Sarah Stup can’t speak, so writing is what makes her a “real person,” she said in an email.
Stup, who has autism, has been writing since she was little and has published books, poems and essays for children and adults. She recently published a novel called “Paul and His Beast,” which will be sold at The Arc’s storefronts when they open for the first time in December. The Arc is an organization that helps people with developmental disabilities.
The book is about a boy named Paul who has autism. Stup calls autism Paul’s beast. The book examines how he learns to deal with his disability and speak up for himself.
“My hope for Paul and his Beast is that readers will see that the Beast, which is the behaviors of autism itself, is with us to protect us from your noisy and confusing world,” Stup wrote in an email. “Not to annoy or scare you.”
Stup’s other published works include “Do-si-Do With Autism,” a children’s book to help kids understand and form friendships with people who have autism or other developmental disabilities. She has also published “Are Your Eyes Listening?,” a book of collected works of Stup writing about her experiences with autism.
Stup’s latest book will be one of about 30 types of items for sale at The Arc at Market Street when the organization opens its six shops on Saturday. The Shops at Market Street will feature items made by people with developmental disabilities, most of whom are served by The Arc of Frederick County.
The six storefronts will include baked goods and coffee — made by people in The Arc’s bakery program, which started earlier this year — books, art, wall prints, baskets and birdhouses. The shops will be open on Saturday, as well as Dec. 12, 19, 23, 24 and 30. The shops will open again in 2016, but organizers are still working out the details.
The Arc held an open house at its new location at 555 S. Market St. in November. The building has a day program that supports people with significant disabilities and places where people it serves can spend time. The space is also used for social events and the organization’s bakery program, which helps people with developmental disabilities learn kitchen skills.
The organization has been working to get The Shops at Market Street up and running, and organizers are excited to finally open.
Proceeds from sales at the shops will go back to the sellers. Money made from baked goods sold will go to the bakery program.
Shauna Mulcahy, The Arc’s development director, said it’s just the beginning, so the organization is still learning what works. She hopes people will come in, see all of the work created by people The Arc serves and learn more about the services it offers.
“We just feel that it’s very important for the Frederick community to feel connected with people with developmental disabilities,” she said.
“We also want to show the business community that there are qualified, trained professional applicants,” said Aaron Stephens, deputy director at The Arc.
The storefront concept is unique, Stephens said. It shows people the services The Arc offers — in a different way.
“People we serve have passions and they have talents,” he said. “This is a way for people to really showcase their talents.”
Most storefronts will be devoted to a collection of different items. One will be solely for baked goods and coffee. Another will be for books and some artwork. This shop will include the creations of Stup and Alyssa Raven Fowler, who also has autism.
Fowler just published her first book, “Cryptic Casters,” a fantasy book. She’ll have a book signing on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Arc’s storefront and will sell her book there during the other openings.
Fowler drew the pictures for the book, and said she’s been drawing her whole life.
The book is the first in a five-part series. She said she has the rest of the books planned out.
She said she’s displayed some of her artwork before, but this will be her first book signing.
It’s important to her to show people who also have disabilities that it’s possible to accomplish their dreams, even if it doesn’t always seem like that.
“I try to be an inspiration for other people,” she said.
Her mother, Corby Fowler, said publishing the book and having the signing is quite an accomplishment.
“Regardless of your disability or label, you can still follow your dreams,” she said. “She should be really proud of herself.”