Christmas is coming up and I hate the commercialism of it.
I was born in the 60s when the Christmas trees smelled of pine and people made homemade paper chains in colored paper and hung them instead of shop bought tinsel and designer trees.
People made presents or gave IOUs.
Santa gave away sweets to people in the city and he didn’t have any obvious sponsor.
it was a different era.
The plastic era arrived in the 70s and by the 80s electronica ruled and the have-have generations began.
There are a new generation of parents born in the 80s who can’t imagine shoe repair shops once existed in every suburb… that people actually got things repaired or ‘made do’.
OK, so Christmas is coming up and if you folks are going to send cards and aren’t going to make your own cards then have a thought about visiting www.auties.org and looking at the listings there by people on the spectrum and others who are autism-friendly and consider whether you’d like to directly support the self employment enterprises of members of one of the most highly unemployed and underemployed groups in society.
We have people listed for whom arts, writing, on-line tutoring, web design and other products and services etc are part of their hope to build occupation for themselves where mainstream employment is either limited or not possible. So if you do want to shop this Christmas, perhaps consider whether you’d like to drop by the little-guys at www.auties.org before you go to the corporations for your shopping.
And just in case anyone is feeling charitable this Christmas, we’d like to mention that www.auties.org is an entirely free service to the international autism community, is run entirely on a voluntary basis.
Aside from a full time job that runs him off his feet, Chris puts in all the time on it free of charge in designing, updating, maintaining the www.auties.org website and we both give our own time in replying to those listing there.
We have a donation facility on the site to help us cover the $150 a year it costs for the hosting and domain registration. So far we have been running for over a year, have had over 9,000 visitors this year and now have over a hundred listings yet only one kind donor has donated to the running costs…a man also on the spectrum who runs his own business and is featured on the site… otherwise we’ve paid for it ourselves. So if you do make a donation, let us know whether you’d like us to list you as a patron who has kindly contributed to the running costs of the service and we’d be glad to acknowledge this generosity.
When we started www.auties.org over a year ago we had big dreams… mentorships, expos where the public could directly experience those goods and services of those listed on the site. We have achieved some of our dreams – world wide listings, skills groups, dinner clubs… and we hope 2007 helps us continue this important service and model of self advocacy in the autism world.
Thanks for listening.
Donna Williams *)