The puzzle of autism



The puzzle piece logo has become the symbol of autism since it was first created in 1963 by the National Autistic Society.

The puzzle piece, according to the National Autistic Society, serves as an effective logo because the disorder is so puzzling. Autism isolates them from normal interaction with others and they do no “fit in.” The interlocking multicolored logo also represents the wide spectrum and mystery of the the disorder. The vibrant colors are said to represent hope.

Out in Plymouth Meeting, P.A.,  Colonial Elementary School decided to take a new route toward raising autism awareness. Teachers and students came together to create a giant autism human ribbon.

Colonial Elementary School.

Colonial Elementary School.

The puzzle piece itself can be applied to other part of life as well. In our normal, everyday lives we too look for a place to fit into society. This was probably most evident during our formative school years. Each of us wanted to be part of a group of friends. To feel like we belonged to something that mattered. This continues when formal schooling ends. We look for our place in the world and how we can make it better.

Each of us is a piece of a much larger and more vibrant puzzle. We are each our own unique piece at one point in our lives. Sometimes we’re the corner piece that everyone recognizes. Other times we are in the center of the puzzle where we get lost in a sea of other pieces. We are not the same person we were five years ago. Our roles, beliefs and attitudes constantly change. Our shape constantly changes, but we always have a distinct shape, a place where only we will fit.

Autistic people are the same way. Although they may differ from us in their thought process and how they interact they are important to the puzzle. They hold together other pieces. If one piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete.


Fun Fact of the day:

Every charity under the sun has a ribbon to promote its cause. But where did all of this originate? Its beginning can be traced back to the early nineties during the Persian Gulf War.  Americans began decorating their yards with yellow ribbons to let the troops know they were welcome back. After the treatment of veterans during the Vietnam War, Americans wanted their soldiers to know they were still loved. The song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” inspired the use of yellow ribbons. (The full story can be found here.)





2 thoughts on “The puzzle of autism

  1. Jafar

    “In our normal, everyday lives we too look for a place to fit into society. ” Very thought provoking. Well written & stimulates reflection. Well done.

  2. Snow White

    With insight, you found a realness in what any puzzle piece signifies. Although it is one piece in a very large picture; if one piece is missing, the picture is visably incomplete. Something all of us can identify with – – BE True to whom God created us to be by embracing all of our strengths and accepting our struggles. Superb insight Tom.

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