Button company employs adults with autism

September 30, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Harry's Buttons is a small company with a lot of potential. They specialize in manufacturing high quality custom pin buttons made by people with autism.

In 2004, Harry Engnell, Sr. created Harry's Buttons for his son Harry, Jr. who is now 31 years old.

"We were trying to figure out what would be a good job for Harry and the first thing we though of was what does he like to do and it turns out one of the things he loved to do was make buttons so we looked around and there weren't too many button jobs in our community so it just made sense that we'd have to start a business," said Engnell.

As the demand for buttons grew, the business also expanded. They teamed up with Easter Seals in Tinley Park.

"That's really been you know a great break for us. They've involved the students from the high school and the adults from their program," said Engnell.

Workers produce 1,000 buttons a day using manual machines.

"We make a lot of buttons for non-for-profits. We make buttons for churches, we make buttons for schools, we make buttons for fairs, for festival family reunion, holiday birthdays. We can make custom buttons for just about any type of occasion," said Engnell. "The price range depending on quantity runs anywhere from a dollar down to 18 cent each."

Kelly Anne Ohde is the instructor at Easter Seals adult vocational program.

"We have ten clients that are part of the program they had achance to make buttons and some of them like it more than others some individuals will spend two hours in here a day others will spend 15 minutes," said Ohde. "I found the process of making the buttons it was very routine process and that's one strengths of people with autism. They count on routine and they count on consistency....if we had to make 1,000 buttons we might get bored, for a person with autism they actually thrive on it."

The best part...

"They get to see where their buttons are going. They know that they're going to customers," said Ohde.

"The individuals that make the buttons will deliver them and you can see the pride in them for that too they it's a great feeling. They're all doing a great job," said Engnell.

"I like about it Harry's Buttons," said Harry Engnell, Jr.

If you are looking for custom pin back buttons and want to help support people with autism, visit www.harrysbuttons.com.

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