1. Well seeing as how I already have a quad-color puzzle piece inked on my left wrist I’m pretty much fucked if we choose a different symbol. 😛

    Anyway, I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve always thought the puzzle piece was harmless enough because aren’t we all complex puzzles regardless? I don’t know. It’s something I’d never considered before and I don’t know if I’m in the right frame of mind to consider it at the very moment. I’ll have to ponder on it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. i think your ink would still be legit. theres no “aspie law” to ban aspies from self-identifying as puzzle pieces.

      youd still be you, youd still be one of us, even if you tattooed a giant horses ass on your wrist. at worst (or at best,) many (many) years from now people might wonder what your tattoo means. thats probably true now, and thats probably true of most tattoos. i think you can skip the laser removal. for what its worth.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well I’d opt for a cover-up over laser removal (as laser removal is many times more painful than getting the tattoo to begin with and often leaves scarring) but still, I get you.

        I do have a tattoo I’ll definitely be having a cover-up done on in the near future but not that one.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. for the reasons stated and others, i think you can probably get away with keeping it.

          its not a suitable symbol for many or most of us. its not something we adopted (you did and thats totally fine) it was something we got tagged with. i considered inking a python logo once, and boy am i glad i didnt! it would have to be a fig leaf now, and– this is the thing about tattoos i guess.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Oh yeah. It’s not for everyone. I have 6 tattoos and counting but with the exception of the small wrist tattoos I have the symbols are more enduring than that. I actually did a post regarding my puzzle piece tattoo not too long ago and how I wound up with it: https://inkedautist.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/confession-time-i-sold-my-soul-to/

            I admit these days I just get tattoos for the hell of it. Make no mistake about it; it’s addictive as hell. I will say all my tattoos have to have some meaning to me, though that meaning could be “it just looks cool.”

            Liked by 3 people

      2. “You’d still be you, you’d still be one of us” – agreed wholeheartedly 👏🏼👏🏼😘


    1. i think she did just change what it says under her icons/avatars. that or wordpress is screwing with layouts again (a la google plus? not great, wordpress…)

      theres a recent entry where she talks about the alias “laina eartharcher.” at least i think its from this year.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. a couple points to be made here:

    it matters more that a place is autism-friendly than having a symbol that indicates it. certainly, once we have a well-thought-out definition of what “autism-friendly” means, the symbol youre talking about is a lot more meaningful. im not saying that has to come first, but we should first be confident that it wouldnt be far behind or fraught with controversy, or the symbol too will be lost.

    on paper, anyone can say “we dont discriminate against autism.” that just means theyre willing to comply with the law, which is every business, essentially. its such a broad thing it has no real meaning, its like saying “we have diversity” or “our team is the best!” really, in what way?

    i recommend not having the scope of the symbol include (site-wide) accomodations for sensory-overwhelmed individuals, because almost no such places exist and there are many things a company for instance can offer besides that (such as ad hoc accomodations for sensory-overwhelmed individuals.) not that a symbol for that wouldnt be a great idea, but i think those standards will be more narrowly defined and deserve their own symbol. we are talking about a broader kind of support than that, and yet a narrower definition than “we follow all anti-discrimination laws.”

    the other point was that i like your two symbols, black background idea. obviously the black background (or whatever background or added detail) for an “OUT” person on the spectrum is great, but the other (usual) symbol for “support/allies) should note that it is ALSO used by “closeted”/masking/anonymous/private people on the spectrum. in other words, the verbiage “non-autistic” for the non-black-background symbol isnt desired and would be misleading. the verbiage ought to be more like “supporter” (with some note somewhere that private individuals including nts and ALSO people on the spectrum may use it) and that the other feature indicates an openly/publically autistic owner. there should be two symbols/versions, with one being for EVERYONE (nt/nd alike) who isnt openly autistic, and supports neurodiversity. imo this can all be done with conventions, rather than standards.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “It matters more that a place is autism-friendly”

      Very true, and vehemently agreed! 👏🏼👏🏼

      My only goal with the symbol is to have some sort of standardized way of communicating this to the world, be it parents of autistic children or autistic people ourselves. We would know straight away that the place has met certain guidelines or standards before going into the place 😊💞

      So yep, we’re totally on the same page – the next step (or would this be a first step?) is to cultivate guidelines/standards that a place would have to meet in order to be considered spectrum-friendly 😉

      I’m with you – I don’t think such a symbol system should be in place (i.e., people/businesses/entities start using it) until guidelines have been established (by autistic people ourselves!) and adhered to (as in, no using the symbol as a marketing tool without deserving to do so). I hope that made sense; it’s still morning over here lol 😂😉❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Neurotypical business owners could use the symbol as well, to indicate that their business is Asperger’s/autism-friendly.”

    I understand the thinking, and it is in essence a good thought, but it doesn’t sit quite right with me! It’s about being inclusive after all, open and welcoming to all regardless of the variations humanity brings! And as soon as you start displaying certain symbols, there are others you leave out. Unintentionally or not, what was meant as an initiative to make people feel welcome can end up making others feel less welcome. Seeing how there are so, so many types of people and so, so many different symbols of different groups, one would need a whole wall to just display all. So now, if wanting to display a symbol or statement to this effect, I would personally prefer using a symbol of diversity!

    As for the puzzle piece, I must admit I’ve rarely seen it. What is the original idea behind it, do you know?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As I was thinking myself about the symbolism used for Autism, and came up with an idea of my own,
    I couldn’t help but realise how controversial symbolism can be, simply because symbols carry meanings, and meanings of symbols are understood by all in very specific, unique ways. And yes, some might have become over time silently “accepted” by a vast majority whom couldn’t actually bother to consider at a deeper level, such as the puzzle and the infinity rainbow. However, if analysed deeper, the symbols have loud meanings, as also the organisation(s) behind them.
    Now, I wouldn’t really mind the puzzle, since it’s not only the NT world which is puzzled by our existence, but we autistics can say the same thing sometimes about each other 🙂
    My problem with the puzzle symbol is the organisation behind it, which has chosen a name, “Autism Speaks” which by an unsolicited generalisation assumes to speak for everyone on the Autistic Spectrum, even though I hope that wasn’t their intent; but if it wasn’t, I’m shocked by such negligence.
    Unfortunately, this has been the case with many other organisation, especially from the US, which due to some unexplained pattern which I’m not going to discuss here, have come to probably think that size, financial assets strength, political influence and power are enough to make them “global”, in this case “global voices for autism” which leaves too many unhappy.
    (to be probably continued…)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Excellent points, my friend! I think you’re spot on 😊. For me, the puzzle piece would actually have been perfect, because finding out that I’m an Aspie was almost assuredly one of the most defining moments in my life! It solved my own lifelong puzzle. It was the single piece of information that did so. But yeah, A$ had already seized it and co-opted it to mean something darker. So, I considered it off-limits 😊

      I would love to hear more about the unexplained pattern you mentioned in your comment! I’m intrigued; do you think you’ll eventually write a blog post about it? I’d love to know what you think ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Just did some quick research about the AS, its history, beginnings, mergers, percentage of income allocated to non-research, etc, and I’ve come to some conclusions. I’ll need a bit more time, but as I’m sick on leave (chest congestion, sinusitis, antibiotics) again, 😦 I’ve got some…
        I’m considering the “unexplained pattern”, which is a very touchy-touchy subject for many, especially on your side of the pond 🙂 and therefore too political, which I’d rather leave to Noam Chomsky…
        So in preparation for my next Autism specific academic year, I’ll do some preliminary digs. I have found some interesting items for my evidence balance, some from AS, some from the “opposition”, some from Rainbow Autism, etc. I’ll be certainly back 😉
        Thanks Laina for your open-mindedness 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Absolutely, my friend 😊❤️. For the record (in case it helps put your mind at ease), we’re all in this together, no matter what our country of origin, and the way I see it, we’re all on the same side ❤️. We have the same beefs with the same factors y’all do – whether it’s political figures, political movements, historical events, general public sentiments, and so on. Except for how we each spell certain words 😉, I can’t otherwise tell the difference between autistic people from different countries 🌷. My view is, One Spectrum, One World 🌎💓🌍

          Of course, I’ll always respect and support whatever conclusion you reach and whatever decision you make 😘💖🌟💖

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you Laina, I’ve given up being positive, I’ll leave that to ‘naturals’ like you 🙂
            I’ll keep within my diplomatically rephrased realism 😉 and row our common boat…
            We’re too many to go astray, even if sometimes our boat seems bitten by tarantulas 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  5. Confusingly, both Tony Attwood and Tania Marshall talk about puzzle pieces in connection with Asperger’s diagnosis, as in each trait you identify is a piece of a puzzle, and if you collect about 80% of them and more or less complete the picture, you get a diagnosis (unless you are missing some key pieces, in which case you don’t). Which has me constantly fretting that I haven’t got enough puzzle pieces…but that’s another story.
    Why a puzzle piece anyway? Because autism/autistics are so puzzling? A single puzzle piece is not very puzzling, is it? I love jigsaw puzzles. Most of mine have 1000 pieces – now that’s worth your while!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe, you and me both! Every word you wrote 😊👏🏼❤️

      “Each trait you identify is a piece of a puzzle…” Totally!

      Fret not, my lovely 💖. I’m no specialist, but I would not doubt that you have enough pieces! 😘

      I think the puzzle piece thing (and this is just my supposition) comes from a group of non-autistic parents/grandparents (the latter, in the case of A$, the entity that took this icon wholesale) found autistic kids and autism itself to be confusing, baffling. And they’ve taken that a step further in their quest for causes/treatments/cures, implying that these are also puzzling (as is the “epidemic” they perceive autism to be), and also implying that to identify these causes/treatments/cures would be to solve the puzzle. But that’s just my take on it – I’ve read Neurotribes and all that (which gives some of this history, which is fascinating, even if offensive), but I’m still kinda new at this stuff, so I readily and willingly admit that I might not be totally correct 😘❤️

      Jigsaws rule!! 🎊🎉🎊 They’re almost a stim for me lol 😉🌷💞


      1. I get where the puzzle piece idea comes from, I just think that a puzzle with a single piece is not very puzzling, so to express puzzlement they would have needed a lot more puzzle pieces.
        Here’s a puzzle for you: how many times can you say “puzzle” in a single comment? 😄
        Agree about the stimminess of jigsaws 😌

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the rainbow infinity symbol is a wonderful one. It’s easy to make into a pin. Just take a thin white ribbon, paint it in rainbow watercolours, and glue it into a Möbius strip.

    Using the rainbow infinity symbol for businesses to show they are autism friendly makes a lot of sense. Autistic people are often very visually oriented.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I like the puzzle ribbon. I think it’s about the only good thing that has come out of the awareness movement. My entire life has felt like problem solving a great big jigsaw puzzle, connecting dots as I learn how to zoom out and see bigger picture. Besides, I’m not into the whole ‘we’ thing. I’m a human on a planet. I think that’s about as much as we need to sift down our differences for whatever more and more specific reasons. I’m super burned out (years of this, front lines) on everyone and their dog having to micro define who ‘we’ are, whoever we is supposed to be at the moment. The rainbow was coopted long ago, mobius strip has been around forever, all the symbols being reinvented aren’t going to mean anything much longer because they’re getting so smeared across *allthethings* now.

    I feel this way about other groups, too. I belong to several different defined groups, and it’s become kinda like listing all the different symbols after my handle, like doctors do… (lol)

    I will be extremely honest- I feel like this kind of post/thinking is fishing or baiting/somewhat wallowing. I usually pass by these and don’t even read them. Where were we when Downs worked so hard for their identity? Where were we when ADHD was under the big witch hunt? Where are we right now for the Cystic Fibrosis crowd? Standing up and and drawing a line around ‘our’ group means nothing to me.

    I’m 55. We’ll see where you’re at with your waking up after you’ve applied your self revelations to your real life relationships for another ten or so years. My autism (those who don’t know me, super autie here, hard core diagnosis, many years with psychologist learning to communicate and practicing on blogs for 10 years) doesn’t define my chronic problems, my core belief system, or my feelings about my family. It *does* explain how I handle some of these things.

    I have no real opinions about a lot of this stuff. I was relieved to find out I fit into a subset of my own normal, I am learning to adapt my kind of normal to the outer normal at large so that I have better relationships, and I hope in doing so that I show the world I’m nothing to be frightened of or ashamed of if they have kids like me. The whole standardizing and compartmentalizing people thing started with politics, and those of us who remember the older days also remember how hard we worked decades ago to break free of that and NOT be labeled.

    I’m seriously facepalming that aspies would take a self representative symbol seriously. Saying this tongue firmly planted in cheek and throwing a tub of salt along with it. Not down on anyone, but I know it looks like it. Just being my rebellious self.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Omg cool! Thank you for sharing your thoughts 😊. I love your philosophy – “a subset of my own normal” – awesome 👏🏼👏🏼.

      Truthfully I’m not a fan of sectioning people into groups, either. Rich vs poor, black vs white, male vs female, white collar vs blue, etc. Yuck.

      I think right now it’s just a matter of having found other people like me, wanting to be part of a “we”, and the fact that I know this blog is read by many, some who probably wish I was more activist, more pessimistic, more disabled, more or less passionate, more or less informative, and so on 😊. I try to appeal to a wide variety without falling into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.

      To be (really) clear, my intent is never to bait or fish; during the times in which I do feel like I’m wallowing (and I probably am during those times), then my only intent is to share in hopes that someone who is feeling similar and figuring that they might be the only ones who feel like that, might see the writing and realize they’re not alone.

      I hadn’t written about any kind of symbol, but I know that many have, so what I had to say wasn’t exactly anything earth-shattering or new 😊. But I figured, well, I write about a bunch of other aspects, and I haven’t written about this yet, so maybe I’ll weigh in 😊. I did want to bring something new to the table, though, which is the possibility of a method of recognizing autistic-owned or autism-friendly businesses, since so many people on the spectrum (myself included) have expressed that they find it challenging and energy-consuming to go out and about in a bright, noisy world. And I’ve read about the stats involving autistic people regarding financial struggles; of those employed, self-employment seems to be a theme (myself included here, too), and my thinking in posting about that is to offer a potential solution for both of those issues 😊

      “My autism doesn’t define…It *does* explain…” – my thoughts exactly 😊🌺


  8. Since reading the history of the puzzle piece symbol, I’ve turned vehemently against it. I don’t what it was designed to imply about us. I don’t like how it is now used by a certain organisation, even the National Autistic Society abandoned it. I do like the infinity rainbow symbol though, a lot less negativity associated. If I get my formal diagnosis, I’m tempted to add it to my collection of tattoos to mark the new chapter, if I can get it designed right.

    Liked by 1 person

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