The Autistic Empire is an social organisation run by and for autistic people. Its mission is to help Autistic people connect, co-create, take control of their lives and flourish. The membership site will launch in Spring 2018.
The Autistic Empire aims to create autistic-majority spaces where much of the stress and feelings of marginalisation that come from our door-knocking for acceptance can be alleviated and our people can concentrate on self-development and fulfilment, the development of our people and community and mutual support networks that are meaningful and conceptually based in the way that we see and interact with the world.
Current autism-related merchandise available for purchase is dominated by negative perceptions of autism, often produced by and for parents who perceive their autistic children as “battles” to be fought. Militaristic imagery and apologetic t-shirts abound. The Autism Speaks jigsaw logo and “light it up blue” brand also feature heavily in many stores. This is unbelievably depressing.
The ecommerce platform will therefore serve a dual purpose: firstly, to raise revenue for the expansion of the Autistic Empire. Secondly, to use digital marketing methods to counter this huge wave of discriminatory and horrible profit-making from our abasement to create a positive autistic identity.
The shop will open with a few initial designs and rely on print-on-demand and drop-shipping technology, but we hope to seriously invest resources into this and create a platform in conjunction with autistic designers and existing and appropriate brands to create and promote products that are useful, desirable, and serve as a means of identifying autistic people to each other.
Who we are
Sarah McCulloch is the founder of the Autistic Empire and co-host of the Audible Autism podcast. Sarah’s highly negative experiences of being an adult with autism interacting with the mental health system strongly influenced her career plans and in 2013 she embarked on the path to becoming an occupational therapist in order to change the way our society treats autistic people and how we view ourselves. The Autistic Empire is the consequence of six years of blue-sky thinking about the best way to resolve the problems that face our people.