According to estimates by the CDC‘s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, approximately 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). National Autism Awareness Month is in April, and World Autism Awareness Day takes place on April 2.
Vans, a brand that prides itself on standing up for individuality and self-expression, has released an Autism Awareness Collection that includes and celebrates kids on the autism spectrum.
Sensory issues often accompany ASD. Taking this into account, Vans worked with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards and created a line of comfortable, sensory-inclusive footwear that is now available.
The Autism Awareness Shoe Line
The collection includes ultra-comfortable shoe designs and shirts. The shoes incorporate numerous sensory characteristics, from calming color palettes and easy slip-on designs to simple closures and extra padding in all the right places.
One shoe has a holographic water-printed upper; another is a blue suede checkerboard version with red velvet hearts and a message on the backs of each heel. All styles include Vans’ ComfyCush technology for comfort. The shoes come in toddler, child and adult sizes and range in price from $45-$65.
The brand posted these images on Instagram, writing, “Introducing the Autism Awareness Collection, an ultra-comfortable footwear pack with sensory-inclusive elements and a calming color palette.”
Proceeds Will Benefit The A.skate Foundation
Not only are the shoes designed to appeal to kids (and adults) on the autism spectrum, but they also support the A.skate Foundation, an organization that introduces children with autism to skateboarding. Vans will donate a minimum of $100,000 of its proceeds from the sales of this line to the organization.
A.skate holds clinics across the U.S. at no cost for children with autism, provides grants for skateboard gear, and promotes awareness and education about the skateboard industry.
“The proceeds from this collection enables A.skate to teach 4,000 children with autism how to skateboard and further builds on the inclusive and creative culture of skateboarding,” Vans said on its news page about the collection.
People Are Excited
Fans of the shoes are sharing their excitement about the shoes, which are each designed to stimulate the senses of sight and touch.
“Omg! @vans — thank you!!! When Charlie was little, we couldn’t get him to wear shoes, socks or boots,” wrote Kim McLelland in an Instagram post. “So to say I’m excited for a slip-on comfy and stylish shoe for Charlie is an understatement!!”
View this post on Instagram
Eeek! Vans launches new Autism Collection with their shoes! Omg! @vans — thank you!!! When Charlie was little, we couldn’t get him to wear shoes, socks or boots. And, when you live in Canada, you kinda have to wear those items. I carried him A LOT! And, he was usually having a meltdown too so screaming and flailing because we’d tried shoes on again! (I may go deaf in my left ear, just saying.) We spent A LOT of money on socks, shoes and boots because if he did manage to wear them once outside, we couldn’t return them. For little Charlie, wearing footwear was too stimulating, too awful and way too restrictive. Anyone recall the years of him wearing Crocs in the winter? Over the years we have pursued different footwear but it’s still a struggle. Crocs are still essential and slip ons or Velcro because he can’t tie laces (yet). So to say I’m excited for a slip-on comfy and stylish shoe for Charlie is an understatement!! And I love that they don’t have a blue puzzle piece on them! It means everyone else can wear them too and benefit from the sensory inputs too! Yeah @vans!!! #vansautism #vansshoes #sensorychallengesinautism #autismawareness #autism #autismyyc #calgaryautismmum #autismfootwear #autismacceptance
@fondlinson_ tweeted, “vans launched a collection for autism awareness with extra comfy and sensory-inclusive designs and a calming color palette and i think that’s beautiful.”
vans launched a collection for autism awareness with extra comfy and sensory-inclusive designs and a calming color palette and i think that’s beautiful ð¥ºðð pic.twitter.com/aFhHwmWOqU
— agnes ð¡ (@fondlinson_) March 11, 2020
The shoes debuted in March and are available at Vans.com and in select stores. Are you interested in getting some for a person with ASD in your life?