Is Autism Something We Suffer
A disability is something that limits a person in some way, and people with disabilities may face challenges. There are all kinds of disabilities some are painful and come with huge difficulties such as Alzheimers or multiple sclerosis, whereas disabilities such as autism or limited sight dont necessarily come with physical pain.;
Every person with a disability has their own unique experience and assuming there is suffering in every case isnt helpful. Its like saying every woman enjoys housework, its a sexist idea because we know to treat all women as individuals some enjoy it and some dont. When you assume that all people with disabilities are suffering, its ableist for the same reason.;
Pain is an even better example of complete subjectivity. Whilst many avoid it, some find pleasure in pain and thus seek it in small doses for example, through getting tattoos on their body. When you assume, or rather, impose the idea that people, on a whole, suffer with autism, you are in fact speaking to many individuals with their own individual brains and thus experiences of the disability. By imposing that negative narrative, you are implying that their intrinsic feelings about their experience is wrong, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of suffering.
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Too Mysterious To Understand
According to an editorial in Psychology Today, many people on the spectrum resent the idea of autism as a puzzle that needs to be “solved.” To them, the puzzle piece indicates that they are too mysterious to understand. This could be seen as a defeatist attitude that doesn’t promote acceptance and awareness at all. Some would prefer a symbol that called for inclusion, dignity, and empowerment.
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The Story Of The Puzzle Piece
The first use of the puzzle piece as a symbol of autism was by the Autistic Children Association , which was founded in England in 1963 by the parents of children with autism. This logo was , a parent and board member at the association.
The association board, which chose the logo, explained that when they looked at the situation of autistic people, their situation was full of unknowns like a puzzle and that they saw autism as a kind of riddle and found the problems astonishing. The logo was also suitable for charitable use. It did not look like any other image used for commercial purposes in any way. It had not been used elsewhere.
The associations first logo had the image of a crying child inside the puzzle piece. The crying child was used as a reminder of people with autism that they are suffering from their condition. The uncertainty is a part of a whole, which could not fit in its container due to social differences, pointed to a painting completed when it was replaced.
The puzzle piece also helped autism-related activists understand their situation. Puzzle pieces have since been included in logos and promotional materials of many organizations, including the Autism Association of America and Autism Speaks. It is possible to see this symbol, which is the most recognized in autism, as an autism awareness strip that contains red, blue, and yellow puzzle pieces. It is still the symbol that comes to mind when autism is mentioned all over the world.
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When You Know Better You Do Better
Now Im making a change.
As soon as my eyes were opened to the offense the puzzle piece caused, I knew my logo had to go.
It didnt matter that I loved it. It didnt matter that, as an autistic self-advocate, I didnt personally find it offensive.
When you know better, you do better. And today, I know better.
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The Autism Awareness Ribbon
The puzzle ribbon was adopted in 1999 as the universal sign of autism awareness. Although this image is a trademark of the Autism Society, the organization has granted use to other non-profit organizations in order to demonstrate unity and advance a universal mission as opposed to any individually held interests or promotion of a single organization.
The Autism Awareness Ribbon The puzzle pattern reflects the complexity of the autism spectrum. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the people and families living with the condition. The brightness of the ribbon signals hope hope that through increased awareness of autism, and through early intervention and access to appropriate services/supports, people with autism will lead full lives able to interact with the world on the own terms.
Put on Your Puzzle! To purchase merchandise, apparel or a magnetic Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon for your car, locker or refrigerator, ;to visit our on-line store.
The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most enduring and recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Yet, views about the iconic marker are as diverse and wide-ranging as the spectrum it represents.
The Autism Society posed this question on Facebook the answers were intriguing, weve provided just a sampling.
Join the conversation on social media wed love to hear from you.
What Are The 5 Different Types Of Autism
In the previous version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there was a category termed Pervasive Developmental Disorders, where the following were included: Autistic disorder, Aspergers syndrome, Retts syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified .;
However, the newest version of the DSM removed them and changed the term for Autism Spectrum Disorders as an umbrella of conditions that vary in presentation and severity.;
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Million Dollar Puzzle Piece Challenge
In conjunction with the Autism Research Institute, the Million Dollar Puzzle Piece Challenge is a fundraising effort to support autism research. When people sign up to sell the puzzle pieces for one dollar apiece, volunteers send packets of 50 pieces. Schools and businesses can then display the sold pieces with people’s names or children’s artwork.
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Even Autistics Get It Wrong Sometimes
I have a blogger friend whos son just got an autism diagnosis. And even though she writes a parenting blog, and writes extensively on sensory struggles, she wont write about autism.
Kaylene, no one can talk about autism the right way, and I am terrified to write it wrong.
I understand her fear.
The autistic community debates on identity language versus person-first language.
We debate about disabled advocates and warrior moms.
Were all in this space trying to do whats best.
Im an autistic advocate, and this time I got it wrong.
Sometimes even autistic people can be ableist.
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The Puzzle Ribbon Logo For Awareness Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The puzzle ribbon was used in 1999 at first. It is the puzzle pattern that reflects the complexity of autism itself. As we mentioned before, it is a spectrum disorder, which means it has tons of complexity even more than we can imagine. There are different shapes and colors in it to represent that diversity. They represent the different individuals with autism and families living with this condition. The brightness of the ribbon represents hope. Hope is increased awareness of ASD thanks to the logo. Then, it gives the opportunity for early intervention and access to appropriate services. Individuals with autism will have a chance to lead full lives which they will able to interact with the rest of the world on their own terms.
This logo is the most enduring symbol. Also, it has worldwide importance because everyone in the world knows this logo. Thought, views, and ideas about this logo are diverse as the condition itself, as what the logo represents. According to different people, it has different meanings. Here some examples;
Getting The Language Of The Autism Spectrum Right
Before we go any further, you might want to pick me up straight away on the use of being autistic in the opening sentence. This is whats called identity-first language, putting the adjective before the pronoun when describing or addressing someone. The other way to talk about autism, and disability in general, is person-first language, i.e. a person who is autistic, a man who has autism or a woman with autism.;;
Disability advocacy groups still debate whether to use language thats identity-first, disabled person, or person-first, a person with a disability, to discuss issues. When it comes to autism communities, I understand that most prefer identity-first language, although there are still debates. For me, being autistic is as much a part of me as being tall, do I call myself a tall woman, or a woman who is tall? Im a tall, autistic woman.
Autism advocate Chris Bonnello writes well about the use of language. In 2018, he conducted a huge piece of research in which most autistic people preferred identity-first language. Here, Im going to stick with autistic person, and where needed people without autism.
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So You Want To Celebrate World Autism Month
Some people might use the colour blue at autism-related events, like Light It Up Blue or blue ribbons.
Some people might use symbols of puzzle pieces in posts about autism online.
A lot of people will talk about autism awareness, and a need for more awareness of autism.
All of these are used by people who mean very well. However, at AsIAm, we dont think these things are helpful or relevant when talking about autism.
Our Youth Leadership Team made this video to explain why.
Blue? When the colour blue was first used for autism, the people and groups who used it thought that autism was something medical that needed to be solved, like an illness or a disease. Light It Up Blue was intended to light the path towards a cure for autism.
But autism doesnt have a cure, and doesnt need one. It isnt a problem to be solved, its a disability and a natural difference that needs acceptance and understanding.
Plus, a lot of people dont think women and girls can be autistic, so only using the colour blue for autism doesnt help with that!
Awareness? when the YLTs parents were their age, almost nobody knew what autism was, theyd never heard of it. So we needed autism awareness. Today, most people have heard of it, or know someone on the autism spectrum. That doesnt mean they know anything about autism, just that theyre aware it exists.
What can you do instead during Autism Month?
Does The Puzzle Piece Actually Evoke Negative Associations
A study published in 2017 titled Do puzzle pieces and autism puzzle piece logos evoke negative associations?, tried to empirically investigate whether puzzle pieces evoke negative associations in the general public.
They included 400 participants and the negative associations were measured with an implicit association task.
They found that Participants explicitly associated puzzle pieces, even generic puzzle pieces, with incompleteness, imperfection, and oddity.
Indicating that if the intention of an organization is to evoke positive associations then their results suggest that puzzle-piece imagery should be avoided.
Puzzle pieces cause great discomfort among the autism community, they have become pervasive symbols and since merchandising keeps expanding from t-shirts, car magnets, smartphone cases, and even designer jewelry.;
Additionally, research and media titles have also contributed to implying that there is a missing piece or incomplete when talking about autism referring constantly to the puzzle piece.;
For instance, titles such as Finding the Missing Puzzle Piece of Autism, Missing Piece Surfaces in the Puzzle of Autism, The Puzzling Life of Autistic Toddlers or Another Piece of the Autism Puzzle keep perpetuating how the puzzle piece can evoke negative associations.;
They decided to replace the puzzle piece with a design that features several circles.;
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Why The Puzzle Piece Represents Autism
Logos are the symbols that create identities to corporations, companies or even disorders, and are composed of abstract or objective images without words. It will be possible to provide adequate expression with the power of visual expression. Also, it will give recognizability to everything that creates for.
We read it everywhere that Autism Spectrum Disorder is like a puzzle. You need to combine the parts in order to see the main picture. But we forget a detail. We all have different puzzle pieces. Because each child is unique, everyones picture and everyones puzzle pieces will be different from each other. Therefore, we should not forget that a treatment or therapy method that is useful in another child may not give the same result to your child. The reason is not that this method is not effective but because it is not suitable for your childs needs.
In this article, I will mention about Autism Spectrum Disorders logo which is a puzzle piece, what is created for, whether it is enough and sufficient for understanding what is it or not, and related components with the logo. And then, I will criticize that whether it should be altered or not and how it should be beside the puzzle piece. But first, let me give you little information about what Autism Spectrum Disorder is.
The Autism Puzzle Piece: A Symbol Thats Going To Stay Or Go
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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