For several years now, we have seen a push on social media, newspapers, and local venues to support small businesses. Small businesses are what keep our economy afloat. It’s your small-town computer repair person, your local eye doctor who gives you personalized service and a friendly smile, or the news person that everyone in town knows to go to for the latest in local events.
Nothing against Amazon, or Wal-mart, or anyone who works for them. People do what they need to support their families.
It’s also how people support themselves and supplement their income when they are either under-employed, or unemployed. This is especially relevant for autistic adults.
According to MarketWatch:
There will be 500,000 adults on the autism spectrum aging into adulthood over the next 10 years. Yet a whopping 85% of college grads affected by autism are unemployed, compared to the national unemployment rate of 4.5%.
Those statistics only polled autistic college graduates. This doesn’t even come close to addressing the hundreds of thousands of autistic adults who are unable to attend college, for myriad reasons.
With the holidays upon us, we would like to invite you to consider purchasing from one of the many autistic-run businesses over the next 6 weeks. I, Dallas Brogden of ‘Autistician‘, Jules Edwards of ‘Autistic, Typing’, and Tiffany Nicole of ‘Quirky.Stimmy.Cool‘, have partnered together and compiled a consolidated list of business pages, Etsy links, and websites that are all owned and operated by Autistic adults. There is a wealth of high-quality, lovingly crafted, and extremely creative items that would be perfect for a gift this year.
Supporting Autistic businesses help sustain in many ways. It allows us to maintain our independence, support our families, and gives us a sense of pride in our innate talents. It also allows the rest of the world the very unique opportunity to contribute to worldwide autistic acceptance. It gives you the chance to display your pride in helping members of the disabled community, while also making someone in your family feel the joy that comes from a personalized gift, made just for them.
When you give someone a personalized gift, several things occur:
- Deeper connection to your recipient. When you give a gift that you have personally chosen, you’re conveying to the recipient that you cherish the bond you have with that person. They also feel an added depth to their relationship to you.
- It’s more memorable. When we receive a gift that has been personally sought, chosen, and given, we feel more joy and our endorphins spike. We feel cared for in ways that a gift card or a mass-produced piece simply can’t equal. No matter the relationship, be it platonic, romantic, or a workplace friendship, when a person spies that gift in a random moment, they will remember with happiness that it was chosen specifically for them. Again, endorphins rise, and we feel joy.
- You feel better. It gives us a deep sense of satisfaction to know that we are doing something good in the world when we take the time to search out and select a gift, no matter how small it may seem, for someone in our lives. We as human souls crave the feeling of contribution. We want to know we’re making a positive impact on the world around us.
Back in January, Jules Edwards came up with the idea of autistic people supporting autistic people, and thus the #BuyAutistic directory was born. We always knew there were many autistic people who create things, and ran businesses, but we were astounded by just how many there are! We wanted a central location to house the links to each of these, so that it could be easily searched, added to, and adjusted as needed.
We in the autistic community know how important it is to feel that joy, that sense of satisfaction, and self-sustain. We thrive on supporting our own, in any way we can. Many times, this equates to a supportive social media presence, words of encouragement, solidarity in challenging circumstances. By helping us in this way, you also have the opportunity to feel that same joy in a tangible way.
We would like to ask each person who reads this to peruse the selection of artists, makers, and creators here, and purchase at least one item for someone in your family, your friend circle, or your workplace Secret-Santa groups. Many of these items are extremely affordable, and they have the added bonus of being high-quality items, because as many of you know, autistic people lend to hyper-focus in their passions and special interests. This means that often we are perfectionists, and when that translates into marketing, you simply won’t find a better made product no matter what it is. We won’t allow ourselves to send inferior merchandise out into the world with our names on it. Our gray-matter flat-out won’t allow it.
Every single one of these links is owned and operated by an autistic person. Help us help our community by committing to buying one or more of these for someone this holiday season.
Dallas, Jules, & Tiffany
p.s. If you wish to have your business listed in the directory, you must have a link, either Etsy, website, or some other method for people to purchase from you on social media. An Instagram or Facebook page doesn’t help much for people to buy from you. If you need help setting one of those up, please send an email to: BuyAutisticDirectory (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will do our best to help you.
Below is the link to a downloadable PDF that you can save or share. We also have been working tirelessly to get these links added to the searchable directory that can be found by clicking on the tab at the top of this page, or simply by clicking the ‘Home’ button.