PrAACtical Thinking Fun Friday Holiday Shopping with a purpose

Published on November 8th, 2013 | by Robin Parker

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Fun Friday: Holiday Shopping with a Purpose, Part 1

The holidays are prAACtically here and depending upon the holiday traditions you celebrate they may be closer than you realize.  Chanukah begins the day before thanksgiving and we never think it is too early to shop for Christmas or any other holiday, so here are some great companies to help you get started.  We will update this holiday shopping list a few times throughout this holiday season. Please send any additional companies you feel should be included. 

Paper Clouds Apparel- Get t-shirts, hats, and totes featuring artwork designed by individuals with special needs. Paper Clouds apparel also hires individuals with special needs to package all of the products.  and more.  Paper Clouds Apparel was formed to showcase the creative minds and artistic abilities of individuals with special needs while raising funds to provide financial support for special needs schools and organizations. Fifty percent of the net proceeds from the sale of all merchandise is given to the cause we are promoting in each campaign.

Keepsake Theme Quilts and Wall Hangings- Have a quilt made with all of your sentimental t-shirts from a company with a social purpose. Keepsake Quilts is part of Deaf Initiatives that creates employment opportunities for Deaf individuals as a path to personal success, financial independence and self-fulfilled lives.  There is a Deaf friendly work environment which includes large open rooms, which are essential when using a visual language to communicate and assistive technology for individuals that cannot hear to help facilitate communicate between the Deaf and hearing.

The Chocolate Spectrum- You can purchase chocolates, nuts, and more desserts at the Chocolate Spectrum.   Each month, The Chocolate Spectrum donates to a variety of autism charities.  The Chocolate Spectrum  is small, family run artisan chocolate confections company started by  Valerie Herskowitz. Chocolatier Valerie is a graduate of Ecole Chocolat and was also trained in the Pastry Arts by Chef Joe Scarmutti of In the Kitchen. The Chocolate Spectrum Crew includes, Blake, Valerie’s adult son. Though (or because) he has autism, Blake loves being in the kitchen baking and creating anything that tastes good. 

Lee and Maries Bakery- Order beautiful desserts for any occasion. Lee and Marie’s mission is to build profitable businesses that will create jobs and employ adults with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). The business model is to  create awareness for individuals with disabilities who are traditionally underemployed and demonstrate the positive effect these opportunities will have on an entire community.

Eye Gaze Artists- “Your chance to buy a unique piece of art history and support people with severe physical disability” by Eye Gaze Artists. 

Photography by Robbie Green- Get beautiful nature photography in cards or portraits.  Robbie Green is a young man with autism.  

Single Handed Studio- Digital painting and design by AJ Brockman who does portraits of people and pets from photographs, as well as landscapes and more. A.J. Brockman has SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and views himself as “differently abled” rather than disabled. 

Stephen Wiltshire is an artist who draws and paints detailed cityscapes. He has a particular talent for drawing lifelike, accurate representations of cities, sometimes after having only observed them briefly. He has an on-line gift shop with mugs, posters, calendars, sketches, and of course original art.     

Roses for Autism - Purchase roses for the holidays. Roses for Autism grows and sell roses in an integrated community  Roses for Autism at the Pinchbeck Farm (RFA) offers career training and hands-on employment opportunities for adults living with ASD. 

Rising Tide Car Wash- If you live in South Florida (or know someone who lives in South Florida), you can buy car washes, be in the founders club, join the unlimited car wash club and more as a holiday gift. The Rising Tide Car Wash mission is to change the way society views autism by having employees that are the best car wash associates in the business. The employees get the tools to meet these standards through a rigorous training program developed in partnership with CarWash College.  Once employed by Rising Tide, all staff members are constantly reviewed by supervisors and secret shoppers. These processes ensure that no one walks away from Rising Tide without an impeccably clean car – and hopefully a new found respect for individuals with autism.

How Katie Got Her Voice by Pat Mervine- Buy a book. This children’s book celebrates that which makes us all unique, but also highlights how sometimes a little help is needed to show us how much we are alike. Read this book in the classroom, in therapy, and at home to open a discussion about acceptance, inclusion, disability etiquette, and overcoming challenges of all kinds. Pat Mervine created and owns speakingofspeech.com is the first and largest interactive forum for speech/language pathologists and teachers to improve communication skills in our schools.  

Support AADMD- American Academy of Developmental Medicine and DentistryProvides high quality training resources about developmental disabilities for medical, allied health, and dentistry professionals.  The American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) was organized in 2002 to provide a forum for healthcare professionals who provide clinical care to people with neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disabilities (ND/ID).

 

 

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About the Author

Robin Parker

Robin Parker Robin Parker is a professor of speech language pathology who has loved supporting the communication and language of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders for more than 20 years. One of her professional passions is spreading the word about PrAACtical AAC. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Helen Keller



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