Autistic teens get new Shanghai coffee shop

Cao’s son Tanni Ishiwata, who runs the shop, said that when news came out about the closure, the group received more than 500 offers to accommodate the project. A room of about 200 square meters was chosen on the first floor of the Shanghai Youth Activity Center.

“The center is in downtown Shanghai, so it is convenient and safe for the kids to go to work by themselves. It is free and stable. We can use it for long time,” Ishiwata said.

“We moved our coffee machine and other equipment there today,” he added. The new shop will open in about a week.

“The kids and their parents are excited about the new home. About 20 autistic youths and volunteers came to help today,” he said.

Ishiwata said that a logo for the coffee shop was designed for the new home. It has two parts in a “puzzle” arrangement-a capital letter “A”, representing the word for love in Chinese, and several puzzle pieces in blue, representing autism. Below the letter is the word “coffee”, with the letter “o” replaced by a coffee bean.

“The designer is an autistic boy in our project, and the logo represents his affection for the work,” Ishiwata said. “Previously, a customer asked the boy what the letter ‘A’ on his shirt meant, and he replied quickly and confidently that it means’A-Coffee’,” he said.

“He consciously links the ‘A’ to our shop. We are surprised and happy to see his improvement in expression and logic,” Ishiwata said.