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 Autism Symbol And Its Change Over The Years
The puzzle piece is a logo that is generally used as a universal symbol of autism spectrum disorder. However, in addition to the puzzle piece sign, which is considered the unofficial logo of autism, it is not known if it has drawn your attention, there are also different symbols used for the same purpose. The infinity sign can be an example of these different symbols. So, what are these autism symbols designed to tell us outside the autism community?
When you want to reach an image describing autism and autism awareness on the internet, it is very likely that you will see a puzzle piece symbol immediately. So what is this symbol used for? What is the history of this symbol or other autism symbols that are thought to draw attention to autism and autism awareness? Why are these symbols preferred by autism associations, parents of children with autism, and individuals who want to increase autism awareness?
First of all, knowing what these symbols mean gives us, we can start by having a little idea about this. If you want to know exactly what autism is, understand, or change your perspective on autism, you should be aware that the autism symbols you choose also have content. It is also always useful to know what the symbols mean and why the specific symbol is accepted.
Different Does Not Mean Less
Over the many years I have been in this field, I have heard both parents and professionals make the comment, if youve met one child with autism, youve met one child with autism. The good news in that statement is the realization that all children, regardless of their different abilities, are special and unique.; Different does not mean less.; The focus of our work should not be to force children and adults with autism to fit into our world.; Our efforts should be to help educate the community about the unique gifts that people with autism bring to our lives and to our communities.; Lets work to create communities where all people are accepted simply for who they are.
Also Check: Life Expectancy Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
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.
History Of Autism Spectrum Disorder In Canada
It was not until shortly following the Second World War that children with ASD were first seen for diagnosis and treatment in Canada. Universal health care,which was introduced across the country from the 1950s to the 1970s, allowed families to access diagnostic and treatment services for ASD more readily, regardless of their income level. This was a significant step in supporting this population. Dr. MiladaHavelkova at the West End Crèche in Toronto, Ontario, was the first clinician in Canada to diagnose and treat childrenwith ASD. She was also the first child psychiatrist in Canada to seek a better understanding of the causes of ASD through research. She published several influential papers on autismduring her 30-year career at the clinic.
Diagnosis of ASD and other pervasive developmental disorders has steadily increased in Canada since their addition to the DSM-III in 1980, despite significant confusion between the terms autism, PDD and PDD-NOS among health professionals andthe public. In 1987, the DSM-III-R broadened the criteria for autism. This further increased in the number of children who received a diagnosis of autism or PDD-NOS.
Throughout the 1990s, autism researchers focused on the molecular genetics of autism, as well as developing reliable and valid diagnostic tools. With the rising rates of ASD, researchersalso explored the contribution of environmental risk exposures to the development of autism.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Autism Awareness Month: The History And Meaning Of The Autism Puzzle Piece
April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to promote a better understanding of autism and to bring people together to offer better support for those living on the autism spectrum and their families. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Autistic Spectrum Disorder refers to a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction.
Signs and symptoms of ASD include having difficulty making eye contact with people and becoming overly focused on an object, and trouble with verbal skills. Social interaction and communication is also more difficult for adults and children living with autism. They have trouble understanding and talking about feelings, both their own and others.
For most people on the autistic spectrum, symptoms develop in early childhood and affect their daily functioning throughout their whole life. The intensity of symptoms and level of disability varies widely with some children and adults with ASD able to function independently while others need substantial help to perform basic daily living activities.
As awareness of this condition has grown, you have probably gotten used to seeing the Autism Puzzle Piece pop up on social media and in educational campaigns. The Autism Puzzle Piece has a long history as a symbol in the Autism community, but do you truly know its history and meaning?
What Individuals With Autism Want Us To Be Aware Of While Communicating With Them
Trying to make sense of the world is already a challenging activity in itself. It becomes much more difficult for individuals with autism. Communicating with others and sharing ideas is often not easy. This situation is also much more difficult and overwhelming for people with autism. However, according to scientists specialized in their field, the communication, and interaction that individuals with autism establish with the people around them can be facilitated by us.
1. Every individual with autism is different, but some of their problems may be common.
It is known that one in every 160 children in the world has autism spectrum disorder. These individuals also follow a different way of communicating as a result of differences in their development. They find it difficult to communicate with others in their social life. These strains can even cause anxiety. On the other hand, it is a known fact that these differences vary from person to person. Some individuals on the spectrum are more affected, while others may be less affected. When you want to communicate with a person with autism, you should not ignore this fact.
2. They may not be able to distinguish someones speech from other sounds they hear.
3. They may not understand the implications, signs, and fine details.
4. You should try to talk by putting the conversation in context.
5. They may not know at what point to get involved in the conversation.
6. The speeches of individuals with autism may seem different to us.
Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Why Is The National Symbol For Autism A Puzzle Piece
If you have spent anytime in the autism community, you have likely seen the puzzle piece that is the accepted symbol of autism and the ally community. The puzzle piece is not limited to one community or a branded symbol of one organization. Instead it signifies several major things unique to ASD and its a rallying point for the loved ones, family and friends of those that have autism. However, many people dont really know why the puzzle piece is the recognized symbol. There are also those in the autism community that dislike the symbol and its usage. Its important to examine why its used as the widely recognized symbol for autism and what the puzzle piece means to the Lexington Services staff.
What Is Meant By Im Not A Puzzle Piece
- I am a human I have no missing parts. I dont need to be put together or fixed. Even people with autism who display very little functional behavior are still people and need not be corrected. Let them be trained, yes. Get treated, yes. But having a disability doesnt make you less than a human being, even if that disability means you cant express your personality very well.
- The mystery of autism is no deeper than the mystery of any other disorder whose mechanism we do not yet fully understand. . This is not enough to justify the use of puzzle pieces to symbolize autism.
- A communication barrier between a person with autism and a person without autism means that the thoughts of a person with autism are generally unknown. In other words, there is no such thing as a puzzle for a person without autism. These thoughts not only lead to uncertainty as to the unknown but also support the unknowable and increase the pain. Filling the void requires more effort from both sides, but it can be done. When they dont understand you in a foreign country, it doesnt mean you are mysterious and incomprehensible. Although others may think you are like this. Every behavior shown there makes sense. Even screaming is a way of communication. Even in a totally nonverbal way one understands what warmth and comfort mean.
PinMart Autism Awareness Multi-Color Puzzle Piece Enamel Lapel Pin
Alex and Ani Womens Charity by Design, You Complete Me, EWB Bracelet, Expandable
Recommended Reading: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
The Meaning Of The Colors
The design of the ribbon which is inspired by jigsaw puzzles represents the complexity and the mystery of autism. The condition is not easily defined within set terms and definitions. It tells people that even though the disorder is not easy to understand, it is worth understanding and spending time on for the sake of those who have it it. It is a rallying point for people who want to bring the attention of other people to autism.
The different shapes and colors represent the diversity of people who are dealing with autism whether they are autistic or they are the family members of someone with autism. Other people who are not dealing directly with the disorder are also represented in this jigsaw puzzle design. Itâs a condition that affects all of us, hence the interconnected puzzle pieces of different colors and shapes.
The colors used are bright and basic, which symbolizes hope for defeating the disorder. It fuels the will of people in researching treatments for the disorder and in spreading awareness about the disorder. It is all about inspiring people to care about the cause or at least be aware that the disorder exists.
Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASD symptoms are typically first recognized between 12 and 24 months of age, although these symptoms may be seen earlier than 12 months if developmental delays are severe, or later than 24 months if symptoms are subtler. Around this time, children maybegin to exhibit developmental delays in, or losses of, social or language skills. For example, some children may show a lack of reciprocal smiling and looking at faces, a consistent lack of eye contact, or persistent hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensoryinput . As play develops, parents may notice that their child plays differently with toys, such as lining up objects or carrying them around but never playing with them in the traditional sense. Children may also have restricted interests or a lack of interest in playing with others. Adaptation to change may be an area of significant difficulty;children with ASD may become extremely upset if their routine is changed.
Researchers in the field have developed a range of tools to screen for early symptoms of ASD. Currently, the most evidence-based and accepted screening tool for ASD is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition. This tool is play-basedand has been developed to accurately assess and diagnose ASD across age, developmental level and language skills.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Being An Ally To The Autistic Community
All of that may have left you wondering what you can do to better support the autistic community – which symbols to use, and which organisations and movements to follow.
Rainbow Infinity | via Autistic UK
Starting with symbols, a more widely accepted symbol amongst the autistic community is the rainbow infinity symbol. The shape and colours of this symbol are said to represent the infinite variations of people on the autism spectrum, denote endless possibilities for autistic people, and intend to make clear the fact that autistic people do not, in fact, have a piece missing. In essence, the rainbow infinity sign symbolises that you cannot fix what is not broken. Other variations of the infinity symbol are also used and accepted, such as the gold infinity symbol.
When it comes to movements, arguably one of the largest events in the autistic calendar is World Autism Awareness Day. As previously mentioned, this day isnt always met with great joy by the majority of the autistic community, as many organisations and groups use the day to spread misinformation and further perpetuate harmful stereotypes. One such organisation is Autism Speaks, who each year ask the autistic community and the general public to Light It Up Blue in order to show support for their organisation.
Gold Infinity | via Autistic UK
Which Colour Represents Autism
When done right, some colours become synonymous with the things they are used to represent. Take for example the healthy green hues of the Samaritans logo or the sleek, futuristic black of the Apple apple. Even in the world of literature, its hard not to see a hopeful yellow background with a powerful red centre and think of Superman. Yes, its a fact that, for any given thing, there is a colour to reflect it. But which colour represents autism?
This is a question which I have seen raised multiple times and, with the help of both my marketing degree and own perspective of being autistic, today I aim to find both an answer to what colour represents autism, while simultaneously frustrating every non-U.K. reader by spelling colourthe correct way the British way.
Read Also: What Does The Puzzle Piece Mean
Autism Awareness Colors And Symbols And What They Mean
Many autism awareness organizations have symbols to make them more recognizable and increase understanding. Learning which symbol goes with which organization and a bit of the meaning behind these colors and designs can help you make sense of bumper stickers, logos, and other graphics.
Origins Of The Puzzle Piece
The first use of the Autism Puzzle Piece was in 1963. Gerald Gasson, a parent and board member for the National Autistic Society in London created a logo for the organization that consisted of a puzzle piece along with the image of a crying child. Because of the uniqueness of the puzzle piece as a logo, it was quickly adopted and since then the puzzle piece has become a recognizable symbol for autism across the world.
You May Like: Is Freddie Highmore Really Autistic
Causes And Risk Factors
While there is no single cause of ASD, there are certain environmental and genetic risk factors. Specifically, advanced parental age, low birth weight, or fetal exposure to the medicationvalproate may contribute to the risk of ASD. Genetic research continues to explore heritability factors in ASD; currently, up to 15 per cent of cases are linked to a known genetic mutation.
A publication in 1998 by British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield and his team suggested that there is a link between autism and vaccination with the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine or with other childhood vaccines containing mercury in thevaccine preservative. Despite this study being retracted from the journal in which it was published due to ethical breaches and numerous studies thereafter showing no connection between autism and the MMR vaccine, media coverage of Wakefields theoryfostered a widespread belief in a link between vaccination and ASD.
Research shows that there are some factors that can predict the severity of ASD. One is the individuals cognitive functioning: those with higher cognitive function show significant progress over time in their adaptive and language skills. Early verbaland nonverbal communication can also predict better adaptive behaviour and communication skills. For instance, children with higher IQs and those who develop speech by five years of age tend to have better long-term outcomes.