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Why Is The Autism Symbol A Puzzle

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What Is The Puzzle Piece And Where Does It Come From

Why is autisms symbol a puzzle piece?

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.

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.

Autism Awareness: The Autism Puzzle Piece Meaning

April 5, 2012 By Leila

April is Autism Awareness and every time I turn around, there is a post about Autism and it has the puzzle piece. I know that the puzzle piece is the symbol for Autism Awareness, but I did not know why the puzzle piece was associated with Autism Awareness.

What is the Autism puzzle piece meaning?

I came across the Pinning Down Autism website which had the following:

The puzzle piece logo was first created in 1963 by the National Autistic Society. They explain that the symbol of the Society should be the puzzle as this did not look like any other commercial or charitable one as far as they could discover. The puzzle piece is so effective because it tells us something about autism: our children are handicapped by a puzzling condition this isolates them from normal human contact and therefore they do not fit in.

Since then, the interlocking, mutli-colored puzzle piece has become the international symbol of autism. Its significance has become multi-faceted. For some it represents the mystery and complexity of the disorder, for others it represents the mechanical nature of an autistics persons thought process. The bright colors are said to represent hope.

I also found this: Because autism itself and its causes are so puzzling, the international symbol for autism is a puzzle piece. In order to begin to solve the autism puzzle, public awareness of the disorder is crucial. on the I-CARE website.

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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.

The Neurodiversity Logo Of Autism Spectrum Disorder


It is a rainbow infinity sign, has been posed as an alternative. The logo celebrates diversity and hope. It should be common in the Autism Spectrum Disorder acceptance movement. However, people who claim that neurodiversity is trying to ride the coattails of the gay and lesbian community for acceptance instead of seeking an identity of its own also see the logo as too passive and easily swamped.

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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.

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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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.

The Story Of The Puzzle Piece

Autism Puzzle Piece – Origin & Controversy

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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#askingautistics: How Do You Feel About The Puzzle Piece Symbol

Every April has been intense since learning I was Autistic at the age of twenty-nine. Ive been shifting more of my focus into my educational work and focusing on re-educating workplaces on Autistic and NeuroDivergent inclusion, so this April has been one of the most trying so far.

Awareness campaigns have been historically driven to promote fear of whatever they try to make someone aware of in the instance of Autism Awareness, fear and stigma of Autistic People and having Autistic children, dehumanizes and harms Autistic people.

Many non-Autistic people, seeking a remedy to rid the world of Autism, are emboldened to speak up in April to share how Autism has impacted or touched their lives. This drowns out and silences Autistic people on Autism related issues.

I cant wait for May and leave April behind us, though the debates between Autistics and non-Autistic people on Autism related issues will likely continue.

One of the issues I repeatedly see on social media is what symbols we should use when representing Autistic people. Is it the puzzle piece? The rainbow infinity? The Gold Infinity?

Frequently when you ask someone whos not Autistic, they will suggest a blue puzzle piece, a symbol rejected widely by the majority of Autistic people. I see it all the time in Facebook groups.

I witnessed one parent complaining that the PC Police are coming for everyone, ruining an innocent symbol that means a lot to their family.

I ask Twitter:


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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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.

What Does Autism Tattoo Mean

Best Why Is The Autism Symbol A Puzzle Piece Stock Photos ...

An autism tattoo with the puzzle done in many colors means a lot of things. The diversity of colors represents the diversity of people who are dealing with autism. The bright color on the ribbon signifies hope that can only come through elimination of ignorance, being aware, proper treatment and hope that a cure would be found soon.

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Why A Puzzle Piece With Autism

Although there is controversy surrounding its use, the puzzle piece is a highly recognized symbol for autism spectrum disorders. This motif decorates everything from bumper stickers to t-shirts, and it means different things to different people. In many cases, it takes the form of a ribbon made out of rainbow puzzle pieces.

What Does The Autism Puzzle Piece Really Mean

Although there is controversy surrounding its use, the puzzle piece is a highly recognized symbol for autism spectrum disorders . This motif decorates everything from bumper stickers to t-shirts, and it means different things to different people. In many cases, it takes the form of a ribbon made out of rainbow puzzle pieces.

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Something That Is Missing

The jigsaw piece also signifies that something is missing. That Autistic people are not whole. That they are less than human. But Autistic people dont believe they have something missing. Again, going through life as if the world thinks you are inferior is wearisome and discouraging.

Opening yourself up to the Autistic community and what they have to say can be eye-opening. What you think may be an important way to support your family and spread awareness about autism may actually be offensive to some. If we are serious about supporting the autistic community, we must begin by listening to them and believing that what they are saying is worth something.

Is The Infinity Symbol Better

The Autism Puzzle Piece

Yes, and Ill explain why. As our understanding of autism has evolved, weve learned that its a spectrum of completely different needs and experiences for each autistic individual. People in the autistic community dont see themselves as having any missing pieces or being too puzzling to fit into society. After all, I dont think its much of a stretch to say that a puzzle piece symbol reflects how were a problem to solve instead of people who just want to be accepted and understood.

Still, its important to note that no autistic individual can speak for everyone. Lori Trigg responded to Sparrow with a contrasting take: Im autistic and I LOVE the puzzle piece . It makes more sense than infinity. I only take issue with the blue puzzle piece because it is a symbol for autism speaks, which is a horrid organization that seeks to cure autism and views it as a burden and noose around the neck of caregivers.

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What The Puzzle Piece Means For The Autism Community

Today, the original puzzle piece design has evolved. The puzzle piece is now bright yellow, red, green, and blue. It also symbolizes the long way weve come in our understanding of autism.

With research and education, practitioners, parents, and people with autism have learned that suffering is optional and that it is possible to live productive, fulfilled, and abundant lives. Despite our advances in understanding, the puzzle piece remains a highly recognized international symbol of autism awareness.

For starters, the puzzle piece represents the way we come together to support individuals with autism. From parents and family members to therapists, physicians, teachers, and support personnel, a team of caring people surrounds individuals and supports them with holistic care.

Each unique puzzle piece reminds us of how every person with autism is different. As we know, autism is a spectrum, and everyone with autism experiences it differently. Each individual also has different interests, abilities, and skills. In the autism community, every individual receives a personalized treatment plan based on their needs.

Rather than focus on the Autism puzzle piece design as an image of whats missing, we can see it as the key to unlocking a persons potential. With an understanding of how autism affects each individual, we can create a treatment plan, offer services and teach skills that enhance each persons unique life purpose and goals.

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