Monday, July 29, 2013

Common Threads Family Resource Center

Collin was half way through 3rd grade and although not by standards for the typical 8 year old he was having the best school year to date. He was attending public school, was in the classroom with limited support from aids and the special education teacher. He was receiving OT, speech and he also participated in an advanced reading class for the talented and gifted. His reading and math skills were in the 4th and 5th grade level.  In January he started acting out in the classroom. Unable to sit still, was disruptive, refusing to do work. It was perceived as a behavior problem. He was choosing to be defiant and could control his actions if he wanted to.  It was addressed with loss of privileges and punishments.  Being misunderstood, he became aggressive He would tip over tables, chairs, hit others and at one point held a scissors point to the back of an aid. The police were called. My happy, loving child was someone I did not recognize.   He would come home miserable and describe school as torture and he could not be forced to do work.  At 8 years old he was miserable, angry, depressed, and was threatening self-harm and running away.  I felt I knew him best and even though I could not identify what had changed when he started to act out he was trying to tell us something. He was not choosing to be naughty he was in distress. I felt sickened that my son had been trying to tell me something was wrong and I was not understanding or hearing his message.  I worked with the school and several different approaches and schedules were tried. Collin turned 9 and I did the best to help him recover over the summer. He started 4th grade and after one day he had what is best described as a break down.  He was diagnosed as a school phobic with severe anxiety.  Collin missed an entire school year. I searched high and low for anyone who could help. Then I found Common Threads!

(Collin in HIS art on a PCA shirt)

 (Collin in our logo shirt)

(Collin and his mom, Tammy, at Common Threads)

 On their website it says they focus on unique behavior, communicative, emotional, sensory, and social challenges. I took a tour and I describe it as a match made in heaven.  I saw first-hand how they could see inside my son. They saw his gifts, talents and found a way to slowly bring him out again. They focused completely on my sons learning style and adapted their teaching style. Common teaching standards the child must conform.  In just a few short months I saw him laughing, smiling and making friends.  After a year he is a completely different kid!  He comes home proud, has an increased self-esteem is at or above grade level and is currently learning computer coding.
Common Threads has been a life saver. They gave my son his life back! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Jem and his mom Shannon

Jem Miller was a happy baby who appeared to be developing normally until around the age of 18 months.   At that time his mother started to notice a change.  Very slowly Jem appeared to be losing skills.  He stopped singing and didn’t interact as much.  Over time his language also drifted away.  By the time Jem was 2 all of his functional communication was gone.  At 2 1/2 Jem was diagnosed with Autism.  At 3 his early intensive intervention began.  Jem is now a very verbal 10-year-old.  He will start fully included 5th grade in the fall.  He loves robots, Legos, video games, Minecraft, Americas Funniest Home Videos, Spongebob, swimming, playing with friends and anything to do with space!
Jem plans to be a rocket engineer when he grows up and especially wants to work on the robots that are sent into space to retrieve data.

 (Jem's Robot shirt)
 (Jem creating his art)

From the moment you start thinking of being a parent you have dreams for your child.  When I knew I was going to have a son I had visions of who he would be, how he would change the world and how proud I would be of him.  I remember the day my son was diagnosed with Autism.  It felt like someone had robbed my dreams, stolen my child and left me on a foreign planet.  It didn’t take me long to realize that my dreams for my child were going to be fulfilled, and Autism was going to be a part of the conversation. 
I can honestly say that my son is my hero.  At age 10, he has already changed the world and made it a better place.  He has worked harder than anyone I know to be a part of a world that I always took for granted.
I am a very lucky woman because I live in a place where my son had access to treatments that helped him and where funding sources were available for him to get that treatment.  I know that there are many, equally deserving children and parents who do not have access to what my son had.  It is just one of the many reasons we support Autism Care and Treatment Today!  They give grants to families to help their children get access to services and treatment that make a difference.
I can’t tell you how happy Jem is that his drawing of a robot is on t-shirt being sold to raise money for children with Autism.  He is so proud of himself and thrilled that he can be helpful.  I had no idea he was such a talented artist!  I couldn’t be prouder of him.  I hope you will support Jem, ACT Today! and Paper Clouds apparel by buying Jem’s robot and wearing it with pride!

Shannon Penrod is the host of Autism Live an interactive show featuring experts, news and information on resources for Autism.  To watch Autism Live visit:

 (Jem and his mom Shannon)
 (Jem's Robot on our canvas tote bag)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meet Logan!

Today is the official half way point in Paper Clouds Apparel’s campaign with Autism Speaks and luckily we still have a couple more artists to feature! Today we focus on Logan who submitted the hand monkey design.

Logan is 6 years old and just graduated preschool (at Oak Grove) and is now in Kindergarten at Oak Grove Elementary in Roanoke, VA.  A few of his favorite things are reading, playing on his iPad, swimming, bowling and playing baseball. But his absolute favorite thing in the world is NASCAR.  He is Kyle Bush's biggest fan (as you can tell from the pictures), he also knows absolutely everything about the sport, and loves to play with his race cars all day long. There is not a thing about NASCAR he doesn't know, including every driver with their car number, sponsor, all the way to the noises each car makes!  He is an incredible boy and is so happy all the time, he always has a smile on his face.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Goodies !

Today we want to feature not just an artist, but a new addition to the Paper Clouds Apparel line:
Tote bags. 

We are very excited for this addition because we like giving you more options and our artists more ways to get their artwork out there. 

The tote bag pictured above is currently rockin' a horse designed by Chuckie.

14 year old Chuckie loves video games, basketball, cartoons, listening to Eminem and drawing. Yet despite his love for drawing, Chuckie is very secretive about it. Chuckie’s mother had to sneak into his room when he was not home in order to get his art to Paper Clouds Apparel. After Chuckie was selected, his mother wrote to Paper Clouds Apparel saying, “I want to thank you for supporting my son's art. These shirts will be one of my (family’s) great treasures and I truly can’t wait to wear one with pride. Thank you for this opportunity.”

It’s not just special needs individuals that are benefited from their art being valued and displayed on t-shirts, it’s also the families that stand by them day, in day out. It’s a ripple effect and we find that to be something to get excited about.

Meet Zoey!

Paper Clouds Apparel would like to take a moment today to recognize and appreciate, Zoey. She is the mastermind behind the sweet owl drawing you see below. We think this piece sits well on a hat and are excited to keep providing this option every campaign with new artwork.
 Zoey is all about the arts whether it is acting, singing or drawing. She is also very active as she is always playing outside, dancing, riding bikes and swimming. She wants to be famous one day and go to Appalachian State University. She would like to thank her art teachers Charlie Frye and Dabney Smith.

This lovely lady has some big dreams and we hope that this campaign will help prove to her that she is capable of anything.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet Carter!

With Paper Clouds Apparel, your clothing matters. Each t-shirt not only provides financial support to an individual with special needs, but it also provides joy and this is what is truly important. By making an active choice to invest and wear the artwork of an individual with special needs, you are inspiring confidence and a sense of accomplishment. This is so important because individuals with special needs are constantly undervalued by society and this is what Paper Clouds Apparel is trying to change. 

Paper Clouds Apparel lives out its mission to "make your clothing matter" by having a business model that is people centered rather than profit centered.  Due to this, we feel that it is important to feature every artists and share with you a little of his/her life.

 Meet Carter -a proud supporter of Autism Speaks and artist of this awesome piece:
Here is a short bio that Carter's mom provided Paper Clouds Apparel when her son's artwork was picked to be featured:

"Carter is 7 years old. His smile will light up a room! His little brother is his best friend. He enjoys going golfing with his daddy. Carter's favorite things are; his I-pod,his trampoline, drawing, reading, and going to school. Another thing he sometimes likes to do, is help cook desserts. He has become such a sweet little boy. He still has his struggles, but he is an overcomer! I can not wait to see what God has planned for my son! Our motto is 'NO EXCUSES, UNTIL YOU TRY!"

Carter is not only an inspiration to his mother, but to us here at Paper Clouds Apparel. Hopefully we can all follow Carter's lead and live a "no excuses" lifestyle. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Campaign with Autism Speaks!

Paper Clouds Apparel is proud to mark today the beginning of a two-week campaign with Autism Speaks. Our goal is to not only help fund Autism Speaks, but to help empower individuals with autism by showcasing how awesome their art is.

What is Autism Speaks exactly? Autism Speaks is the world’s leading organization for autism research, advocacy and awareness. With each purchase of a PCA shirt, half the profit will go towards funding the discovery of better knowledge about the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders.

Check back for the next two weeks to hear more about how amazing Autism Speaks is and about the artists that are all making this happen.