Chambers & Co
Chambers & Co was founded in DECEMBER 2017 by Gaylene & Richard Chambers, parents of a son with Autism.
Recognising the need for a powerful understanding and acceptance of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
An increased global awareness of Autism the “Invisible Disability” a better understanding of the breadth of the autism spectrum and advocacy to increase support to those in the community and their families- by providing an awesome selection of T shirts.
Autism Our Story
Well, it all started for us June 2010, it was only 4 months after I had major surgery.Our daughter, had just started primary school, so there was a lot going on around us.
We headed to a private paediatrician, whom was recommended to us, he was blunt and to the point. We had been on a waiting list to see him for four months. Basically this paediatrician told us, “your son has Autism, he will have it for life, he probably won’t ever get a job or leave home” – All the best...
My husband and I felt crushed, numb and most of all ripped to pieces !- lots of tears and speechless times were had, not knowing where to from here….and most of all- HOW DID THIS HAPPEN, and why to us!
There was no manual about where to from here….Let alone what support we could get, pre- school support, primary school, college….and so on and so forth…
Now we needed to digest this, and then try and share this with our family and friends, that was tough, as it seemed to us, that – hey, this guy could be wrong…..we could get a second opinion….? Or are we just kidding ourselves!
We first of all got support at preschool, with an early intervention teacher, and then went through the very painful L O N G process of an ORRS application……this was a huge battle, as it is not easy getting help till your 21 with this neurological disorder.
Even getting a Disability Benefit…was gruelling…..questions were asked like…..”we will review your benefit in one year”- I ask why…and they said, it could be gone….he may have grown out of it- I said, are you serious!
Every six months we go to the paediatrician for a follow up, and review of medication, our son is on many anti - psychotic drugs to help regulate his high anxiety and constant OCD behaviours, tics, tourette’s syndrome, pica to name a few…..
Fast forward to today……our boy is now almost finished his primary school final year, and ready to embark on a transition to college…..He is excited and enjoying the visits he has had already.
Because our boy is very tall, looks normal and is a big boy for his age (size 16 boy’s clothes, only 11 years of age) his behaviours do not match what would be considered normal behaviours out in the community.
When going on a simple trip to the supermarket for example, our boy loves to examine the banana stand in the produce department, and say “hello” to all of the bananas, and touch them all, and rub his cheek on one….this is obviously not appropriate thing to do, but for him this is a sensory and processing regulation thing…he actually needs to do this, in order to be able to continue on his walk around the supermarket…..
Our boy loves to clap his hands loudly, jump on the spot, stim, and squeal very LOUDLY….this brings peoples hearing to an alarming stop, and everyone turns and stares…..some wonder, some snigger, some shake their heads, and some even looks AT us parents…..as if to say, OMG your parenting skills are really not going so well…..have you not given him his meds yet….
One day, I actually got asked, “does he have ADHD”- have you given him his meds yet?
EACH VISIT out for us, became exhausting, and very stressful for us all, my daughter became embarrassed by peoples glares…..and comments….sometimes I would just stay at home with our boy, to avoid any sniggering or me having to explain…..especially after some nights being awake most of time, with our boy, awake- not able to sleep…laughing and giggling away, causing havoc in his bedroom…on some occasions, thinking he was asleep, as his monitor would be quiet…but then in the morning having to clear up a tar like mess in his bed from eating roof tiles from reaching outside his bedroom window, even with safety hinges on them!- ROAR!!!
I would always be on the “look out” for people, and be weary…..I must have on average justified our boys behaviours, noises, pushing, throwing himself on the floor, stripping naked at times….5 times….. I was tired of it!!!!
I felt like I needed a flag with a sign on it, I could hold up…. Or have it on my hat…..so people could read it….” I am Autistic, I’m just being myself”
BUT, instead I decided, enough was enough…. I was going to do SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!
I started designing T shirts, and got them printed with messages on them, like eg: “Smile, I’ve got Autism, I’m just being myself” smiley face….i had them put on rash shirts, firstly so when he was at the beach, making wonderfully happy noises of delight, people would look at him, but then smile, and thumbs up to us standing behind him…..some would even comment, and say- “wow- cool T shirt”- some would even want the details of the company, (back then a year ago, I did not have a company, so I would just give them my mobile number) I had one Christmas 8 separate people come up to me, and ask about the T shirts….it was very inspiring, BUT more importantly, put into great perspective, exactly how much of a need, there was…
My Dear Father in Law, whom I was very close to, (he was like a DAD to me) often commented to me, you should start up a T shirt business Gaylene……it would be great!
Sadly, after a very short abrupt, cruel illness, (CANCER) he passed away in August 2017- it was the saddest time……I still am struggling, but with counselling support, I know I will get through this, one day at a time!
I was inspired to go for GOLD and start this BUSINESS UP…. I got a mentor on board Bill Amosa….got the help and support from Unleashing Potential, whom which delivered a strategic online marketing business with targets, budget, designers – they implemented our business and got us started! – it took six months in total…and here we are today...
It’s been a great project for me, in terms of patience, learning to communicate with all walks of life, be it language barriers, slow coaches……………. it’s not been EASY, but as my Father in law used to say….LIFE IS NOT EASY….but that’s the way it just is! Get on with it!
SO…. If you have connected with me today via this website, it’s for a reason! you either have a child on the spectrum, have a family member or friend on the spectrum, have autism yourself, or support someone you know, you feel tired of people judging your child/friend/you and you want to MAKE a difference!
Our T shirt range will inspire you, will make you feel at ease and will undoubtedly make others realise your journey ...they have a message, they will be recognised and they WILL make a difference!
Remember, actions speak louder than words….BUT you will not have to explain….nor will you have to justify, but simply observe peoples attentive reactions, I have NEVER to this day had a negative reaction, THIS may undoubtedly indeed happen, but I WILL BE READY
We as parents are dedicated to advancing and making an awareness for ASD and related conditions, increasing an understanding and acceptance of ASD and working toward individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum and lifespan through advocacy and support.
These goals can be achieved by wearing one of our AWESOME T shirts, they will assist families, professionals and individuals working and living with Autism.
It takes a village to raise a child but a WHOLE community to raise a child with special needs!
I challenge you, to give it a go, you MAY have tried all sorts of things, like us… BUT this will change your life- I promise you!