Autistics Present Symposium: Call for Proposals

Autistics Present Essential Youth Voices Call For Proposals click on image for full information

Proposal and Workshop Guidelines (download here)

  1. Language: Although the Symposium organizers prefer Identity First Language (i.e., Autistic Person rather than Person with Autism), we respect each person’s right to use language that they prefer when referring to themselves. Please include your reasons for language choice in your proposal and workshop presentation.
  2. Identity: In order to present at the Autistics Present Symposium, all presenters must identify as autistic. You do not need a formal diagnosis. You will be asked to provide a brief description of when you first learned that you were autistic in your workshop proposal. It is not necessary to include this in your presentation.
  3. Youth Voices: This year, we will be accepting proposals from youth only, ages 13-22. If you are younger than 13 or older than 22 and would like to submit, please do so and we will consider your proposal! Local, Western Washington State youth will present in person at the Symposium, and longer-distance youth may present virtually as we do not have the ability to pay travel expenses to the conference. You will be paid a $200 stipend for your presentation after the symposium is over.
  4. Content: Your personal experience is valuable; however, your workshop should convey more than personal experience. Please include experiences of others, your research, and best practices as well. Preference will be given to proposals that focus on supporting autistic strengths, culture, and identity, rather than attempting to fix autistic individuals towards becoming more like typically-developing peers (more neurotypical).

You may use support persons to prepare and present the workshop, however, your presentation must be your own original work. Support persons should take care to allow the thoughts and ideas of the presenter to be the only ones contained in the workshop. Citations of others’ work is acceptable, of course, and often necessary.


Please fill out all six sections below completely, and return to with a subject line of “Autism Symposium Proposal”. Proposal deadline is June 15, 2019.

For proposal questions or help filling out the proposal, please email

Instructions: Please respond to the following six sections, with no more than 100 words per section. Fewer words are quite acceptable! 

Section 1. Autistic Identity:

Please briefly describe when and how you first received your autism diagnosis, or, if you are self-identified, when and how you came to identify as autistic. Please also include your age in this section. If you do not identify as autistic, or as a person with autism, please do not submit a symposium proposal. No more than 100 words. Fewer words are quite acceptable!

Section 2. Language Use:

Please explain whether you prefer to use Identity First or Person First language, or a combination, and why. Please feel free to link to yours or others’ writing that describes your viewpoint as a substitute for writing an answer here.

Section 3. Track

Workshops will generally run for 30 minutes. If you have a longer or shorter proposal, please let us know the length of time you think you will need.

Please choose ONE track – your workshop must fit into one of these categories. If you would like to propose a workshop for more than one track, please submit a separate proposal for each workshop. See Tracks and descriptions below:

  • Track I: Important Issues for Today’s Autistic Youth – Hear Us

Workshops in this track will explore the issues that are important to you and other autistic young people. What do others need to know about issues that affect you and the autistic community? What can others do to create positive change to make the world a better place for autistic people and other people as well?  All attendees will benefit from this track.

  • Track II: Autistic at Home and School – Support Us

Workshops in this track will focus on ways that families, friends, educators, and other professionals can support autistic youth at home and at school. What can they do to support you in using your strengths and making the most of your skills, interests, and abilities to build a happy and successful life? Be sure to include more than your personal experience.  This track is for families, friends, educators, and other professionals.

Section 4. Title & Content:

What title would you like to use for your workshop? Describe your workshop. This description may be used in part for the symposium agenda. Include information that you think will be interesting to symposium attendees. No more than 100 words. Fewer words are quite acceptable!

Section 5. Further Information about your Workshop:

Please answer each of the following questions:

For this section, please use no more than 100 words per question. Fewer words are acceptable!

  1. What do you want workshop attendees to know after they’ve attended your workshop?
  2. What attitudinal changes, outlook, or other feelings do you hope workshop attendees will experience by attending your workshop?
  3. What do you want workshop attendees to be able to do with the information you’ve presented in your workshop?

Section 6. About You:

Please tell us more about the experiences that make you a good workshop presenter. Tell us about things such as past presentations, including classroom presentations, and your passion for helping others understand autism. No more than 100 words. Fewer words are quite acceptable!

That’s it! Six sections total, and one is just checking a box! You can use this page to write your answers, or start another document, either is fine. When you are finished, please email it to us at with the subject line “Autism Symposium Proposal”.  Proposal deadline is June 15, 2019.

If you have questions about writing the proposal, please contact Sara Gardner at .

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I’m not autistic, but I want to present. Can I? This symposium will feature only presenters who identify or are diagnosed as autistic (or on the autism spectrum.) Most autism conferences feature non-autistic presenters, and we want to create a space that allows the voices of autistic people to be heard as the experts that they are, and as the prominent voice. This does not mean that we don’t value other perspectives. This conference is a time to listen to the voices of autistic people.

I’m younger (or older) than the ages listed – can I still present? We listed ages 13-22 to give you an idea of the age range we are looking for – basically K-12 and undergraduate-aged youth. If you have something to contribute in this category and are older or younger, please send us a proposal, and be sure to include your age!

I’m autistic, and need to bring a non-autistic person to support me with my presentation. Is this okay? Yes, it’s fine! As long as you are the creator of the materials, and the primary presenter, you are welcome to use supports, including a support person, as needed, for communication or other needs. Once you are accepted as a presenter, please let us know so we can register your support person free-of-charge.

I want to present, but can’t afford to travel to the conference. If you are long-distance, we would love to have you present virtually! Unfortunately, we do not have funds to support travel to the conference.

It’s past the June 15th deadline for workshop proposals! Can I still present? It never hurts to ask! Please inquire as to whether or not we are still accepting proposals. We want to include as many people as possible.

When will I hear if my workshop proposal has been accepted? If you submitted it by the June 15 deadline, we will let you know by August 1. If you submitted it after the deadline, we promise to review it as quickly as possible!

How long will the workshops be? Workshops will generally be 30 minutes long. Attendees will have 15 minutes to move between workshops.

How many people will be in my workshop? It’s hard to say how many people will choose to attend each workshop, however, the rooms typically hold about 30 or so people each. If your workshop is in the main room, there may be significantly more people in attendance.

Will there be a projector? Will there be an internet connection? Your workshop room will be presentation ready with a projector, computer, speakers, white boards (in most cases), and internet access.

What will the seating arrangements be like in the workshop room? Most of the rooms have individuals chairs with desk arms or tables. The main presentation area has individual chairs behind long desks in an auditorium setting.



Last Updated April 8, 2019