In observance of Autism Awareness Month, several area stores are selling a puzzle to raise money for research and therapy.
One of every 91 children born in the United States is diagnosed with autism, according to statistics. It has no known cause or cure. April is Autism Awareness Month.
The Autism Ribbon Floor Puzzle is inspired by the Autism Society of America's ribbon logo. Completed, the 36-piece puzzle is 18 by 36 inches.
The puzzle serves three purposes, says Wonder Works owner Christine Osborne. It is a good motor activity, it brings awareness to autism and it raises money for the cause.
The puzzle is the first in a series by Puzzles for Cures, which was founded in 2007 by Susan Ambrose, a New Jersey mother of a special needs child. Other puzzles include the Down syndrome awareness puzzle due later this year and puzzles for cerebral palsy, leukemia, juvenile diabetes and peanut allergies.
Ambrose got the original idea while sitting in traffic staring at an Autism Awareness magnet, which is designed to look like a puzzle, on the back of a car.
Her father, a woodworker, crafted wooden puzzles, and with the blessing of the Autism Society of America, she started selling them at walks and events.
When she couldn't keep up with demand, she took the idea to puzzle and toy manufacturer Melissa & Doug, which agreed to produce them.
The puzzles sell for $20 with a portion of the proceeds going to Walk for Autism-Charleston and the Autism Society of America.
Walk for Autism-Charleston is a nonprofit organization that helps Lowcountry families pay for one-on-one behavioral and relational based therapy.
The puzzles are being sold at Wonder Works, Baby Bloomers, Croghan's Jewel Box, Southern Belles, Hollipops, Gwynn's, Discovery Ice Cream, Sprout, The Learning Center, Charleston Children's Boutique, TEACH, Our Local Foods and Carolina Girls.
The puzzles also will be sold at the Charleston RiverDogs game tonight and at the April 17 Walk for Autism.
Brenda Rindge can be reached at 937-5713 or email@example.com.