The Autistic Community's Annual Gatherings: Autreat & Autscape
Every year, the autistic community holds two main gatherings: Autreat in the United States and Autscape in the United Kingdom. Both gatherings are organized by groups of autistic volunteers, who organize these gatherings for the benefit of the autistic community.
Both Autreat and Autscape are attended by people from all over the autism spectrum, including autistics who speak and autistics who do not speak; autistics who communicate fluently and autistics who have limited communication; autistics who live independently and autistics who need intensive support with daily living; autistics who have jobs and autistics who live on disability benefits; autistics who are able to present as "socially acceptable" and autistics who require support to help them manage their behavior.
Both gatherings are attended by people from many different countries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Israel, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
Every Autreat and every Autscape is based around a theme, such as Celebrating Autistic Culture, Living Life the Autly Way, Building the Autistic Community etc.
Both gatherings offer presentations on topics such as Autistic Social Networking, Information Technology and the Autistic Culture, Neurodiversity and the Autistic Community, Being Autistic Together, Autism and Relationships, Sharing Our Worlds, Autism and Emotions, Advocacy for the Autistic Self-Advocate Community, Educating and Empowering Non-autistic Allies, Transforming Public Perceptions of Autism, Collaborating for Action, Informing People About Your Diagnosis, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Self Employment, Artistic Autistics, Vacations for Autistic People, etc.
In addition, both Autreat and Autscape offer some leisure activities and plenty of time to socialize with other autistics. Some of us attend them less for the presentations and more for the leisure and for the atmosphere.
Autreat is the older of these two gatherings, with the first Autreat taking place in upstate New York in 1996 and continuing to take place every year since then, in various locations around New York and Pennsylvania.
Inspired by Autreat, the first Autscape took place in Somerset in 2005 and has been taking place every year since then, in various locations around England.
Autreat 2010 will take place from June 28 to July 2 in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
Autscape 2010 will take place from 10th of August to 13th of August in England.
Autreat's website: http://www.autreat.com/
Autreat's information mailing list: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/autreatinfo/
Autscape's website: http://www.autscape.org/ (includes links to Autscape's mailing lists).