Creating Opportunities Among Obstacles
Austin W. is an extraordinary young adult who has learned to use his gifts to not only start a small business, but also give back to his community.
Austin has worked with behavior specialists over the years to help manage his behaviors resulting from a diagnosis of autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Despite what many would see as insurmountable obstacles, Austin has taken behaviors like counting, coding and making patterns that stem from the disorders he experiences, to create beautiful, beaded jewelry.
When Austin is creating his work, his demeanor is calm and precise. This endeavor serves a dual purpose, helping him with behavior management, while also improving his self-esteem and giving him a sense of purpose. The praise he receives is a powerful reinforcer.
In 2019, Austin’s mother founded a small business: Austin’s WearABLE Art, to sell his creative and unique beaded art to the public. His jewelry has been sold throughout the United States and internationally, inspiring families every day. Austin’s WearABLE Art donates a minimum of 10% of all jewelry sales to non-profit organizations with a mission to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Autism and his mother refocused their efforts to use their skills and creativity to give back to their own community. They created “On the Move Kits” and “My Go Bags” to donate to local schools and centers supporting individuals diagnosed with a disability in the northern and central Virginia areas.
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