Autism Awareness is almost upon us and we can expect to see the usual inundation of glaring shades of blue, clashing primary colours and of course, the puzzle piece. Once the symbol of the National Autistic Society in the UK, the puzzle piece has now become best known for its position as the logo and symbol of the infamous Autism Speaks. As such, the jigsaw puzzle piece has a fraught history and taken on a distinctly poor connotation.
The original usage was anything but neutral. NAS stated that it represented children who “suffer from a puzzling condition and do not fit in.” I wonder, have any of those folks ever put together a jigsaw puzzle? EVERY piece belongs. Every piece plays a role and every piece is necessary to complete the greater whole.
I think for this year’s Autism Awareness, I am going to reclaim the puzzle piece, for Autism Acceptance.
Just like jigsaw puzzle pieces, each Autistic is a unique individual, each brings something necessary to the greater whole. The world without Autistics is like a jigsaw puzzle that is missing that last piece.
We belong here, but our shape is unique.
How’s that for awareness?