Our vest is not meant for individuals who can speak for themselves. It is not intended to label without cause.
Children and adults living with autism who have speech and communication impairments.
My adult son with autism does not speak. Fortunately, words aren’t needed to enjoy our favorite activity together, cycling. But, because we lived in San Francisco with a million other people, I needed to find a safe and effective way to communicate that he doesn’t always understand what people are shouting at him! I also began to think of what would happen if I had an accident? What if he suddenly wasn’t behind me, having fallen or taken a wrong turn?
So I designed the safety vest to quickly get the point to motorists and other cyclists that my son needed special consideration. Our first ride with the vest was nothing short of miraculous! The courtesy we received made the ride enjoyable and fearless.
We then decided to try the vest out during our city walks, at parks, airports and on bus rides. Because my son makes strange movements and often likes to bundle himself in his clothing, thanks to the vest we now receive smiles and offerings of assistance rather than wary looks. People not only approach him with kindness, but often thank us for helping them to understand that his behaviors are not threatening.
It is not our intention to label the disability, but rather to use the vest as a tool for non-verbal individuals for both education and safety. What a wonderful world it will be when everyone understands autism; when they ask questions instead of judging. Until awareness is prevalent and first responders are all properly educated on autism, we need to be reminded to practice kindness. The vest was created to bridge the gap until awareness is unquestionable.
How the vest is useful:
Assistance to First Responders – As a growing number of adults with autism are being injured for suspicious behavior, our vests not only alert first responders, but also provides a tag inside for the individual’s name and phone number.
Traveling – Airports, buses, trains, anywhere the individual may be impulsive when security is reactionary and could threaten the individual’s safety.
Sports –Designed for biking and hiking, our vest sends the message to be cautious and understanding if the individual is not responsive to standard traffic commands.
Crowded areas – If the individual gets detached from caregivers, the vest serves as a quick assistant in identification.
Why we chose those specific three words:
Our vital message is relayed in a split second. “Autistic” quickly conveys the challenge, while “Be Kind” calls for compassion and pulls the attention away from the label to a focus on awareness.