The Tie-Dye Project

Remember Alex Barton? Let me jog your memory – he’s the boy whose Kindergarten teacher saw fit to have his fellow students vote him out of the class, as if it were a Survivor episode. After reading about it, I was beside myself with strong emotions: sadness, disbelief, and fury. How DARE (yes, I’m yelling) that teacher disregard the self-esteem of one of her students? How DARE she teach her other students to insult him and cast him aside, instead of helping them to show compassion because of his differences?

Well, friends, fortunately the story didn’t end there. It was the beginning of another story – one of love, acceptance, and connectedness. A way to show Alex that people do care, that people are supportive. And we can all be a part of it.

Melissa Barton, Alex’s mom, with a little inspiration from Kyra of ThisMom, came up with The Tie-Dye Project. It began with Alex and his mom making five tie-dyed shirts and sending them out to five ASD kids. Each of those kids (and their parents) receivedĀ a noteĀ on how to continue the project – just make five more tie-dyed shirts and send them out to five ASD kids. When was the last time a fun project had so much meaning behind it? Love, support, and understanding among kids on the spectrum. It’s a wonderful thing.

Yesterday Nigel received his shirt from Kendall. “This is really nice,” he said, checking it out. I told him about Alex, and Nigel is very excited to be a part of the shirt-making chain for ASD kids. He’s raring to go, so all we need now are five participants who would like to receive a tie-dye shirt from Nigel! Just leave a comment if you’d like one, even if you’ve not left a comment before, and I’ll email you to get your address.

Join in! As Nigel said to me in his flat but beautiful voice, “We need to get the word out.” And we will.

26 thoughts on “The Tie-Dye Project

  1. mama edge

    Nigel is SOOO handsome, Tanya. And the shirt really suits him.

    Haven’t had much luck getting my guys interested in the tie-dye project, but email the info to me, please, and I’ll see if I can get one of them to participate.

  2. jess

    OMG! i am sooooo EXCITED!!!! yes, i’m YELLING TOO!!!

    there it is .. the t-shirt .. that KENDALL made .. on nigel .. looking sooooo handsome!!!

    this is WONDERFUL, tanya!!!!

    i love, love, love that our beautiful, fabulous kids are connected this way


  3. goodfountain

    Okay I’ve been putting this off because I suck at All Things Crafty, but I think I can do this!

    Sign me up! Nigel is one of my heroes so I’d be honored to have a shirt from him!

  4. Tanya Savko Post author

    Thanks, Mama Edge! I will certainly email you with the info. Maybe if you tell them what a big movie fan Nigel is, that might sway them!

    Jess, I’m excited too! And I was so happy that Nigel got into it; I could tell that it really meant something to him that the shirt was from Kendall. And he was definitely moved by Alex’s story. Empathy! Connection! Yay!

    Goodfountain – You’re in! And don’t worry – I’ve never tie-dyed before either. Somehow we’ll manage!

  5. Kate

    Ha, what a great idea! I love tie dye! Havent made once since I was a kid. Good picture!

  6. Carrie

    Rojo would take a T-shirt, but I know he’d break the chain – no way could I get him to make T-shirts, so to be on the safe side I’d find someone more “willing.” Love the idea, though, love it!

  7. Tanya Savko Post author

    Tera – we’ll definitely do a shirt for Kaeden! I remember reading in one of Melissa’s posts that she’d like to go world-wide with this.

    Carrie – if Rojo changes his mind, you can always contact Melissa on her blog and she could give you the info.

    That’s 3 confirmed! Next?

  8. nicki

    That is such a cool idea… a great way of connecting kids to each other! Tie-dyes are so much fun to make, too, and no two are ever the same! I’m glad Nigel got one!

  9. Tanya Savko Post author

    Natalie – yes, it’s “The Tie-Dye Project, Kendall, MA” to tell who made the shirt and from where.

  10. Victoria


    My son Miles (age 13, ASD) can tie dye. I would love to help him with this project. We live in California.

  11. Tanya Savko Post author

    Hi Victoria – Great! We would love to do a shirt for Miles! I’ll email you for your info.

  12. dynomitegirl

    Long time reader, first time caller. I would love a shirt for my 13 year old with ASD! Yours are proablly all gone, but if there are any other readers who have an extra, contact me at my blog. I would love to help change attitudes about our children….it is long past due. It would be great if we could get a link to send pictures to Alex from all over the world in shirts that show support and awareness.

  13. Tanya Savko Post author

    Dynomitegirl! You got the last one! So glad you joined in. I’ll send you an email to get your info. Thanks for reading; I look forward to checking out your blog!

    Anyone else who might still be interested – all you need to do is contact Melissa Barton at her blog (link is in the third paragraph of this post, since I am not savvy enough to put it in the comment!). She has instructions and addresses for you. Cheers!

  14. Carol

    I just wanted to comment that what you’re doing is awesome! Oh, darn it; “There’s something in my eyes!” Tears.

    That picture is so priceless! Nigel looks so proud.

  15. Pingback: Tips on Learning Tie Dye Techniques For Creating Your Own Shirt | WHOLESALE TYEDYE APPAREL

  16. Melissa Barton


    Thank you for helping us share the love! Alex said “he is cool” when he viewed your photo.

    Thank you, YOU ROCK!

    Keep up the good work

  17. Alene

    Hello, my nephew Alex is autistic and is a young, yet big teen. he lives in a small town and as a teen he has slowly lost his circle of friends to them “growing up”. He plays games and is on the computer, but his mom works nights and sleeps days, he can ride his bike and goes to a staffed teen center that is open three days a week, but doesn’t have a single friend anymore. How does your Alex interact and maintain friendships?

  18. Tanya Savko Post author

    Alene, thank you for your comment. My son Nigel has had success with making and maintaining friendships by being involved in Boy Scouts. We are fortunate to have a great local troop, and he has several good friends in it. Best wishes to you and your nephew!

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