Holiday Shopping? Shop with a Heart. Autistic Ventures to support

by Debra Muzikar

I can attest to the high quality of music, art, crafts made by many on the spectrum. This isn’t cheap stuff made in China. These are products that are made with heart and love.

At one of our Art of Autism events in Vancouver a couple years ago, Keri Bowers said to the audience, “When you support people on the autism spectrum by purchasing their products, you support your own child.”

This may be a little difficult for people to understand. With unemployment among autistic people exceeding ninety percent, every action on our part as consumers, can make a difference in a person’s life.

It’s so easy to do our shopping at Walmart or Target. It’s more difficult to seek out products that will make a difference in a person’s life. When you purchase an item made by an autistic person, you are actually investing in that person. You say “I believe in you,” with your dollars.

Valuing a person by purchasing their product, helps develop their self-esteem and gives them incentive to continue their pursuits. It’s discouraging to create and not to be recognized for one’s creations. I can attest to the high quality of books, music, art, crafts made by many on the spectrum. This isn’t cheap stuff made in China. These are products that are made with heart and love.

Participating in the cycle of creativity by purchasing a product has intrinsic benefits, not only to the person, but to your own child. You’re exhibiting the value of your child’s potential. You’re modelling to your own child that you value creations that come from people like them.

I’ve reviewed several books written by Autistic or Asperger’s people. Authors such as Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, Rudy Simone, Judy Endow, Patrick Jasper Lee, Erik Estabrook, Travis Breeding, Dani Bowman, Joel Anderson and Jennifer O’Toole have books that can benefit those who read them.

Almost all the artists we display in our gallery would love to sell originals or prints of their art. In addition, a number of them sell calendars, cards, and products. Some of the musicians sell CD’s. See the post about Rudy Simone from this week. I would love to field inquiries for purchase and supporting artists on the spectrum.

One thing I found when researching programs that support products made by individuals on the autism spectrum is that some programs don’t give the artists a portion of the proceeds from their creations. Instead, the entire amount goes to support the program. I don’t like that model. Other big organizations may have autism e-stores but they aren’t selling autism-made products. They aren’t even selling products designed by autistic people. Instead they are selling products designed by professional people that go to support the nonprofit. Often the nonprofit doesn’t even have a person on the spectrum on their board! That’s not a model I wish to support either.

Here are some other organizations that support autism-made products and give a portion of the proceeds to the autistic person:

Seeds for Autism – sells gift products made by people on the spectrum

Business Builders in Bakersfield – has many micro-enterprises with gifts and services available.

Extraordinary Ventures – This Chapel Hill, North Carolina enterprise sells candles and bath salts made by autistic people.

Eden Autism sells bracelets made by autistic people.

Many artists who are part of the Art of Autism collaborative have art that has been made into cards from My son Kevin receives royalty checks annually from this fine organization in Oregon.

I’m sure there are many other organizations who sell products by autistic people. I would love to hear of them. Comment below to add your product to the list.


  • Every time you purchase the Success Box organizational storage system for visual supports, not only are you getting a great tool for a proven method of communication, you are supporting the Easter Seals Adult Vocational Program, providing meaningful employment for ASD adults – and they love to hear, “We need more Success Boxes!” Plus, proceeds are returned directly to ASD programs. It is my mission to grow my company so I can provide even more ASD adults the opportunity to enjoy fulfilling employment and a great social environment. Please visit

    • Florentina is a teen artist with special needs & autism who found her voice through art. She lives and breaths art creating daily through inspiration from how she sees the world around her. Buy one of her cool T-Shirts featuring her “MyKids” characters through her start up business Tees & Apparel. 20% of profits are donated towards inclusive arts programs for persons with special needs & autism to create alongside their community peers.

      Florentina is a mixed-media artist offering Signed Numbered Giclee’ Prints through

      Her e-book, Celebrating Friendships for All! is available as a download for only $2 bucks!

  • Greeting cards are printed in USA with the art of artists with autism. A not-for-profit networking group for aspiring artists on the spectrum provides opportunities to show and sell their art and gifts, encouraging them to maintain their own micro-enterprise. Learning business and social skills through the arts!

  • Please visit my website “Nick’s Art Project” to learn how you can assist me as a young artist to travel a success path in developing my microenterprise. The proceeds from the sales of my cards are used for music and art therapy scholarships for others. These assisted me very much as a child and helped me to develop my love for art and music.

    The cards make a wonderful holiday gift and each features one of my art pieces. I can also provide customized orders.

    Thank you and Happy Holidays!

    Nicholas Gammicchia

  • I’m a 21-year old autistic young man, and I’ve written a chapter book for about ages 8-12. Here’s a synopsis:
    Devin and his friends think it will be cool to kidnap the school mascot, but when they try to hide from the police, a run-in with Frederick Ferret causes new problems. Frederick wants to impose an extreme punishment, and only Devin has a chance to save his friends from it. But does Devin have what it takes to drive a top performance car on the world’s scariest and most dangerous racetrack and help Frederick win the race?
    See my website to order. I do receive a portion of sales.
    Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Leo B. Kennedy

  • I am filled with joy every time someone loves our book… AWEtizm: A Hidden Key to Our Spiritual Magnificence. Beside my quotes through the book and the 11 chapters written exclusively by me, 5 of my paintings are featured as well. There are also 3 other nonverbal autistic co-writers who, like me, communicate via typing. If you ever wanted to know about the spiritual gifts in autism from the experts (that’s us!) please read and share our book. I promise that anyone who reads our book will never see autism again in a negative gloom and doom light. Our light and truth shines through beautifully in this autism portrait of who we really are. Walk with us this holiday season and share the joy!

  • I am an artist. I am also a single mother with Aspergers, a form of “high-functioning” autism. I’ve struggled my entire adult life, taking whatever jobs I could, to support myself and my daughter, who is also on the spectrum. Most of these jobs were a poor fit due to sensory sensitivity issues, not being able to multi-task, social issues, etc., which have often left me physically and emotionally drained. Even so, I have continued to pursue my creative endeavors in the evenings and on weekends. One of my greatest challenge, however,has been with networking and knowing how to promote my art, yet I am determined to not give up and to keep a positive attitude. I dream of some day earning a living through my art. My artistic/autistic gift is in highly detailed and realistic pencil drawings, which usually take 20 to 40 hours to complete. You can see samples of my work, purchase artwork and/or commission a customized portrait at or

  • By Debra’s invitation 🙂
    Everything written and created by Asperkids – the Temple Grandin/Disney/Babble/ award-winning books, the revolutionary Congratulations! You’re an Asperkid! Kit, the Asperkid’s Not-Your-Average Coloring Book and EVEN the Asperkids Geek Cool Crayons – are the creations of me, an adult with Asperger’s, or by spectrum kids around the world. We invite you with pride and love to patronize our site – and be part of “the Asperkids Movement”! xo, Jennifer

  • Justin Canha : Children’s Wall Art and Pet Portraits:
    Justin is an artist featured in “The Art of Autism”. His work first appeared on the New York art scene in 2005, in the Autism/Aspergers/Art exhibition at Ricco/Maresca Gallery which continues to represent him, and since then has been exhibited at several universities, galleries and museums in the United States. He was also the subject of an extensive profile in the New York Times, “Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World”, by Amy Harmon in September of 2011. Canha was honored at the McCarton Foundation’s “Genius of Autism” events in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He has presented at various autism conferences such as, Autism New Jersey and YAI in New York City in 2012 and the ASD Symposium in Providence, Rhode Island in 2013.

    Canha works as a freelance illustrator and story boarder/animator as well as a part-time cake decorator and an Assistant Elementary School Art Teacher. He sells his children’s wall art on (Justin Canha Art) and does commissioned pet portraits (check out Justin Canha Art on Facebook).

  • Hello all, I am the mom of a daughter in the spectrum. I am an interior designer. I would like to promote design products for the home that include furniture, art, rugs, etc. that are made by others in the spectrum. Please email me if you are interested in having me take a look at what you create. Thanks so much. enjoy the day.

    Deborah Rosenberg

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