April is Autism Awareness Month and John’s Crazy Socks is celebrating. Why? Let’s start with our colleagues on the autism spectrum: 20 percent of our workforce have some form of autism. We celebrate them. We celebrate Autism Awareness Month because as a venture co-founded by a young man with Down syndrome, every day we demonstrate what people of all abilities can contribute to our business and our society. We celebrate because we believe that diversity makes us a better business and makes our society stronger. We celebrate because to understand autism enables us to relate more to our colleagues, friends and fellow citizens and that leads to a more beautiful world.
People on the autism spectrum make up a significant segment of our population and add to the mosaic of who we are as a people. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are 3.5 million Americans on the autism spectrum in the United States and that one percent of the world’s population has autism spectrum disorder. Approximately one in 68 children are born with autism, though the prevalence is much higher among boys (1 in 142) than girls (1 in 189).
Our charity partner, Autism Speaks, explains that autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism. There is a saying that if you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.
We created an Autism Awareness Sock to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people on the autism spectrum. The socks feature the multi-color puzzle associated with autism. Why the puzzle? It symbolizes the way the overall beauty of the image is comprised of all the contributing pieces in the same way that people with autism contribute to the overall strength of our communities and society. And the puzzle symbolizes the often puzzling nature of autism spectrum disorder.
We donate two dollars from every pair sold to our two charity partners: The Autism Society of America (Nassau/Suffolk Chapter) and Autism Speaks. The donation to our charity partners is part of our overall Giving Back program which includes donating 5 percent of our earnings to the Special Olympics. You can see and buy the Autism Awareness Socks here.
John’s Crazy Socks was founded by the father-son team of John and Mark Cronin. John is a 21-year-old man with Down syndrome so it is only natural that when considering employees, we welcome people of all abilities and focus on what they can do, not what they cannot. We are a small and growing business. Out of our 20 current employees, four (20 percent) have autism spectrum disorder. Each plays a critical role and collectively they have enhanced our business. Our co-founder, Mark X. Cronin, has written an article explaining why we hire people on the autism spectrum and why it helps our business. (You can read the article here.)
Mark writes, “Hiring someone on the autism spectrum or any individual employee is not an isolated act. It fits in with our overall mission, culture and operations. Doing so hinges on two factors: respecting a person’s right to work – a human right – and matching that to our business needs.” Our business succeeds because we hire people with autism.
We are spreading awareness of how people with autism contribute to our business. We are doing so through articles like the you are reading here, articles at our website and videos showing how our colleagues with autism spectrum disorder contribute to our mission of spreading happiness through socks. And we spread awareness through our Autism Awareness Socks.
In addition, John’s Crazy Socks will participate in Autism Awareness events at some local schools and support local groups that are holding special events.
To learn more about, John’s Crazy Socks, you can visit our website or our Facebook Page. For more information, you can contact Mark X. Cronin at 631-760-5625 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.