Jaiden was diagnosed with Autism when he was a little over two years old and is a life-loving, kindness spreading, creative, self-advocating superhero on a mission to show the world that there are no limits to what you can do when you believe in yourself and that Autism isn’t a bad thing. He will always find a way to share kindness, love, and positivity wherever he is, all while being the best son, friend, and person he can be. Together, we continue to use our story, experiences, and love of creativity to raise more positive Autism awareness and acceptance around the world, and have been featured in major publications and media such as USA Today, ATTN, Sister Circle Live, NowThis News, and People.
We truly appreciate the support and love we receive, and Jaiden personally wants to thank you all. In his own words, “You’re my friend now!”
Behind The Brand
I have been an active and passionate Autism advocate since Jaiden was first diagnosed. At the time of his diagnosis, I knew nothing about Autism, but what I did know was that there was a long list of things his pediatrician and therapists told me he may never be able to do. Today, Jaiden is surpassing every limitation placed on him and continues to overcome challenges, all in his own time. One of the things they said he may never be able to do was work a “real job”. Creating Jai At Play with him allows me to provide employment for him without him needing to prove how capable or worthy he is in order to work for someone else while being autistic.
Additionally, a significant part of his growth and development can be attributed to the power of patience, teamwork, faith, and love. We want to share this mindset and approach with as many people as possible because it takes an Autism diagnosis and turns it into an experience and journey that parents and their children take together, rather than pushing the notion that it’s something you have to get through and survive. It opens hearts and minds to the individual, rather than just the diagnosis. It will create safer spaces for autistic children to thrive and be themselves. It reminds people that Autism is not a bad word or a tragedy, but a part of who someone is.
How We're Different
Autism is too often tied to misfortune, shame, guilt, and pity. Numerous major Autism-centered companies, including Autism Speaks, focus on the medical aspects of Autism, including research into prevention and cures, treatments, services, interventions, training, and resources for autistic individuals and their families “affected by”, “struggling with” and “surviving” Autism. A key reason many actually autistic individuals don’t support those kinds of organizations is because they campaign negative misconceptions and narratives about Autism with the ultimate goal of curing, fixing, and ending Autism, though Autism is not something that can or needs to be cured. Rather, it's people's perceptions of Autism and autistic individuals that need to change.
With both of us being autistic (I was diagnosed in adulthood), we understand the significance of better and more positive representation, awareness, acceptance, and understanding. Also, it is a known fact that black youth, families, and minorities with Autism are vastly underrepresented in Autism studies, research, media, and the general Autism industry. While our products welcome autistic youth and their families of all races and ethnicities, we are committed to inviting and making space for those that are often overlooked and underrepresented.