Autscape FAQ

General

What's it like?

This is a very difficult question to answer. The best way to find out is to come to Autscape! Our ‘experience’ pages give some idea of what Autscape is like.

Is it for autism or Aspergers? Am I too high/low functioning to attend? Is it only for people who've been diagnosed?

Autscape doesn't make distinctions like these. All varieties of autistic people from all parts of the spectrum are welcome, whether diagnosed or not. Diversity enriches the experience for everyone. To meet other people who may come to Autscape join the ‘Experience’ email list (registration required).

Does Autscape provide support?

No. Unfortunately we are unable to provide formal support for participants. However you may not need as much support at Autscape as you do in day to day life. Autscape is geared to the needs of autistic people. It is also possible that a little informal help may be available from fellow participants. Our expectations page explains in more detail what you will need to be able to do for yourself at Autscape.

What is the address of the venue?

Details of this year's venue are on the venue section of the web site.

Who runs Autscape?

Autscape is run entirely by unpaid volunteers. Most of us are autistic ourselves.

Cost and Size

Why does Autscape cost so much?

We do our very best to keep the cost of Autscape as low as possible. We know that many autistic people are on benefits. However when you come to Autscape we provide accommodation for 3 nights and all meals. While we try very hard to find the cheapest possible venues which meet our needs, overnight accommodation and food cost money. Compared to the cost of full board accommodation for 3 nights in a hotel, we believe we offer good value for money. Autscape itself actually charges participants very little on top of the money we have to pay to hire the venue. We calculate that most participants on low incomes would need to save a little over £3 a week over a year in order to afford to come to Autscape.

Why does Autscape charge for a person's carer/support worker/PA?

Although we would like to, we simply cannot afford to provide free places for carers. Many of our participants have carers/support workers/PAs and would want them to accompany them to Autscape if free places were available. Autscape is a small organisation and, for us to be able to continue running the conference each year, the fees paid by participants need to cover the cost of hiring the venue. Unfortunately providing free places for carers would mean that Autscape would have to double our current fees for participants. This would make Autscape accessible to one group whilst making it inaccessible to a large number of other autistics who are on low incomes. We do understand that this makes Autscape expensive for those who absolutely have to bring a carer so we have provided some information about trying to obtain funding for carers. We also intend to continue to keep this issue under review in the hope that it will be possible to further increase Autscape's overall accessibility in the future.

Why doesn't Autscape get bigger and provide places for more people?

Because we feel that if Autscape got very much bigger than it currently is, it wouldn't be very autistic friendly. However see Why doesn't Autscape happen more than once a year/in more places?

Why doesn't Autscape happen more than once a year/in more places?

Running the current conference takes all the resources the organisers have. However, we would also like to see other things happening: perhaps a conference in another European country or another part of the UK; a retreat weekend or social gathering at another time of the year or perhaps something else. If you would like to organise such an event then get together with others and make it happen – that's how Autscape started. Once you're underway with organising your event, please do tell us about it. If your event fits with our ethos, we may well be willing to endorse your event.

Additional Events

Autscape is currently considering running additional events and these will be announced as and when arrangements are in place. However we continue to want to encourage others to organise events: perhaps a conference in another European country or another part of the UK; a retreat weekend or social gathering at another time of the year or perhaps something else. If you would like to organise such an event then get together with others and make it happen – that's how Autscape started. Once you're underway with organising your event please do tell us about it. If your event fits with our ethos we may well be willing to endorse your event.

Programme

Why isn't Autscape longer?

Mainly because making Autscape longer would also make it more expensive. When the option of extending Autscape has been put to the membership along with the increased cost, the members have consistently voted not to make Autscape longer.

Why does the programme start so early in the morning (9am)?

Because we only have 3 days for Autscape we need to make the most of the time. We try to balance the needs of a large group of people with very varied sleeping schedules. Perhaps surprisingly, 9am presentations are usually well attended. The programme is reviewed and reconsidered by the Formal and Alternative programme subcommittees each year.

Can we have presentations in the evening?

It's not impossible but we do try to leave some time available for all the less formal activities which are also an important part of Autscape. We also try to make sure there is some time for people to rest. Presentations in the evening would make for an even longer and more tiring day.

Can we have more presentations, more leisure time, more hands-on presentations, fewer presentations, specific topics … ?

Whilst we do our best to accommodate the most common autistic needs and the preferences of a majority of participants, it simply isn't possible to make everything perfectly suited to each participant. Even, and perhaps especially, amongst autistics, needs are often incompatible. But if you contribute your views on the feedback forms there is a good chance that at least some of the Autscape programme will suit you.

Venue

Why doesn't the Autscape venue have more single rooms, cooked breakfast, ensuite bathrooms, better pillows, tea & coffee making facilities in the rooms, full cotton sheets, particular cereals for breakfast, fruit plates that look more attractive, …

Because these luxuries cost money. Venues which provide these things would be much more expensive and we try to keep the cost of Autscape as low as possible so that people on low incomes have a chance to come. You are welcome to help us in our ongoing search for suitable venues for Autscape. We have a web page explaining our needs, however please do not contact venues directly without checking with us first, we may have already spoken to them.

Getting Involved

Can I help with…?

Yes – if you can commit to carrying out the task you agree to do. We always need people who can carry out specific tasks for Autscape. This page explains how to get involved.

How do I become a board member?

The Autscape board is elected by the membership at the Autscape AGM which takes place during the Autscape conference each year. You can view the job descriptions for specific roles (chair, company secretary, honorary secretary, treasurer and venue coordinator) and for directors (board members) in general. In order to be elected you must be nominated by a deadline which is usually about a month before Autscape. The call for nominations is made on the ‘Announce’ email list (registration required). You must be an Autscape member in order to be nominated. You can nominate yourself but must be seconded by another Autscape member. If you do not know anyone you can ask on the ‘Chat’ email list for a seconder. You will also need to write a short statement setting out your experience and relevant skills. While any Autscape member is allowed to stand for election, most people who are elected have attended Autscape at least once and have gained some experience of how Autscape works by getting involved on the Plan list and in subcommittees prior to standing for election to the board.

How do I become a presenter?

Each year Autscape issues a call for proposals around February. Proposals have to be in by a deadline which is usually around April/May. Details of how to enter a proposal are contained in the call for proposals. If you want to be sure you see the Call for Proposals, join the Autscape announce list (registration required).

Proposals for the main programme are considered by the Programme subcommittee and finally selected by the board. We apply a number of selection criteria, including:

  • compatibility with the right of autistics to exist (so we would not accept presentations focussed on cures or how to make us normal, for example),
  • how interesting/useful the topic is likely to be to Autscape participants,
  • the relevant skills/experience/qualifications of the proposed presenter,
  • the experience and track record (if any) of the proposed presenter,
  • some slight relevance to that year's theme, and
  • the overall balance of that particular year's programme.

We welcome a diverse range of proposals from autistic and non-autistic, experienced and first-time presenters. For further information see proposals.

Miscellaneous

Why doesn't Autscape campaign for Autistic rights?

See our statement regarding Autscape and autism politics.

Why doesn't Autscape advertise more?

The main reason is that Autscape already cannot provide places for everyone who wants to come.

Why doesn't Autscape have more choice in the pens/notepads provided in the conference folders?

Finding low minimum quantities at a reasonable rate is difficult. We'd need to be ordering 500+ to have the choice people would like.

Why can't the Autscape organisers be on hand to immediately solve problems during Autscape?

We do have at least two organisers on duty all the time. However we would ask you to try to be patient and reasonable in your expectations. Organisers are also autistic. We attend presentations/activities (though we are willing to be interrupted when on duty). We need rest. We get overloaded (and we can't always ensure that doesn't happen when we're on duty). We need to eat and sleep. We need to have meetings to resolve issues which come up. And we need to help other participants too.

In general, why doesn't Autscape have more, do more, meet every need, provide every facility, for free, all the time?

There are two main reasons which often answer these type of questions: time and money. Firstly Autscape is run by volunteers who are autistic too. We only have so much time and energy. We also struggle with inertia, organisational difficulties, overload and other autistic challenges. If you want to make something happen, get involved and help to make it happen.

Secondly, Autscape is not a large well-funded organisation. Our main income is from the fees paid by participants. Occasionally we have been able to access grants from other organisations but this is not a stable source of income and requires a lot of work to obtain. Other than that what resources we have come from small donations from our members (who are mostly on low incomes).

Please see our donations page. Even small amounts are welcome! Thank you for your support!