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SK hynix Recognizes World Autism Awareness Day

By April 2, 2021 No Comments

Every April, the world comes together to recognize Autism Awareness Day, taking an opportunity to celebrate the autistic community and educate around their unique talents and challenges.

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According to Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization, autism (also called autism spectrum disorder or ASD), refers to “a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.” This spectrum of ability – which can range from highly skilled to severely challenged — makes each person’s experience with autism unique. There is no “one” autism, but rather many distinct types of autism.

At SK hynix, we know that the technology we make — and the people we employ – have the power to improve lives, advance societies and transform industries. That’s why we develop products like Silver Friend and Happy GPS to help the members of our community who are the most vulnerable, and work with local organizations and charities on community outreach projects. It’s also why we work with social good organizations like Autistar to make a positive impact on the lives of people around the world.

The Autistar Exhibition

Founded in 2012 by Professor So-Hyun Lee of the Department of Special Education at Ewha Womans University, Autistar is a Korean company that trains and supports people with autism to work as designers in our society. Today, the company has 12 full-time designers with autism – and all Autistar products are created with drawings of designers with autism and trainees.

Last year, SK hynix worked with Autistar to create an open exhibition at our head campus, purchasing 80 design frames made by designers with autism and decorating the walls of our underground sidewalks. We also invited the Autistar team to visit the SK hynix campus, where they could present their work and speak with engineers and employees.

Hearing from Our Partners at Autistar

Hyesung Park, Executive Director of Autistar

Tell us about your work at Autistar. “I work with designers with autism – and every day, I admire the incredible pictures they’ve drawn. People with autism are clearly different from other people, but they work with us and in the company, and they live together in our society.”

What was meaningful about working with SK hynix? “Of course, it’s nice to sell a lot of products to increase sales, but when I work with people from other companies, I feel a lot of joy when I feel that they respect each and every Autistar designer. In that sense, the experience of working with SK hynix remains a special experience for me.”

Figure 1. SK hynix officials who attended the ceremony and designers with autism from
“Autistar” taking pictures. From the 5th from left, Sohyun Lee, Autistar CEO,
Il Woo Lee, head of experience design at SK hynix

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How do you work to accommodate designers across the autism spectrum? “For designers with a low understanding of linguistic work, our work is communicated by writing or drawing. And for designers who find the workspace too bright, we provide an environment with a lowered light level. In the case of those who struggle with speaking, we’ll work with them to demonstrate straightforward sentences, and give them a chance to speak again.”

What’s happening on April 2? “Every year on World Autism Awareness Day, the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign is held to illuminate the blue light that symbolizes interest and understanding of people with autism. On the evening of April 2nd, you can see the Seoul N Tower shining in blue. It is good to see that lighting this blue light gives us an opportunity to recognize that people with autism are living together in our society.”

What does Autistar do for World Autism Awareness Day? “Each year, Autistar publishes a poster designed by a designer with autism on the theme of blue on the company’s social media. It is a great autism-friendly event for people with autism to work as designers with their abilities and to show our society a beautiful picture and a design with a valuable message.”

What kind of collaborations do you want to do with SK hynix in the future? “I would like to do a variety of work so that Autistar Design can be located in various places in SK hynix. I hope that Autistar’s artwork will be included in everyday items like a uniquely designed picture frame in an empty corridor, a mug on your desk, and a gift to give a visitor.”

Creating Social Value

“SK hynix’s collaboration with Autistar has raised awareness of the importance of social value,” said Eun-ho Lee, Technical Leader at SK hynix and leader of the Autistar Partnership. “Above all, I am grateful for the opportunity to help the socially underprivileged. Many employees began to take an interest in people with autism and helped to improve awareness of people with autism.”

At SK hynix, we are driven by the philosophy that social value should grow alongside economic value – and as one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, we feel an acute responsibility to create social value in the areas we serve.