My experiences at the Amazing Incredible Wonderful Autreat!

I went to Autreat for the first time! What an amazing experience it was for me. I enjoyed the autistic space which was for me and any one else who attended this year. My trip first started as I entered Penn Station at Newark. I waited anxiously for the train to arrive 40 minutes prior to departure. I was asking a few people at the station when the next train to my destination will be. As I got on the train finally, my trip began. I went to take my seat on the Amtrak and began organizing what I wanted to do on the train. I took out my sketch pad, my pencils, my notebook, my pen, and a book to read. I first began writing a poem about Autreat while riding on the train at 2:10pm Monday wondering if Autreat will live up to what other people have been saying about it to me.

What will things be like?
I am nervous
I worry about my past
Move forward to be who we are
Time for some relaxation
We will learn
We will be comfortable in society with every one else
Autreat, Oh my god, I can’t believe I am going!
Hopefully successful
I will go home and feel better about how I am in society
Think Positive!
Move Forward…

I was told to Tweet about Autreat while I am there, but I know there is also a privacy policy at Autreat. Once my train arrived, my week began. I found the interaction badges very helpful for both the people around me and myself.

The trip from Autism Network International taught me lessons, helped me express myself, and continued to meet new, interesting people. Every one had their own unique gift to share with every one. I just hope more people can attend next year. The interaction badges were the most intriguing part of the retreat. Each badge represents a different color to signify when a person is ready for interactions with other people. The ‘Red’ badge represents being by yourself unless you initiate the conversation, the ‘Yellow’ badge represents a step further in the conversation where someone can initiate only, and the ‘Green’ badge represents normal conversations. It depends how much conversation a person can have due to how much stimulation we can get at the time.

I thoroughly enjoyed Autreat because it helped me be even more comfortable with who I am. Next year I hope Autreat can work with Adaptations to help work together to create more Autistic space for every one!

When I first arrived at Autreat, I saw the sign from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown while underneath read “Welcome Autreat!” I went inside to meet, the coordinator, Jim Sinclair who helped me through the paperwork like the privacy policy paper and the room key. I brought my stuff to my room, went to cafeteria to get some dinner, and listened to the orientation before bedtime, but was not sure what to expect. I was very excited to be there this year. I had met every one at Autreat during the experience and it felt really good trying to find connections with every one there. The presentations at Autreat were intriguing and well spoken. One of the presentations even presented my Autistic Artistic Carnival I do every year. At Autreat I spoke to many of the people there saying if there was only a way Autism Speaks would finally accept Autism Network International as the first Autism organization started in the early 1990’s, may be Autism Speaks can coordinate with, and promote Autreat! However I was told that wouldn’t happen and I was also told at Autreat I am the peacemaker.

Every morning I woke up early just to see the sun-rise and stay to watch the sun-set. Sometimes I would see someone awake in the morning who I spoke with during the sun-rise, but I just liked to experience the new era of a new day while at the time of sun-set I enjoyed reflecting on my experience from that day. I really enjoyed the Glow Party which was our version of Fireworks, however some of us did see Fireworks in town the previous day anyway. I tried to learn how to play the African drumset which was quite fun as well as making my own tee shirt with paints.

It was a great week in Johnstown because every body had a chance to help each other. I got to get to know many people I knew online and others I just learned to get to know. From learning to being a better advocate in social media to learning how to eat healthy to learning more about sexuality to learning how to communicate physical feelings/symptoms to a doctor; there were many important topics covered at the presentations. I really loved the non-judgmental atmosphere, the quiet nature, and the respect every one had for one another. It reminded me that we have to attribute our own self-worth to feel dignified and gracious as well as know we all have something to help. No body can not take that away from any one person in society.

As my answer to my poem above about Autreat:

Be who you are,
Be what you can do,
Be sensible,
Be respectful,
Be meaningful,
Be dignified,
Be secure,
and Be yourself.
Don’t be someone you are not,
but don’t say no to can and say I can not.
Just be the best you, you can be.
Not every one is a Renaissance,
yet to be a Renaissance we can try.
Just be who you are and that’s all that is asked of you,
and don’t let any one step all over you saying
“you’re not!”

I can’t express the gratitude I have toward being able to attend Autreat.

(I know its been awhile since my last post, but I hope to be posting new things soon!)


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One thought on “My experiences at the Amazing Incredible Wonderful Autreat!

  1. Rayn

    Awesome post! I almost felt like I was there! I’m so glad that you were able to fully experience Autreat on your very first visit! Skillz! I really hope you go next year, too! 🙂

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