AUTREAT 1999: Telling Our Stories

August 22 - 25, 1999, Canandaigua, NY

(1 pm Sunday to noon Wednesday)

This year's program will include several workshops exploring ways that we as autistic people seek and find personal meaning, as well as several advocacy-oriented workshops.

We have applied for approval to offer Continuing Education Units under the sponsorship of Syracuse University's Center on Human Policy. If you are interested in earning CEUs, contact ANI for an update.

To register, print out the registration form, fill it out, and mail it with payment (including child care fees if applicable) to

Autism Network International
P. O. Box 448
Syracuse, NY 13210-0448
More information will be posted on this page as it becomes available.

Document contents

* The facility
* How this event will be different from other autism conferences
* Workshops
* Information about presenters
* Certificate tracks
* A special note about social interactions
* Registration fees
* Registration form


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 must be made by August 10.

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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How this event will be different from other autism conferences

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

For more information...

For additional information on Autreat '99, 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. For Autreat information via Internet, check out our web page at

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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.

* The Autism Community as a Neurological Diaspora: Some Cultural Parallels and Some Practical Responses -- Phil Schwarz

This workshop will examine the notion that the autism community is a diaspora. We will consider some definitions of the terms "autism community" and "diaspora", and look at some characteristics of more conventional (that is, more widely recognized) types of diaspora (ethnic, religious, linguistic, racial), and at some constructive community- and cultural-survival responses to diaspora conditions that various diaspora communities have developed. We will examine whether there are useful parallels between these and the autism community. If this workshop is successful beyond its facilitator's wildest dreams, we'll emerge with some goals and agenda items for the autism community that will strengthen us as a community.
* Jumping Hurdles: Strategies for obtaining and maintaining employment -- Marjorie F. Olney, Ph.D.

Autistic people and those with related disabilities often have a difficult time getting and keeping jobs. A variety of approaches have been suggested such as specialized assistance with job seeking, vocational counseling, and supported employment. In this workshop we will (a) review the employment literature, discuss promising practices, and apply principles and practices to various situations. Participants will learn how to: (1) Identify vocational strengths and needs for themselves; (2) Translate strengths into saleable skills; (3) Find out what employers want and expect; (4) Get the appropriate accomodations and supports; (4) Play to one's strengths; and (5) Communicate effectively with employers and coworkers.
* Humour and Its Autistic Variants -- Susan T. Solursh, M.A.Sc.

This will be a discussion of the ways in which we all share humour in the world (autistic and non-autistic alike) and of the unique ways in which persons with autism observe and understand jokes of various sorts and humorous situations. During the discussion we will look at the cognitive abilities necessary for the understanding of different types of humour and how this may present difficulties for persons with autism e.g., with sarcasm. We will also discuss how current societal perspectives on humour may lead to professional and familial ignorance regarding the ability of many autistic persons to enjoy humour. Finally, we will look at the personal and social health values of humour. Prior to Autreat, individuals planning to attend this workshop will be asked to bring something silly, or a picture or description of something silly, that they enjoy.
* Introduction to Euthanasia: A Disability Rights Perspective -- Cal Montgomery

This discussion will cover some of the issues raised by the euthanasia movement and discuss how they are relevant to the disability rights movement in general and the autism community in particular.
* The Role of Changeling Lore in Autistic Culture -- Kim Duff

The definition of Changeling lore, and how this lore applies to autistics and parents. Changeling lore is a means of self-identification for AC's. Changeling lore is a blameless explanation for parents.
* Demystifying the Politics of Transition: From Compliance to Empowerment -- Bud Cooney

This session will examine the insider perspective which currently dominates transition planning and processes. An overview of parent and young adult rights according to IDEA will be presented as well as suggestions for empowering young adults and parents for a more purposeful transition.
* Autism and Relationships: Are We Having Fun Yet? -- Dave Spicer and Dove

We will discuss the theory and practice of relationships involving a person on the autistic spectrum. Using examples from our marriage, we'll address issues of communication, trust, acceptance, support, humor, and so on.
* The Professional as Non-Expert: Collaboration and "Challenging Behavior" -- Mayer Shevin, Ph.D.

* Advocacy Strategies for Everyone -- Bonnie Shoultz

* Stories About Stories: Learning and Building Through Popular Media -- Jim Sinclair

* How To...: Task Analysis for Fun and More Fun -- Cal Montgomery

Have you ever tried to deal with the kind of people who populate the world? If you have, you know it takes some skills.
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Information about presenters

* Bud Cooney is an assistant professor of special education at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. His research interests include creating schools as inclusive learning communities, and transition from high school to adult life. Previously, Bud worked in teaching capacities in both the elementary and secondary levels, working with a wide range of learners. Having a special interest in working with children and adolescents with autism, Bud teaches graduate courses and provides technical support to to parents and teachers in this area.

* Dove has great familairity with the variety of "cousinness" known as ADD. Her involvement with autistic folks began in 1991, and shows no signs of ending any time soon.

* Kim Duff is a 22-year-old University student pursuing an honors degree in Linguistics and Anthropology. Kim joined ANI-L in 1995 and was diagnosed high-functioning autistic in July 1998. She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

* Cal Montgomery is a writer, speaker, and activist. She's a member of Not Dead Yet, a grass-roots disability rights movement opposing the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide on social-justice grounds. Her work has appeared in Mouth and the Ragged Edge, two magazines which focus on disability issues.

* Marjorie F. Olney, Ph.D., is a faculty member within the Department of Community Health at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of research and interest include autism and developmental disabilities, community integration, and approaches that maximize opportunities for people with disabilities (such as supported living, employment and education). Her current research involves discovering the strategies that people with various neurological disabilities call into play in social, vocational and academic situations.

* Phil Schwarz has been a member of ANI since 1994, and attended Autreats 97 and 98 with his son Jeremy. Phil is a member of the board of directors of the Asperger's Association of New England. In his professional life as a software architect he does nothing particularly related to diaspora studies (though practitioners of APL, a programming language for which he has an inexplicable fondness, are arguably a diaspora :-)). However, in his personal life, there are some relevant connections: he's doubly involved in the autism community as an adult with a mild variant of AS, and as the father of a young boy with high-functioning autism; and he's an avid student of Jewish history and observer of Jewish community life. This is Phil's first time as an Autreat workshop presenter.

* Mayer Shevin, (Ph.D. [Psycholinguistics], University of Rochester, 1976) is a private consultant focusing on facilitated communication, organizational change, and fostering circles of support. He consults directly with individuals seeking to progress toward personal goals despite their challenging behaviors, with their families, and with the agencies which support these individuals.

* Bonnie Shoultz, M.A., is Associate Director of Syracuse University's Center on Human Policy and of the National Resource Center on Community Integration, both of which conduct research, engage in information dissemination and utilization on disability and community integration, and advocate for better systems and treatment of people with disabilities. She is also a parent who has many connections to the parent movement, and a long-time supporter of the self-advocacy movement. Her research interests have to do with parent empowerment, self-advocacy, and community support.

* Jim Sinclair has been coordinator of ANI since its founding in 1992. In the autism world, Jim is a writer, an editor, and a consultant on autism and on service dogs for autistic people. In the NT world, Jim is a graduate student in rehabilitation counseling at Syracuse University. Bridging these two worlds, Jim has completed an internship working with students with autism and other developmental disabilities in the Syracuse City School District, and is currently an intern at the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University.

* Dave Spicer has been autistic a Very Long Time but only diagnosed since April 1994. Formerly a computer programmer, he is now a writer and a presenter at autism conerences and workshops.

* Susan T. Solursh, M.A.Sc. (Psychology). I have autism, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and am visually impaired. I am currently working on my Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo, Canada. My studies involve autism and the related incidence of mental health concerns, especially depressive disorders. Additionally, I am studying for my Certificate in University Teaching. Current projects include involvement in the writing of an anthology of experiences with autism by persons with HFA/AS, and work on a project with adolecscent females discussing the issue of abuse of disabled girls and women. This is a community project designed to bring together teenagers from many cultural backgrounds, including the disabled community, to develop a theatrical presentation of the dangers presented to females in our society and how we may invoke our right to safety. Additionally, I am available for public speaking engagements.

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Certificate tracks

This year we will again offer certificates for attending groups of workshops on related themes. Registration for a certificate track is optional; as always, people may attend any number and combination of workshops they wish.

This year's certificates are the following:

* Advocacy
* Autistic Culture
* Young Adults (recommended for autistic young people of high school and college age)
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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

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Registration form

To register, print out the registration form, fill it out, and mail it to ANI at
Autism Network International
P. O. Box 448
Syracuse, NY 13210-0448
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.

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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A.N.I. Conference Info.
P. O. Box 448
Syracuse, NY 13210-0448
or check for ongoing updates at Autism Network International's web site at http://www.ani.ac.

ANI Return to the ANI home page.
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