A Personal Address by Ausome's Founder Sofia Bianchi
Several months ago, it was brought to my attention by a good friend and supporter in the autism community that there was a dreadful trend circulating around the popular app TikTok known as the "#autismchallenge", a challenge wherein people would mockingly imitate behaviors which symptomize overstimulation in a neurodivergent person. Until then I had been using TikTok to create educational, voice-over content for the @weareausome Instagram, and the predicament caused me to reevaluate my use of this platform, and to question whether I should continue to create on TikTok. I did some research on the trend and asked myself: How could I continue to support an app that hadn’t recognized and abolished this trend until weeks after it was started?
But around that same time was when I first discovered Timothy Boykin, an autism advocate with over 43K followers on TikTok who is using his platform to spread positivity, acceptance, and pride throughout the autism community. Inspired by Tim, I decided to remain on the platform under the @weareausome handle in order to discover and promote other autistic influencers who are using their platforms to do the same. TikTok is an app which provides a great opportunity for original content to go viral, and so I hope that we can leverage this power to continue to expand our audience and encourage more people to recognize and acknowledge the power, nuance, and beauty of neurodivergent people. @weareausome will continue using TikTok as a tool for educating our audience about the Spectrum, while discussing key topics, providing our audience with resources to explore, and promoting people like Tim who have been using their platforms for good. People like Tim have given me faith in the power of leveraging TikTok to combat the negativity that circulates among people who are ignorant or misinformed.
This was a difficult decision to make at first, until I discovered the following accounts using the TikTok platform to educate and normalize ASD, and to shut down ableism. The incredible people on TikTok using the app for good have made it an easy decision for me in the end. Here is a list of TikTok influencers/role models whose journeys you may wish to follow, learn from, and promote, and network with.
Timothy Boykin is a 21 year old actor, singer, and Influencer who catapulted to stardom in 2019 after his video about autism and finding love went viral, receiving over a million views, and capturing the hearts of many. With a following base of 43.0K, fans turn to Tim's account for cinema and music fanbase-content, as well as for autism related educational and anti-ableism content. He is also a prominent Black Lives Matter activist & ally of the LGBTQ+ community, and is dedicated to using his platform to elevate the oppressed and to propagate messages of positivity and anti-bullying among his following base. Read more about Tim here.
YouTube Channel: Princess Aspien
Chloé Hayden is an Australian Influencer, singer/songwriter, and YouTube/TikTok star who offers 100% transparency on all aspects of her experience with autism, as well as her past history and recovery process with an eating disorder. Her bold, energetic, whimsical style is attention-capturing and magnetic. She has over 221.3K followers on TikTok where fans can be entertained by her humorous videos and talented musical skills, while at the same time becoming extremely informed on aspects of her experience with autism. She isn't afraid to call out double standards and controversial topics within the autism advocacy community and is clear and assertive while bringing them to light.
Business IG: @whiplash.paigelayle
Paige Layle is a 20 year old Influencer, blogger, and TikTok star who describes herself as "the Sheldon Cooper version of Amanda Seyfried." Her 825K followers can turn to her content for everything from her skin-care routine and makeup tutorials, to how to treat and speak to autistic people (as well as how to NOT treat and speak to autistic people.) She also has an eyelash business called WHIPLASH. By Paige Layle (IG: @whiplash.paigelayle). On her lash website, Paige mentions..."When I'm not lashing, I'm making TikToks (second job), researching autism & anatomy, or planning in my journal. I can't work without routine! I'm a perfectionist and very compassionate."
Alexandra Pearson is an I/O Psych Practitioner, Consultant, and autism advocate who discovered and self-diagnosed her autism while pursuing research on the topic as an undergraduate student at St. Mary's University. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Houston-Clear Lake pursuing studies in industrial and organizational psychology. As the Manager of the STARS program at Potentia, an IT Services company based in The Woodlands, Texas, Pearson contributes to the development of organizational change initiatives targeting employee support systems. With over 136.3K followers and 1.4 million likes on TikTok, Pearson focuses on educating her online community by providing helpful, authentic insights into the experiences of autism.
"Stephy and Craig"
With over 140.8K followers and 4 million likes on TikTok, Stephy and Craig are an endearing brother and sister duo from Knoxville, Iowa. Steph has a baby daughter named Olivia and the three live together, sharing videos of their day-to-day's, often showcasing Craig's expansive breadth of movie and television knowledge, as well as the process of receiving and unboxing kind and supportive letters and gifts from Craig's loyal online supporters. The purpose of their page is to spread acceptance and joy across the autism community. In his free time Craig volunteers at shelters and helps to take care of his niece. The two are often seen on the couch opening Craig's fan-mail side by side. Their page is adorable, heartwarming, and pure.
With over 1 million followers and 11.4 million likes on TikTok, Jay's page offers fashion and makeup tutorials, alongside advocacy for both the autistic and LGBTQ+ communities. Jay is transparent about her experiences as a queer autistic female, and her page explores a plethora of topics related to autism/anti-ableism, pride, fashion, and a number of her favorite fanbases which include Avatar the Last Airbender, Stranger Things, Phineas and Ferb, The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, and others.
TikTok: @HarrizonaDream &
Spotify: Crazy Curvy Linzy Podcast
Linzy Taylor is the mother of a two year old son with non-verbal autism, who, inspired by her son's passion for art, started an online print and sticker shop featuring her son's original artwork as a way to support her family of six. With 39.2K followers and 560.4K likes on the @harrizonadream TikTok page, Taylor both promotes the shop and her son's original work, and often shares the process and journey of being a mom of a toddler with non-verbal autism who happens to be a talented, self-taught artist responsible for the shop's creative inventory. Linzy is transparent about her experience, her son's creative process, and her "let live" approach to parenting, enabling her child's creativity to have an impact in the world, and inside of people's homes and hearts.
For a more in-depth Ausome Blog interview with autism advocate and TikTok star Timothy Boykin, click here.