less and less weight. Let them carry on making their noises to themselves and we – the autism community – can carry on talking about things that matter.

Disability Coalition Applauds Introduction of Legislation that Protects Students with Disabilities from Abuse

10 Dec

Below is a press release from the Justice for All Action Network and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. While the topic of seclusion and restraint is painful to write about, it is a pleasure to highlight disability advocacy like this.

This is also discussed on the Education Week blog.

Seclusion and restraint legislation one of 12 items on Coalition Agenda

(Washington D.C.) — The Justice for All Action Network (JFAAN), a coalition of disability-led organizations and allies, applauds proposed legislation that protects students with disabilities from the misuse of seclusions and restraints in schools. Introduced today in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill will equip students with disabilities with federal protection from abuse in the schools.

“There is a long history of students with disabilities being subjected to inappropriate and abusive seclusions and restraints,” said Ari Ne-eman of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a member of the JFAAN Steering Committee. “The legislation introduced today is the first of its kind, going far beyond previous efforts to protect students with disabilities. We look forward to working with House and Senate leaders to pass legislation that addresses each of our concerns and provides students with disabilities with urgently needed protections from abusive seclusions and restraints.”

While the JFAAN Coalition hopes to continue work with House and Senate leaders to ensure that the final legislation is the strongest possible, the bill introduced today is the most comprehensive legislation to date protecting students with disabilities from abuse in the schools.

“We commend Chairman Miller, Representative McMorris Rodgers and Senator Dodd for taking a stand against the barbaric treatment of disabled children and youth that has been allowed to take place in too many schools for too many years. Schools need to educate children without putting students in solitary confinement or using inappropriate and unsafe restraint. When schools become mini-prisons, families have no reason to send their children to school,” said Andrew Imparato, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a member of the JFAAN Steering Committee.

Unlike previous attempts to protect students with disabilities, this legislation applies to all students and bans the worst practices, including mechanical restraint, chemical restraint and physical restraint. “The fact that our children are still subject to abuse is a disgrace,” said Dana Commandatore, the parent of an Autistic child and a supporter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. “The legislation introduced today is an important step toward ensuring that students with disabilities are protected from abusive restraints and seclusions.”

Legislation that protects people with disabilities from unwarranted seclusions and restraints is a key component of a campaign agenda developed by JFAAN. The 12-point JFAAN Joint Campaign Agenda addresses major policy issues of people with intellectual, physical, psychiatric, developmental and sensory disabilities.

Created in an effort to build a strong and unified cross-disability movement, the Justice for All Action Network is organized into a steering committee of 13 national consumer-led disability organizations and more than 20 organizational and individual members. The group was formed in the wake of the 2008 Presidential Election.

About the Justice for All Action Network

Mission: The Justice for All Action Network is a national cross-disability coalition, led by disability groups run by persons with disabilities with support from allies, committed to building a strong and unified cross-disability movement so that individuals with disabilities have the power to shape national policies, politics, media, and culture.

Working as a coalition, JFAAN is committed to accomplishing each item on the coalition’s agenda by July 2010, the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Steering Committee Members: ADAPT, American Association of People with Disabilities, American Council of the Blind, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Hearing Loss Association of America, Little People of America, National Association of the Deaf, National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer Survivor Organizations, National Council on Independent Living, National Federation of the Blind, Not Dead Yet, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, United Spinal Association.

For more information, contact Ari Ne-eman, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, (202) 596-1056;
Andy Imparato, American Association of People with Disabilities, (202) 521-4301

Ari Ne’eman of ASAN testifies to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

3 Dec

Ari Ne’eman, of ASAN (the Autistic Self Advocacy Network), recently testified on ADAAA Proposed Regulations before the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The transcript is below.

Testimony given to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Town Hall Listening Session on the ADAAA Proposed Regulations, Philadelphia, PA, 10/30/09; Stuart Ishimaru, Acting Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, presiding.

MR. ISHIMARU: Next we have Ari Ne’eman. We look forward to your statement and welcome.

ARI NE’EMAN: Thank you very much and thank you for the chance.

I represent the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a group of Autistic people speaking for ourselves.

For too long, prior to the passage of the ADA Amendments Act, the approach of addressing discrimination and of viewing the difficulties that those on the autism spectrum face through the context of discrimination rather than merely through the context of impairment or charity was one that was all too often not taken in the autism world. With the passage of the ADA Amendments Act, and the promulgation of regulations implemented with a unique view to building a culture of civil rights that coincides with the growing rights on the autism spectrum, those who desire to speak for themselves and take an active role in how we are viewed in society are trying to address the ways in which the society still poses obstacles.

We’re very pleased by the regulations proposed in order to implement the ADA Amendments Act. And we have three broad suggestions in terms of how to improve them for adults and youth on the autism spectrum seeking to find and maintain, and avoid discrimination in the context of, employment.

First, we note that autism was included amongst the list of examples of impairments that will consistently meet the definition of disabilities. We would like to suggest that this be somewhat clarified to broaden the term to autism spectrum disability, rather than just simply autism, seeing as the term autism is commonly understood to refer to five diagnoses in the DSM-IV: Autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and others on the autism spectrum. Now, these different diagnoses have somewhat different characteristics, but they all substantially limit communicating, interacting with others and learning. As a matter of fact, in the DSM-V, the next edition, it has been proposed that these diagnoses be combined into a single autism spectrum disorder or autism spectrum disability diagnosis reflecting the fact that for more individuals, the particular autism spectrum disability diagnosis they receive is largely dependent upon what professional they visited or what region of the country they should happen to live in. We believe that clarifying the language to reflect autism spectrum disability will ensure that all autism diagnoses are covered.

Second, we also believe that in respect to the “regarded as” from the symptoms of impairment leading to adverse actions by employers, when this is brought up, that some consideration for the needs of people with invisible disabilities must be addressed in respect to the facts for people with invisible disabilities. One of the greatest difficulties is that our symptoms of impairment are extent to a lesser extent in the general population. We propose that a phrase be added in the section under actions taken based on symptoms of an impairment or based on use of mitigating measures, clarifying that an action taken on the basis of behavioral symptoms also present in the general population also constitutes an action covered under the “regarded as” prong. For example, an individual who is dismissed from a data entry job because he or she does not make eye contact with their supervisor, even if the employer is unaware of the autism spectrum disorder or disability, should still be covered under the “regarded as” prong of this definition.

Third, we also encourage that in respect to section 1630.10, discussing qualification testing and qualification tests, that particular focus be given in the example of a specific example of the ways in which personality tests are administered by many employers. As a matter of fact, a 2003 survey by Management Recruiters International found that 30% of American companies use personality tests, which often act to serve as an obstacle to the full access and the equal consideration in employment and hiring decisions for people with social communication disabilities. As such, we propose the inclusion of an example, to make this section more actionable for those of us with invisible disabilities and for those of us with communication disabilities and focusing on whether or not employees are asked questions as a condition of hiring or relating to social relationships or anxiety in social or other contexts. We feel that this will have an effect on employment discrimination in hiring and promotion for people with invisible disabilities.

Overall, we were extremely pleased by the quality of these regulations. And our community is looking forward to working with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and working with the broader civil rights community to help build a culture of civil rights and a culture of ADA enforcement in the autism spectrum disability community and beyond.

Thank you very much for your time and I would be glad to answer any questions.

MR. ISHIMARU: Thank you very much. Very, very helpful. Are there any questions? No? I think you were pretty clear.

MR. ISHIMARU: I actually have one. On the personality tests, do you have a feel of how often they’re used and for people with autism spectrum disability issues, are they … will they always root out people who have the disability or does it happen more often than not?

ARI NE’EMAN: Well, this is something that’s a growing concern in the human resources context. And one of the issues is that the use of personality testing is growing significantly, with 30% of American companies utilizing them in one form or another. There’s a tremendous amount of diversity in terms of what personality tests are being utilized, the level of science that might back them and there’s actually been in the disability context and we know in the context of social communication disabilities, in large part, because of the very issues that led to the passage of the ADA … very little consideration as to the extent to which these personality tests are focusing on job-related tasks that would be covered by a matter of business necessity. We believe the anecdotal experience of many of our members and those of us on the autism spectrum show that these tests do tend to screen out adults on the autism spectrum. Particularly, because they’re being applied in contexts that do not necessarily have those particular skill sets within the essential functions of that job. It’s one thing if these tests are being applied in the context of sales force determination. It’s another thing to be applied in an engineering context or in a data entry job or in another type of job. So we know that these are relatively widespread and we do know that they tend to, because they are generally focused on the nature of the employee’s social interaction, the nature of the employee’s private life, the nature of the prospective employee, to screen out many individuals on the autism spectrum and with other social communication disabilities or with other invisible disabilities.

MR. ISHIMARU: Very good. Thank you very much. Very helpful.

Autreat 2010 Call for Proposals

2 Dec

Autreat is a retreat-style conference run by Autism Network International (www.ani.ac), for autistic people and our families,friends, supporters, and interested professionals. We are accepting presentation proposals for Autreat 2010, to be held Monday-Friday, June 28-July 2, 2010, in Bradford, Pennsylvania (approximately 80 miles from the nearest major airport at Buffalo, New York).

FOR HELP PREPARING A PROPOSAL:

If you want to submit a proposal but you have trouble reading these instructions and putting your proposal in the requested format, contactcfp-help (at) autreat.com for help. Please send only plain text messages, with no attachments.

WHAT KINDS OF WORKSHOPS ARE WANTED AT AUTREAT?

Autreat is very different from typical autism conferences:

WHEN PREPARING A PROPOSAL FOR CONSIDERATION, BE AWARE THAT THE *PRIMARY* AUDIENCE AT AUTREAT IS AUTISTIC PEOPLE.

Parents and professionals do attend, and most who attend find the presentations to be of interest, but Autreat is basically autistic space.

Be sure your information is being presented in a manner that is both helpful to and respectful of autistic people.

We expect that you will be speaking *to* us, not speaking to non-autistic people *about* us.

We are interested in presentations, by either autistic or non-autistic people, about POSITIVE WAYS OF LIVING WITH AUTISM, about functioning as autistic people in a neurotypical world, and about the disability movement and its significance for autistic people.

We are interested in educational and informative presentations, not in sales pitches for a presenter?s products or services. If you are representing a commercial enterprise and would like a forum to sell products or services at Autreat, please contact exhibitors (at) autreat.com for information about attending Autreat as a vendor.

We are *not* interested in presentations about how to cure, prevent, or overcome autism.

We do *not* appreciate having non-autistic people come into our space to talk to each other about how difficult we are to deal with, or how heroic they are for putting up with us.

If your presentation is geared toward the interests of parents or professionals, it should focus on positive ways of appreciating and supporting autistic people, not on reinforcing negative attitudes about autism and autistic people.

AUTREAT AIMS TO BE WELCOMING AND RELEVANT TO THE BROADEST POSSIBLE CROSS-SECTION OF THE AUTISTIC POPULATION.

Autreat is attended by autistic people who speak and by autistic people who do not speak;

by autistic people who communicate fluently and by autistic people who have limited communication;

by autistic people who live independently and by autistic people who need intensive support with daily living;

by autistic people who have jobs and by autistic people who live on disability benefits;

by autistic people who are able to present as “socially acceptable” and by autistic people who require support to help them manage their behavior;

by autistic people who have been labeled “high-functioning” and by autistic people who have been labeled “low-functioning”?including some autistic people who have had *both* labels, at different times or under different circumstances.

While it is not expected that any one presentation will be of interest to each and every autistic person, we do look for presentations that will appeal to the widest possible audience.

We are *not* interested in presentations that reinforce what we consider to be artificial distinctions between members of our community who are labeled “low-” vs.”high-functioning.”

A NOTE ABOUT “PERSONAL EXPERIENCE” PRESENTATIONS:

Be aware that everyone at Autreat either knows what it’s like to be autistic, or knows what it’s like to care about someone who is autistic.

All of us have our own personal stories. Presentations about the presenters’ personal stories are not going to generate much interest, unless you’re able to use your story in a way that will help other people to share and understand their own experiences in a new way.

Your proposal should describe what participants can expect to get out of your presentation, not just what personal experiences you’re going to talk about.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PRESENTATION TOPICS OF INTEREST

Please review the ANI web site (www.ani.ac) and the past Autreat brochures (http://www.ani.ac/past-workshops.htm), to get an idea of ANI’s philosophy and what Autreat is about. This will help you create the kind of presentation most likely to interest Autreat participants.

If you have never attended Autreat before, you may wish to consider attending first, before submitting a proposal to give a presentation. In our experience, presentations usually get more positive feedback when presenters have some familiarity with Autreat and its participants, before they give presentations there. Active participation in ANI?s online community, and attendance at other self-advocacy events run by and for autistic people, are other good ways to get a feel for how Autreat is different from typical autism conferences. If you wish to submit a proposal and you?ve never been to Autreat before, please give us as much information as possible about your past experience with other autistic-run activities and events.

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF PRESENTERS?

If you submit a proposal, we expect you to be available to attend Autreat if we accept your proposal, and to give your presentation on the day and time scheduled. We make every effort to accommodate presenters’ preferences in setting the Autreat schedule, but it is not always possible to give every presenter his or her preferred time slot.

Presenters are expected to send advance copies of any handouts or slides they plan to use, so that we can prepare alternate format copies for print-impaired attendees.

Presenters are expected to consent for their presentations to be recorded, and for the recordings to be sold by Autism Network International.

Presenters are invited to attend all of Autreat. If presenters opt not to attend the entire event, they are expected to arrive on-site by 8:30 a.m. for afternoon presentations, and to arrive the night before for morning presentations.

Please be prepared to meet these expectations if you decide to submit a proposal.

Presenters are also encouraged to submit an article on their topic for inclusion in the program book. Like handouts and visual aids, articles need to be submitted in a timely manner, so we can prepare copies in alternate formats.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE PRESENTERS?

Individual Autreat presenters receive free registration for Autreat,including on-site meals and lodging in a shared (2-person) room. (A private room may be available at the presenter?s own expense.) This free registration is for the presenter *only*, not for a presenter?s family members or support staff.

In the case of panel presentations consisting of three or more presenters, we offer one complete four-day Autreat registration, plus a single-day registration (including three meals and one overnight, if desired) for each additional panelist. Therefore, a panel of X presenters is entitled to a total of 4+(X-1) free days/overnights. Panelists may divide these free days amongst their members as they wish. Panel presenters are of course welcome to register and stay for additional days if they wish.

ANI is a volunteer-run, member-supported grassroots organization with minimal funding. We cannot reimburse for off-site expenses, nor can we pay travel expenses or honoraria. If your proposal is accepted, we will send you a formal letter of invitation if this would help you in raising your own travel funds.

Presenters are entitled to receive one free copy of the recording of their presentations.

PROPOSALS SHOULD INCLUDE:

* Your name and title (if any) exactly as you want them listed in program materials should your proposal be accepted

* Contact information (address, phone, fax and/or email if you have them)

* Title of your proposed presentation

* Detailed description for consideration by the Planning Committee

* Brief (5 sentences or less) abstract exactly as you want it listed in program materials should your proposal be accepted

* Indicate ONE theme that BEST relates to your proposed presentation:

[ ] Advocacy skills
[ ] Life skills/adaptive strategies
[ ] Helpful support services
[ ] Communication
[ ] Social/interpersonal issues
[ ] Personal/self-awareness/self-development issues
[ ] Autistic community and culture
[ ] Education
[ ] Employment
[ ] Family issues
[ ] Residential issues
[ ] Disability rights and politics
[ ] Autism research and theory
[ ] Other (describe):

* Indicate which group(s) you believe would find your proposed presentation of interest. Check as many as apply. Briefly describe what your presentation would offer to each group:

[ ] Autistic adults
[ ] Autistic teenagers
[ ] Family members of autistic people
[ ] Educators
[ ] Clinicians
[ ] Service providers
[ ] Other (specify):

* Brief (5 sentences or less) presenter bio exactly as you want it listed in program materials should your proposal be accepted

* Any audiovisual equipment you would need for your presentation

* If you have never presented at Autreat before, please also include an introduction for the Planning Committee summarizing your relevant experience, including any presentations or other education/advocacy activities elsewhere, and the nature of your interest in autism and/or in general disability issues.

PROPOSAL DEADLINE:

January 20, 2010

HOW TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL

Proposals can be submitted via email to proposals (at) autreat.com, or submitted online at http://www.ani.ac/aut10cfp.php , or sent via postal mail to

Autism Network International
P.O. Box 35448
Syracuse NY 13235
USA

When your proposal is received, you will be sent a brief acknowledgment confirming that we have received your proposal. If you have not received this confirmation within 48 hours of submitting your proposal, then we may not have received your proposal! If you haven?t received confirmation within 48 hours, please contact proposals (at) autreat.com and let us know. Please save a copy of your proposal, so you can resend it if necessary.

WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO PRESENT, BUT I HAVE AN IDEA FOR A PRESENTATION I’D LIKE TO SEE?

If you want to make suggestions for Autreat presentations, or make comments about previous presentations or presenters, please fill out the questionnaire available at http://www.ani.ac/autplan2.php.

WHAT IF I WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTREAT?

You can find a lot of general information, including a link to join the Autreat Information mailing list, at http://www.autreat.com. If you have specific questions and can’t find the answers on the web page, you may send email to info (at) autreat.com.

Give Thanks for Your Healthy Child

13 Nov

healthy-kids-thanks-a-thon-logoGuest Blog post by Dawn A. Crawford, Communications Director at the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition.

At the height of the H1N1 scare it’s easy to forget why we are vaccinating children in the first place. We vaccinate children with the flu vaccine and all childhood vaccine to keep them healthy. We vaccine children to keep kids out of hospital ERs. We vaccinate children to keep them playing and, simply, being a kid.

This Thanksgiving season the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) has created a simple and free way for parents to share their gratitude for healthy children with the CCIC Health Kids Thank-A-Thon.

Parents, grandparents and mommies-to-be are encouraged to submit gratitude statements, photos, videos and blog online explaining why they are grateful for a healthy child on the Health Kids Thank-A-Thon website – http://www.childrensimmunization.org/thanks.

From these submissions, CCIC will spread gratitude for healthy kids all Thanksgiving weekend long (November 26 – 29) by tweeting parent’s gratitude on Twitter, creating a video for YouTube and updating their Facebook Fan Page.

How to Participate

1) Visit the CCIC Healthy Kids Thank-A-Thon website to tell us why you are grateful for your healthy child. We encourage you to include a picture of your family or a video of your healthy child.

2) Spread the word to co-workers, patients, neighbors, and friends by posting this flyer and forwarding this blog post

All submissions are due Monday, November 23.

Make sure to join CCIC for the Thanksgiving weekend in sharing gratitude for all our healthy kids.

Have a wonderful holiday season!