Dig Deeper than the T-Shirt Design

Alright folks gather ’round and listen to a cautionary t-shirt tale from your nunkie Vee.

It’s late March 2022. Autistics everywhere are already burnt out and “autism bewareness month” hasn’t even begun. The group Autism Inclusivity is dodging harmful posts left and right thanks to the valiant efforts of the admin team.

In the pending queue there’s what seems like a pro neurodiversity t-shirt post. There’s not a puzzle piece in sight. The message on the shirt is one of inclusion. The company claims to have Autistic input.

Seems like a great thing for over 110k people who love Autistic people and the Autistic Community to see, right? Seems like a great place to show your support with your dollars, right?

Most folks would let a post like that right through, especially this time of year, but our admin have been doing this a while now and we’re suss. And this time of year we’re on High Alert.

So we went to their website. The link was right there in the post.

What we found was appalling and heartbreaking. Their Autistic input comes from a person who is having her privacy violated in order to sell merchandise. Very private details of this young person’s life are there for the world to see. Glowing accounts from her parents of her years in ABA and how “helpful” they found it.

But not a puzzle piece in sight. And such a “positive” message, right?

This is why is important to dig deeper than the t-shirt. This is why taking the extra step to find out where your money is going is so important.

I’m not going to give the company the air time they wanted by naming them or even showing the design. The website is triggering for anyone who believes in and fights for the rights and autonomy of Autistic individuals regardless of how we communicate or what supports we might need in life.

(Originally posted by me as an admin in a closed Facebook group where someone asked for a public version to share.)

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