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Last night I went to a college's autism program inquiry night. It was set up so that autistic people who are considering going to that college in the future can learn about how the college's autism program works. The store below the rooms where the inquiry night was being held is the college store. Apparently the store is run mainly by autistic people.

When I went upstairs I was a bit shy at first. A lady came over and asked me what I wanted to major in and I said game design. She told me that she's a history major and recommended I talk to another lady, who was an art major. I've never been in an autism specific group before, so I haven't been around many other autistic people. Seeing that the lady I was talking to was rocking a bit and using a stim toy was nice, as I do those things too.

I went over to a guy who was at a table playing Pokémon and talked to him about it a bit. I heard someone talking about Autism Acceptance Month and said that they should put up some red fairy lights in the room during that month. I said that red should be used because there's a "red instead" thing that's said because "light it up blue" is an Autism Speaks thing and Autism Speaks is bad. When I said that Autism Speaks is bad she said yeah and that she knew there was some controversy around the company. I was glad that she was aware of it. I also said that since fairy lights are dim, they probably wouldn't cause sensory issues for people. She told me that it was a good idea and that she'd bring it up with someone.

Later, I showed my stim toys to the first lady I met, Katie, and the art major. The art major asked me what one of my stim toys was called, so I told her it was an Infinity Cube and, because I felt I was supposed to, asked her if she wanted to try it (I did not actually want to offer, but I did anyway). She asked me if I was sure and I said yes and let her try it. She liked it. Later on, the art major said that there were stress balls and gel packs if anyone wanted them, so I took a gel pack (it's star shaped).

When Katie was talking to my parents she wasn't making eye contact. This was another thing that was nice to see because I often don't make eye contact as well. Another lady came over and at one point I mentioned not having nails because I pick at them. Katie said that the lady who had come over helped her with not biting her own nails by giving her something to fidget with. It was the same thing Katie had at the time. There were more of them on the table and the lady gave me one and Katie coiled it up for me.

Here are my thoughts on the inquiry night:
- It was nice to be around other autistic people, and I was glad to see that Katie had some of the same autistic traits as me
- I got two new things that I can stim with, so that's nice
- There were some puzzle piece motifs on products in the shop and in the upstairs rooms, which I wasn't happy about, but it wasn't all blue puzzle pieces (Autism Speaks' logo) so that was a relief
- One of the ladies I talked to knew that Autism Speaks is controversial, so that's good
- There were infinity symbol motifs on products in the shop and in the upstairs rooms, which was nice to see
- I appreciate that everyone was nice to me and that someone there said my dad is nice to talk to
Just to have an event put on that focusses on autism acceptance is a big thing IMHO.
Somebody there has an awareness - which I feel is unusual
That sounds like a lovely evening. An evening like this would have made all the difference to me when I was young. I am glad that you had such a welcoming experience!

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