AUTREAT 2000: Living Life the Autly Way

August 20 - 23, 2000, Canandaigua, NY

(1 pm Sunday to noon Wednesday)


What is Autreat?
The facility
Fipple Night! (New!)
Continuing Education Units
A special note about social interactions
Registration fees
Obtaining a registration form (NEW! online registration form)
Work Study Positions (NEW!) (provides Autreat registration funding)
Online Payment Option

(Yes, Virginia, there is an Autreat 2000...)

NOTE: Jim Sinclair will not be responding to email until after Autreat. Any inquiries about Autreat should be directed to the Autreat contact person at (email address).

What is Autreat?

Typical autism conferences are about autistic people, but are primarily for the benefit of researchers, service providers, or families. Autreat is an opportunity for autistic people and those with related developmental differences, our friends, and supporters to come together, discover and explore autistic connections, and develop advocacy skills, all in an autistic-friendly environment. Family members and professionals are welcome to attend, but the structure and content of this event will be determined by the interests and sensibilities of autistic people.

Things you will not find at Autreat:

Crowded, noisy hotel or conference center
Exhausting, intensive schedule
Inescapable sensory bombardment
Pressure to interact if you don't want to
Focus on "celebrities"
Focus on causes, cures, or ways to make us more normal
Things you will find at Autreat:

Open, outdoor camp setting with plenty of room to get away and be alone or with friends.
Smoke-free, perfume-free environment
Opportunity to explore autistic social contacts if desired
Respect for the choice to be left alone, if preferred
Focus on positive aspects of autism
Child care for autistic and non-autistic children ages 4-14
71 hours of continuous immersion in an autistic-friendly environment
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The facility

Autreat is held at a 150-acre 4-H camp. Accommodations are cabins, so plan to bring your own bedding or sleeping bags, pillows, towels, soap, shampoo, and other personal needs. The cabins have light and electricity, but no plumbing; restroom and shower facilities are located in separate buildings near each group of cabins. The camp has a large pool with shower and changing facilities, basketball and volleyball courts, a recreational park, ponds, hiking areas, and campfire circles. A nurse will be on-site 24 hours/day.

Some cabins, and all buildings where workshops will be held, are wheelchair accessible. Two fully accessible bathrooms, including roll-in showers, are available in the infirmary.

Half of the camp and cabins are designated as a "quiet zone" after 9 pm. Night owls are welcome to stay up and chat as late as they wish on the other half of the camp, which includes the fire circles.

The facility is not completely paved, but there is paving between the dining hall, infirmary, both sides of the pond, the fire circle, the arts and crafts building, the pool and some of the cabins.

Meals are served buffet-style in the dining hall. Our vegetarian menu has been popular with both adults and children, and includes alternatives to accommodate selective eaters.

In order to maintain Autreat as "autistic space," non-autistic professionals and family members who are attending without an accompanying autistic person, and who are new to ANI and unfamiliar with Autreat protocol, are asked to register for days only and commute from local hotels.

CHILD CARE: A camp activities program for children (with and without disabilities) ages 4-14 is available for an additional fee of $15 per half-day session ($90 for the full three days). Reservations should be made ASAP.

NO ALCOHOL and NO SMOKING are allowed anywhere within the campground. This is a camp rule required for insurance purposes, and it will be enforced. Anyone found in violation of this rule will be asked to leave. No refunds will be given. In consideration of the respiratory and sensory sensitivities of many of our members, NO perfume, colognes, hairspray or other scented personal care products are to be worn within the camp (unscented deodorant is fine). People who choose to leave the camp to smoke should be sure they have cleansed all smoke residue from their persons and clothing before returning to camp.

ANI is not able to provide personal assistance for people who need help caring for themselves or participating in this program. If you need help with self-care, communication, orientation, or behavior control, please make your own arrangements to have someone with you to assist you.

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We are again planning an exciting lineup of workshops this year. We have a number of confirmed speakers and topics. Other workshop possibilities are being explored, and will be announced as they are confirmed.

* BACK TO BASICS: The Fundamental Principles

Cal Montgomery, writer, speaker, and activist focusing on disability issues

In 1975, a group of British disabled people came together to discuss the "fundamental principles" of disability, and how those principles should guide activism. In the past 25 years, a great deal of interesting activism and research has been done based on social-model principles. We will discuss the fundamental principles to see whether - and if so, how - they apply to our lives. A reading list for further study will be provided.

* HOW TO PLAY WITH DOLLS: For Kids and Adults

Jim Sinclair, disability educator and consultant, coordinator of Autism Network International

For purposes of this workshop, a "doll" may be any inanimate object that we play with by imagining it to have aspects of personhood. This includes the traditional toy-human type of doll, as well as toy animals, and any other toys or objects that our imaginations transform into living entities. In this intergenerational workshop, we will share and explore different ways autistic people can use doll play for fun and for learning, and ways that parents, educators, and therapists can use doll play to help autistic people in developing skills and understanding. You'll also get to meet some of Jim's Hercules and Xena action figures! Participants are invited to bring their own favorite dolls and doll stories.

* Music: What Is It, What Does It Mean To Us, and How Can We Use It?

Katja Gottschewski, musician and music therapist, Bodø, Norway

In this workshop, we will explore different aspects of music. We will look at differences and similarities in how we as individuals or as AC's and NT's define and experience music. It will be discussed how we can communicate through music. How is music different from language? Can music be a bridge between AC's and NT's? Other functions of music will also be discussed.

* "On Paper I'm Free": The Role of Written Word in the Lives of ACs

Sola Shelly, writer and poet, recently-recognized as a Cousin

This workshop will discuss the nature of written words as an AC friendly medium. The various functions of written words in the lives of AC people, for self-preservation, interpersonal connections, and community building will be explored and illustrated. The format will be of a structured, moderated group discussion.
* Practical Autism

Dave Spicer, consultant to TEACCH and the Autism Society of North Carolina, ASNC Board Member

Being autistic in ways that work, finding effective ways of dealing with everyday autistic life. By pooling our wisdom and experience, we will build a "knowledge base" which will then be made available in printed form. Version 1.0 will appear after the first session; it will be revised and reissued after the second.
* Guiding Behavior Responsibly (Your Child's, and/or Your Own)

Jim Sinclair, disability educator and consultant, coordinator of AutismNetwork International

Disability advocates are frequently confronted with the need to balance concerns about legitimate needs to teach and enforce standards of acceptable behavior, against the reality that techniques of behavior "management" are routinely used on developmentally disabled people that would be considered unacceptable if applied to nondisabled learners. In this workshop we will discuss both ethical principles and practical approaches for developing responsible self-management in autistic people. Though addressed primarily to parents and others who are in supervisory and teaching positions with autistic people, some of the concepts presented may also be helpful to independent autistic people (or those working toward independence) in thinking about how to balance their autistic sensibilities with the demands of the neurotypical world.

* Sisyphus Condemned: The Use of Power

Cal Montgomery, writer, speaker, and activist focusing on disability issues

Who decides? and How? are two fundamental questions about power. What is power? Who has it? Who wants it? What does it mean to have power? How is power used? And what does this mean for autistic people and those who live and work with autistic people? We will discuss power - focusing specifically on the ways in which power and powerlessness become issues in the lives of disabled people - and its use and abuse
* There Must Be A Better Way: Guardianship and its Alternatives

Mayer Shevin, private consultant, and associate of Syracuse University's Facilitated Communication Institute

Many parents and families seek guardianship for their children with disabilities, as a way of protecting those people from exploitation, and as a way of providing supports which that person might sometimes need in certain aspects of decision-making. However, guardianship typically involves a finding of incompetence, and leads to a life-long loss of autonomy and basic civil rights. This presentation will identify some of the alternatives which exist to guardianship, and will include an open discussion on peoples' experiences which point toward non-oppressive and non-coercive support of decision-making.
* Transforming Public Perceptions of Autism: A Question, Not An Answer

Laura A. Tisoncik ("muskie" on IRC), webmaster of http://www.autistics.org

This workshop examines the way autism is portrayed in the media and by professionals, how these portrayals affect the lives of autistics, looks at how other groups have transformed the way they are seen by society, and searches for ways we can transform current perceptions of autism. Participants are invited to bring examples of how autism is portrayed (good and bad), and plenty of ideas.
* Using Sensory Integration Strategies to Cope in a Neurotypical World

Sue Golubock, MEd, OTR/L, Loudon County Public Schools, Virginia

Understanding how the AC brain processes input; how a parent or autistic can develop a "sensory diet" to help ease stress, decrease defensiveness, improve motor planning, and aid in organization; when to consider and what you might expect from a sensory integration trained therapist or other therapies.
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Fipple Night!

Sunday evening, after dinner, Fipple Night.

Fipple Night is an Autreat tradition dating back to 1996, our first year. It's an informal get-together to make music and sing. Just show up after dinner (exact time and location will be posted on the bulletin board near the registration tables; if weather permits I'd like us to meet around the campfire) and bring any you have of the following:

  • instruments to play (and, if not too delicate, maybe to share)
  • lyrics or sheet music to play and sing from (if you have or can borrow any)
  • songs or music you have in your head and want to share
  • your own voice, if you want to sing
Fipple Night has a lot of spontaneity to it, but it works best if there are some people, instruments, songs, and music we know will be there in advance. If there's a song or piece of music you want to sing or play that you can share in advance, or if you want to be notified about songs or music other people want to share, so that you can get familiar with them in advance, please contact me via any of the means listed below.

Also, I'd like a couple of volunteers to help build and maintain the campfire, and help keep kids safe around it.

I'll be bringing 2 pennywhistles, some recorders, a simple harmonica, a kazoo, a slide-whistle, a lollipop drum, and a lyrics book from the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston. Among other things, the FSSGB book has musical notation for some rounds that I think I can teach.

Phil Schwarz
(email address).

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Continuing Education Units

Autreat has been approved for Continuing Education Units through the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University. People can earn 2.2 CEUs for attending all ten workshops, or 1.5 CEUs for attending any seven workshops. If you are interested in earning CEUs, contact ANI for more info.

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A special note about social interactions

For some ANI members, meeting other autistic people and having a chance to socialize with others like ourselves is an exciting and wonderful experience. Others are not interested in social contacts and may come to this event just for the workshops. Some of us are interested in socializing some, but need to be able to take time out from interacting. Autreat is meant to provide opportunity, but not pressure, for social interactions.

If you are coming to meet other autistic people, please understand that some people will also want to meet you, but some will not be into meeting people, and their own choice must also be respected.

If you want to come but do not want to meet or talk to people, you are still welcome to attend. You will be given a color-coded badge which you can use to indicate if you want to be approached only by people you already know, or don't want to be approached at all by anyone.

If you are a parent, a teacher, or other service provider, and are bringing an autistic child or student or client because you hope the person will make social connections with others, please adopt the same position of providing opportunity, but not pressure.

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Registration fees

Full registration (includes cabin space for 3 nights and all meals from Sunday dinner to Wednesday lunch):

ANI Member Household Nonmember
First adult in household $165 $185
Second adult (age 13+) in household $145 $165
Each additional adult (age 13+) in household $105 $125
First child (to age 12) in household $145 $165
Each additional child (to age 12) in household $95 $115

Only adults paying full cost ($165 for members or $185 for non-members) may earn $20 work shift rebate.

Days-only registration, includes all meals:

Adult (age 13+) $85 $105
Child (to age 12) $65 $85

Rates WITHOUT meals:

Staying at camp
Adult $95 $115
Child $75 $95

Days only
Adult $50 $70
Child $30 $50

Per-day rate, for those attending less than the full Autreat (includes all meals):

Overnight stay (one 24-hour period)
Adult $60 $70
Child $50 $60

Day only
Adult $35 $45
Child $25 $35

All registration fees for Autreat 2000 are the same as last year.

We are still pursuing sponsorship possibilities to bring the fee down lower. If you are able to pay the full amount, or to get local sponsorship in your area to cover the full amount, this will allow ANI to use any donations for people who have no other way to attend. If you want to come and are unable to pay the registration, please contact ANI to see if funding is available. Contributions to our scholarship fund are most welcome.

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Obtaining a registration form

To register, fill out the Online Registration Form.

Upon receipt of your registration, you will be sent a packet containing additional information including directions and a map to the camp, menu information (some special dietary needs may be accommodated with advance notice), and health form to return to the camp nurse. If special accommodations or alternate materials format are needed, please attach a note.

For additional information on Autreat 2000, and for continuing updates, phone ANI at 315-476-2462 or send us a fax at 315-425-1978. Please note that ANI has no budget for long distance calls. Responses will be mailed back and if you request phone callback, it will be collect. As more information becames available, it will be posted here at http://www.ani.ac/aut00.html

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In the past, people have successfully applied for funding from sources such as local autism societies, family support agencies, state commissions on developmental disabilities, Arc chapters, and public schools.

Read A Short Course on Autreat Funding by Jim Sinclair, for more information.

Also, it is possible to get funding for full or partial Autreat registration fees through work study positions. (Return to Autreat 2000)


Work Study Positions

Work study positions are available to provide full or half of Autreat registration fees (depending on the amount of time worked). This might interest people who are unable to pay otherwise.

We are currently in need of camera operators. There are other work study positions that may need to be filled. If you are interested, please send email to (email address) for more information.

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Online Payment Option

We can now accept payment via Make 
payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and 
secure! (PayPal) or (PayPlace). This allows us to accept credit card payments, which we aren't able to do in off-line transactions. At least from people in the U.S., we are now able to accept credit card payments online for anything: merchandise orders, Autreat registration, membership payments, donations, etc. People wanting to use one of these services to send money to ANI should send the money to Jim Sinclair and in the memo that they let you send, indicate what the money is for. If you're not currently signed up with PayPal or PayPlace, joining either one is free, and I think they both give you a $5 credit when you join. (If you give them Jim's address as the person who referred you, the ANI account gets a credit too :-) ).

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