What we’re doing to help
When I started this book project it was my last ditch attempt at using art to pull Max out of a horrifying transition into a new school (Sept 2012). Max is 10. Five years ago he was practically non-verbal and spent about 90% of his time stimming and in his own world – the world we now affectionately call “Planet Cool.” He showed no affection, stayed up playing all hours of the night and has raging temper tantrum for unknown reasons. I (his mom) was a complete basket case.
Max has been mainstreamed with no special services since the 1st grade. So basically it took two years of intense work to pull him far enough out of his autistic fog to begin impacting him. It was right around then (2010) that I stumbled on using art to teach him the ways of the Neuro-Typical (NT) world or as we call is “NT-Land”. Max’s transition to a new school this year was SOOOO hard for so many reasons… and our first book “Max From The Planet of Cool” came from that. You can read more about it in the foreword of the book.
Once the first book was written and Max was stabilized at school (it took 3 months) and we’d moved on to write and illustrate the next two books, we started getting lots of fantastic feedback from teachers, social workers, parents, kids and everyone. My favorite quote is from Jody at Geek Club Books:
“Bravo! And a standing ovation for you and Max. Your books are delightful, vibrant, whimsical, magical and just the right kind of quirky! I want to live in the art studio, look like the moon, hang out with Sue and visit the planet of cool on my next vacation.” -Jodi @ Geek Club Books
So I knew we had “something” cool. Next was deciding what to DO with it. Chances are you think it’s awesome that we donate 50% of our website proceeds to charity and you might think we’re super cool if you knew that we donated 100 books to the UW Autism Center to give out to the autistic kids they service. Would you love us even more if you knew that we’re donating one book for every minimum wholesale order from shops? Or what if we let folks buy 10 books at wholesale pricing and donate them to a charity? Super Duper awesome?! YES!
Honestly – I LOVE the business model too! What I love most about it though is probably not the same things you do… granted it feels GREAT to give to charities… but the way our philanthropic business plan is changing Max’s relationship with his autism – absolutely bowled me over and was something I could not have imagined in my wildest dream.
My autistic son, who by the very nature of autism, is “destined” to be self-centered and is now proactively (yes, I said of his own volition, no influence or insistence from me) exhibiting philanthropy. He recently signed up to tutor a kid in a younger grade. He wanted to do this. He asked to sign up AND in order to sign up, he had to agree to give up his lunch recess once a week for 2 months. YAY!!! That’s just one example in the past couple months.
So that’s how we’re helping the world – awesome books – raising an awesome kid – taking autism on – and giving hope to the parents of the 1:50 who are now on the autism spectrum!