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Father-son business in Ottawa raises money for autism support

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Tucked in at the 613flea Christmas Market at Carleton University on Sunday was Jonathan Crone and his business Distinctive Woodworking. 

It’s a labour of love he does with his son Kieran, who has autism. 

"With his autism, there are certain limitations to what he can’t safely do, so I’m always working to make sure that he’s doing just the right safe tasks and most importantly developing his skills," Crone said. 

The duo has worked side-by-side for the past 10 years. 

Turning wood destined for the fire into beautiful works of art, from pens to spice mills and bowls. 

"A friend of mine had this fall on their property and she saved the wood for me," Crone said as he held one of his spice mills. 

"Autistic kids have special needs, but you can also find things they are very, very good at. Now I can hand him a tool and he can safely do the woodworking without me providing additional guidance."

Part of the money made from the business goes towards autism supports in the community, like Ausome Ottawa. 

"There is a fantastic organization in the community called Ausome Ottawa which my son strongly benefited from. They are strong in sports and recreational activities to help kids develop their physical skills and physical abilities," Crone said. 

That support for many organizations is critical, including Children At Risk.

"The need is there and we are ready to provide it, but the funds are diminishing," said CFO Bambina Lemme. "We need more funds to provide more services."

Lemme says a lack of government funding has meant having to cut programs and turn people away. 

For those ages 18 and older like Kieran, there is even less support available. 

"There are wait lists that are literally five and ten years long and the simple fact of the matter is these kids need help," Crone said.

"Helping the kids to develop their skills so they can be productive in the community is a fantastic way to do this."

Documenting their journey on social media, it is a labour of love for the world to see. 

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