Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Discounting autistics

I was considering the possibility of going to the NATTAP /OCALI (Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence) conference in Columbus this September. I read the information on their website and looked over the schedule for the conference. There were references there to issues of concern to autistic adults: higher education, employment, relationships. There were several autistic presenters listed including Stephen Shore and Jean-Paul Bovee. It seemed like it might be a worthwhile trip, though it would require missing a day or two of classes and work, for which I wouldn’t be paid.
Expenses in addition to this would include gas, a hotel room and conference registration. I checked the page for registration rates and saw that the price for three days was listed as $250 dollars. Not too bad I guess, if you are a professional working in the field and need to earn the CEU credits anyway. But for a student with part time employment, that’s a lot of money.
All of the autism conferences I’ve attended in the past have offered lower rates for autistics and family members. I looked around and found the registration fee for parents of autistic individuals: $185. Nothing about autistic people themselves, though. Believing this to be an oversight, I wrote the contact person and inquired. But no, apparently what they said on the page was exactly what they meant. No discount for autistics, only parents. I suppose the information presented is not intended for us, not really. It’s for people who are working to help autistic individuals “achieve their full potential”.
How silly of me to think I might contribute something there. I wonder what they meant by “help”…
Disclaimer: This isn’t about the 65 dollars. But you knew that, right?


  1. The contact person may not have set the prices. They may just be looking at a sheet. If I were you, I would ask who the head organizer is, or bring this to the attention of one of the presenters. This has got to be an oversight. An unfortunately and telling oversight to be sure, but an oversight nonetheless.

  2. I have yet to attend any conference. [baby sitters!] How about you come and baby sit for me and I'll go and take notes for you! Horray! A win win situation for me!

    There again, maybe not, I have the worst hand writing in the world!

  3. Feh. Why am I not surprised.

    TAAP has the right idea -- we need to put on our own conferences, and a lot more of them.

  4. vab,
    Thanks. I am considering writing them. I was too mad when I first found this out.

    I totally agree! How are we going to get the funding, though?

    Four kids, right? I'll...uh...get back to you on that...

  5. parents of
    as if autistics themselves couldn't attend? or what? I am not much of a cusser, but wtf?

  6. I miss-read your post title as 'discounted autistics' at first, and thought it was to be one of your excellent piss-takes.

    Unfortunately it's the organisers of this conference who sound like they're taking the piss.

    Sort them out Bev!

  7. Sharon,
    Not "misread", really; the double meaning was intended.

    Yes, it is easy to complain here isn't it? I need to write the organizers and let them know what they've done wrong. I really don't want to be bothered with them, and would just as soon stay away from their event, but it isn't just about me.

    Sometimes I have to write a mild (?) rant first, then take the required action.

  8. I think what Estee is doing is unbelievable. I also think it's fantastic to see there are others who believe it's finally time to stand up to the non-autistic "autistic" voices. But, I do realize there are funding issues. I have begun brainstrorming with a friend, very rooted in the LA arts community who, because of her love for my son has taken an interest in learning about autism and would love to start something similar to what Estee is doing in Los Angeles. She suggested trying to get grants, but our discussion went off on a tangent. I need to research that more. (Grants from where?)

    There has to be a way of getting people/companies to fund similar awareness programs. This is truly important. There are so many autistic people complaining about groups like Autism Speaks, and rightfully so; however, it's not going to change if there isn't any other information readily available/accessible to the masses.

    Bev, you are so talented -- your art would be perfect for an exhibit, especially one with the intention of teaching people the truth about autism. Obviously this is not something that would happen tomorrow, but would you be interested in showcasing your art in an LA exhibit if we could somehow get funding/promotion/exposure? It's just an idea. But something like this has to start somewhere. you know any other artists?

  9. Melissa,
    Would you email me about this? There's a link on the main page right under my "photo". Thanks.

  10. It's like having a going-away party and not inviting the person that is going away.


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