We Became Online Entrepreneurs Because of My Son’s Autism
This is the unlikely story of how the diagnosis of autism opened the door to a world of magic and adventure for my son and me. The actions we took to meet this challenge created an incomparable bond between us.
My son Jakob was diagnosed with autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, and anxiety. However, he wasn’t diagnosed right away. At the beginning, I had no idea how to help him and I was absolutely desperate to make his life better. So, I started with the only thing I knew how to create, a homemade blanket for his second birthday. This first item, which was designed to help what I perceived as my son’s special needs, eventually led to an online store. Today, our store sells toys created for children like Jakob and other children with special needs.
Our Life Before Jakob Was Diagnosed
When Jakob was approaching his second birthday, his behavior was different than other children his age. Instead of just playing with toys the way his friends did, he would align his toys in patterns. He would spend hours organizing the chairs in our living room into straight lines or taking his books off the shelf and forming patterns with them on the floor.
Because our family was just the two of us, it was easy to let him develop in his own way. I tried my best to embrace his world and see it through his eyes, rather than forcing him to fit in my world. At times I found it difficult to understand his experiences. In addition to his need to organize, his social skills were different from other children in his age range. He found it increasingly difficult to communicate with other children, and he started to close himself off from his preschool friends. It was clear that he would rather exclude himself from social activities than be forced to do things in ways that didn’t make sense to him.
I was heartbroken. I didn’t have a clue how to help my son. A few days before his second birthday, I started to make him a blanket for a gift. Guided by intuition and love, I started cutting and sewing with no idea of how the outcome should or would look. Without a logical plan, I ended up creating what became my son’s favorite object for years to come.
The blanket ended up being an oval shape with lots of textures and colors. But the feature that Jakob liked the best was the added tassels that I had sewn on the edges. The tassels gave the blanket a different look, but more importantly, it seemed to give Jakob a feeling of security. When it was thrown over two chairs or his stroller it shielded him from the impression of other surfaces. He seemed to feel more protected and safe when it was around.