Jul 18, 2018
In this episode we meet a mother who took her own personal
“chaotic” experience with autism and created an inviting and
friendly space for children and their families. She took her “what
if” idea and opened one of the biggest autism community stores in
the country. This store is designed to be accepting and inclusive
of all abilities.
Meet Shannon Sullivan, the owner of the Autism Community Store.
Her grass roots store has grown over the past seven years and
continues to evolve and change to meet the needs of its community.
It is a place where families feel safe, “normal, ” and where people
get it. Everybody deserves that!
IN THIS EPISODE:
- Meet Shannon Sullivan, owner of the Autism Community Store in
- Shannon is an amazing woman, mom, and entrepreneur.
- The Autism Community Store started because Shannon has a
daughter on the autism spectrum and she wanted to create a store
where parents could get all the things they needed to buy for their
- There is always a balance between money and time when it comes
to raising a child with autism.
- When you are in the thick of it, it becomes hard navigating
what you need for your child.
- She wanted to create a space where parents could go and get the
things they need from, toys, games, books, stimuli, and resources
all in one place.
- It started as a grass roots business and now it has grown.
- Each year the store hosts an annual resource fair.
- The resource fair is in its 7th year and it grew from 10 people
attending it its first year to 1,500 people attending it this
- It is the largest resource fair in Colorado.
- It takes a very dedicated person and sense of wanting to
provide for others to make an event like this grow.
- Shannon talks about autism being isolating and the resources
- There are three legs of a stool that make autism challenging
for families and Shannon wanted to create a store that addressed
these three legs:
- The store provides resources.
- It gives people a place to go when they need a break.
- It is a place that is safe for parents and their kids.
- It’s the little things that give a family a sense of feeling
- They can say, “I’m with people who get me.” It’s a place where
everyone gets it. You are with your people.
- Everyone deserves that!
- Simple environmental changes allow our families to be
- The most important takeaway is to try to find what you are
grateful for everyday. Find something that you can appreciate in
your child, life experiences, etc. The lens of gratitude is a
- Continue to evolve as a parent and as a person. Understand that
in life and you evolve, there’s no linear path, no grand
- Be grateful for things your child does. Staying in the moment
and seeing your child as individual and celebrating who they are
and their strengths.