Autistic Activism in the Babywearing World

Rainbow background with blue, yellow and pink. Includes a tree with heart leaves, two children swinging, plus a child on his tip toes, a child sitting in grass with headphones, a child twirling in a dress and a child flapping their hands, and butterflies flying with a dotted trail.As many of you know, I haven’t done a lot of activism-y type stuff since leaving ASAN. Well, a couple of months ago a company called Butterfly Kisses Baby Boutique had been approached to design a wrap by some parents of autistic kids. The owner put her effort into designing something those parents would love. The result was called “Puzzling World.”

As you can imagine, with autism and puzzling, the design was very stigma driven. It was more or less a LOT of puzzle pieces, missing puzzle hearts, and loner autistic children. I’m not going to share the original image as it was very disappointing. When I saw it, initially, in a small thumbnail as I scrolled on Facebook, it looked halfway decent. Then I went to see the actual design and was bombarded with the puzzle-extravaganza. It took me a couple of days to get up the courage to say something.

When I did so, I did so publicly on the company’s page. I also said something on my personal Facebook page. I wanted everyone to know how terrible this was and was expecting a retailer who was going to silence and ignore me. That’s not what happened. After a few autistic people came on, she agreed to change the design. She agreed to find an autistic person to design it. And even responded to criticisms from the paaaarents who were quite upset that they wouldn’t get to have their puzzle design.

Well, I’m the autistic person that designed the updated, no-stigma version. I’ve done a few other wrap designs, plus being autistic and parent to autistic kids, and a babywearer, it made me happy to do it. In the end, I learned small scale activism does still work.

If you don’t babywear but want to support the retailer for making a choice to listen to autistic people, there are bags, small blankets, stuffed animals and fabric. If you want to donate a wrap to someone in need, I have an autistic friend who is looking to start a collection. I would be happy to hook you up.

 

Disclosure: I am being compensated for the design work but only if pre-order totals are met. 

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