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What Color Is Autism Awareness

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Reclaiming Blue For Autism

What are the Autism Awareness Colors

Starting today and throughout April is National Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month! As far as I know, this campaign never had an official color I have seen blue, green, yellow, and purple.

But in recent years, suggestions to avoid the color blue emerged, and it seems there is an ongoing effort to establish an official color for autism awareness/acceptance monthprovided its not blue. But is it wise to abandon blue?

Ableism And The Autism Puzzle Piece An Autistics Perspective

Joanne was in banking but found herself a square peg in a round hole in the corporate world. After discovering she was autistic, certain struggles became more understandable. She moved into a career in teaching before starting to write full time. Here she explores the history of the Autism Puzzle Piece, whilst offering an inside perspective on what the symbol means for autistic people today. There are many facets to being autistic, including the language and symbolism used for the purpose of identification, representation and advocation the most well known one being the autism puzzle piece. In order to stay informed on the affairs affecting the autism community, and be the best advocate possible, it is important to understand the history behind the language and symbolism used to address them.

The symbol of the puzzle piece to represent people on the autism spectrum has a long and troubled past, from when it was first created.

Why? To understand this, you have to first understand where the symbol came from and the meaning attached to it.

The Colourful History Of Autism Colour

While the world of autism was a blank canvas for much of the late 20th century, with most of the discussions surrounding autism taking place in laboratories and psychologist catch-ups , changes in understanding in the early 2000s meant that autism awareness became a top priority for the newly formed autistic community and, as such, we needed colours to fly our flag and grab attention.

For better or worse , many gravitated towards the colour blue due to its connotations with calmness and acceptance. However, at that time, blue was also chosen as autism was widely considered a male-only condition an idea which has since been proven wrong and, in many ways, damaging for female representation on the spectrum.

In stark contrast to the Brit boy band of the same name, Blues popularity only rose during the late 2000s. This was due to a myriad of factors but rooted at the centre of them all was the American charity Autism Speaks which was launched in 2005 and featured a blue puzzle piece as their logo. The colour then gained further traction in 2007 when the same charity created the Light it up Blue campaign: a World Autism Awareness Day initiative, which saw landmarks, celebs and everything else imaginable bathed in the charitys colours around the world.

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History Of The Autism Puzzle Piece Design

We can trace the history of the autism puzzle piece to 1963. That year, Gerald Gasson, a parent and board member of the National Autistic Society in London, designed the puzzle piece.

The first logo of its kind, the puzzle piece featured green and black colors with an outline of a crying child in the center. The entire design shared the commonly held belief that autism is a puzzling condition filled with unknown riddles and astonishing problems. The child inside the puzzle piece symbolized how people with autism suffer from and struggle with their condition.

Over the decades, the original puzzle piece has undergone several transformations.

In 1999, the Autism Society of America designed a puzzle piece ribbon. The symbol was developed as a tool to raise awareness. The puzzle piece signifies the complexity of the autism spectrum. The ribbon represents the diversity of individuals with autism and their families. The bright colors indicate the hope that access to early interventions and appropriate services and support will equip individuals with autism to lead full lives.

Autism Speaks, founded in 2005, is a global organization that has adopted the blue puzzle piece as its logo. Used to spread autism awareness, this recognizable symbol reminds viewers of the continued search for answers to the causes of autism. The tool also acknowledges the diverse abilities, strengths. and challenges of people with autism.

What Is The Puzzle Piece And Where Does It Come From

The puzzle piece symbol was first used in 1963 by the National Autistic Society, in a logo which depicted the image of a crying child in the centre of the piece. The supposed aim of the image was to symbolise how people with autism suffer from a puzzling condition and are unable to fit in.

Although now no longer used by the National Autistic Society, the puzzle piece has since been adopted by other organisations, the most notorious of all being Autism Speaks.

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Autism Speaks And Autism Awareness

In 2005, Autism Speaks was founded. Created and funded by the extremely wealthy and influential Bob and Suzanne Wright , the organization quickly became the major autism-related non-profit in the world. With their strong connections, the Wrights were able to create very high profile autism awareness programs, including:

  • World Autism Awareness Day , adopted by the United Nations in 2007
  • Light It Up Blue, an international effort to light iconic buildings in blue to raise awareness of autism
  • The Power of One March, which takes place annually on April 2

Autism Speaks sells blue T-shirts, provides resources to groups interested in fundraising or running autism-related programs, and also promotes fundraising marches and events during the month of April. Institutions ranging from museums and zoos to libraries, schools, and even businesses run special events during that period.

Autism Speaks Puzzle Piece Project

Color and Sound Therapy | Autism Awareness Month | All Kids Included

The Autism Speaks Puzzle Piece Project uses the single puzzle piece symbol to teach autism awareness in schools. Its designed to act as a springboard for conversation about autism and to increase awareness about ASD among peers of kids on the spectrum. The project tool kit includes a template for making puzzle pieces that kids can then decorate and combine to create a larger design.

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Wrist Puzzle Piece Tat

A puzzle piece wrist tattoo is also a nice idea not just because the wrist is a popular spot for tattoos. Rather, it is also nice to have because it is exposed. This means you can get to see it all day which will remind you of someone that the tattoo represents.

An outline of a puzzle piece placed on the left wrist

This one, on the other hand, is placed o the right wrist and has a thicker outline

This puzzle piece wrist tattoo has a small heart on its upper right corner

This combination of a puzzle piece and heart tattoos has realistic details that make it look like its floating

A colorful puzzle piece tattoo

A blue ink puzzle piece tattoo paired with a word tattoo that reads hope

Matching puzzle piece tattoos with watercolor details

A simple outline tattoo of a puzzle piece at the center of the wrist area

Jigsaw puzzle pieces in red, blue, and yellow ink etched on the left wrist

Matching outline tattoos on the side of the wrist

A tattoo of Stitch holding a balloon made of colorful puzzle pieces placed on the upper part of the arm

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Neurodiversity Paradigm And Autistic Self

The neurodiversity paradigm is the understanding that humanity has a variety of neurotypes, and always has. The autistic self-advocacy group Autistics for Autistics describes it this way: “Neurodiversity means that like biodiversity all of us have a role to play in society …and we should be valued for who we are. Included in public life, such as school and employment. For nonverbal autistics, this also means equal and fair access to communication, such as AAC.” The neurodiversity movement views autism as a disability and a different way of being rather than as a disease or disorder that must be cured, and embraces the social model of disability which focuses on removing access barriers in society so that disabled people can be included, rather than on “fixing” disabled people. In this way, it is aligned with the principles of the broader disability rights movement.

There is no leader of the neurodiversity movement and little academic research has been conducted on it as a social phenomenon. As such, proponents of the neurodiversity paradigm have heterogenous beliefs, but are consistent in the view that autism cannot be separated from an autistic person. Advocacy efforts may include: opposition to therapies that aim to make children “indistinguishable from their peers”, advocacy of accommodations in schools and work environments, and lobbying for the inclusion of autistic people when making decisions that affect them.

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I Love A Child With Autism

I Love a Child with Autism is a retail business run by the mom of a child on the spectrum. It sells everything from t-shirts to magnets. The business owner uses the proceeds to allow her to care for her son, and she also donates to several autism charities. The puzzle piece is part of the business logo, and most of the merchandise features a single puzzle piece or a rainbow puzzle pattern.

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What Is The Awareness Color For Autism

Gearing up for National Autism Awareness Month

Rainbow colors are associated with Autism Acceptance, such as representing Neurodiversity and Autism as a spectrum, as used by the Autism Self-Advocacy Network. Red is also associated with Walk In Red which is an Autism Acceptance movement to counter Light It Up Blue of Autism Speaks.

Blue is associated with Autism Speaks – it’s commonly used for Autism Awareness but is automatically connected to this organization which is rejected by the Autism community. Autism Speaks is considered a hate group due to it’s use of harmful Propaganda against Autistic people, attacks against Autistic people, support of torture of Autistic people, and support of eugenics against Autistic people.

Note: The puzzle piece can also be offensive towards Autistic people, the puzzle piece implies we are ‘missing’ when we are not and as a symbol of Autism Speaks is triggering for some Autistic people.

The symbol for Autism is a puzzle piece. The colors are:

* Red * Green * Blue * And yellow


The colors for autism are Red Green, Yellow and Blue Autism speaks does a light it up blue event every year,they say blue for autism, but that is just the color of theirorganization. as stated the autism ribbon in multicolored.-ASDogGeek

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This Is Important To Me Because Of My Son Walker

Walker is five and hes had an ASD diagnosis since just before he was three. But hes been autistic since he was a flickering heartbeat on a grainy eight-week ultrasoundthe moment I fell in love with him.

When he was diagnosed, the developmental pediatrician that guided us through that process warned us about Autism Speaks. He said that their focus on a cure makes autism seem like a terrifying disease instead of a neurological difference. He suggested other places where we could seek out information about autism, and encouraged us to think about our child as different so we could accommodate him differently, but never, ever to think of him as damaged, broken or in need of fixing.

I am so grateful for that. Because of him, I chose instead to seek out autistic adults and listen to their advice. Our son has been free to be himself. We have chosen to limit his therapies to things that support interests he already has, like speech. We have understood from minute one that appearing neurotypical is not a goal he has, so its not a goal we will set for him.

My oldest son explains it to people like this: Our family is mostly made of computers, but Walker is an iPad. We are all really smart, and we can still communicate with each other even though we do different stuff. We are way different, but also way the same.

Awareness Ribbons Chart: Color And Meaning Of Awareness Ribbon Causes

Synopsis: List of awareness ribbon colors and associated causes regarding health and disability – Includes printable awareness ribbon chart. Awareness ribbons are defined as short pieces of colored ribbon folded into a loop, or representations of such. Awareness ribbons are used to create public awareness to health conditions and other important issues.

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Puzzle Piece Love Tattoo

A puzzle piece tattoo can also be used to express your love for someone with or without autism. Whether this is a best friend or a partner, the idea of this tattoo is about you two fitting together like two puzzle pieces. Like the puzzle, one person will not be complete without the other which makes it a nice way to represent a bond between two people.

A combination of puzzle pieces, lock, and key tattoos placed on the wrist

Infinity sign, love, and puzzle piece tattoos combined

An outline tattoo of a puzzle piece behind the ear

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The Autism Puzzle Piece: A Symbol Thats Going To Stay Or Go

Business, homes ‘go blue’ for autism awareness

As language evolves, so do symbols.

The origins of the puzzle piece, the primary symbol for autism, go back to 1963. It was created by Gerald Gasson, a parent and board member for the National Autistic Society in London. The board believed autistic people suffered from a puzzling condition. They adopted the logo because it didnt look like any other image used for charitable or commercial use. Included with the puzzle piece was an image of a weeping child. The weeping child was used as a reminder that Autistic people suffer from their condition.

When I researched, I was reminded how far weve come in our use of language to describe people with developmental disabilities. In the 1960s people with developmental disabilities were referred to as mentally handicapped. People with cerebral palsy were called spastics. The label autistic wasnt commonly accepted. Children with autism were thought to be psychotic and were diagnosed as having childhood schizophrenia. Autism was blamed on refrigerator mothers.

To the National Autistic Societys credit, theyve evolved and dont use that image anymore. This is their new image.

I decided to do an informal survey of my friends on Facebook about the puzzle piece logo. Should it stay? Should it go? What would you replace it with?

I received over 100 responses. Some people emailed me off-list. As usual the responses I received were intelligent and thought provoking.

Then there were a big group of people who opposed the symbol.

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Autism Acceptance & Awareness

It is estimated that 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. No two cases of autism are the same and symptoms can vary from person to person, which is why the condition is classified as autism spectrum disorder. Asperger’s Syndrome is at one end of the autism spectrum. While there is no cure for autism, early interventions and treatments are important for learning to adapt or overcome the various different symptoms. Increased awareness spreads a sense of understanding among the public while urging doctors to continue research into new treatment plans.bluecustom orderNational Autism AssociationAutism Society

How Many Awareness Ribbons Are There

16 different colored cancer type awareness ribbons.

With new awareness days, weeks, and months, and ribbon colors, designs and symbols being created for causes, conditions, and cancer awareness, we’re not sure how many there are, but as seen below there are a lot!

Important Notes:

  • Disabled World does not guarantee accuracy or legal status of these ribbons and/or their causes. Before using any ribbon colors and/or designs for any reason thoroughly research all current existing ribbon designations and causes.
  • As many awareness ribbon colors may have multiple associated meanings we only list ribbons regarding health/disabilities.
  • Due to different groups, organizations, countries, as well as people often creating different colored ribbons for the same cause, we may have a condition/disease listed several times under various ribbon colors.
  • If you know a ribbon/cause we have listed is not correct – or if you know of an awareness ribbon color or cause we have missed – please see:
  • Yellow = 255 229 050

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