Susan's Blog

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Puzzle Piece PC

A reader from a website I respect wrote in about my use of the puzzle piece on my website, the by-now familiar symbol many use for autism awareness. She asked me if I would consider using the infinity sign instead, adding that the puzzle piece carries a negative connotation for some, because it implies that our children are somehow not whole, that not all their pieces are in place, or that they are puzzles to us. I told her I would think about it, but I am hesitant to make this change, because frankly Nat is a puzzle to me in many ways, although I agree with her that he is completely “whole,” just as he is.


Frankly, i think all of us are puzzle pieces in the grand scheme so I don’t see any negative connotations……

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 4:36 pm

Here’s a link to a well written article that discusses the autism awareness puzzle piece debate.

It is a growing controversy. There’s even a website that sells anti-puzzle piece merchandise, such as T-shirts with a red slash through the puzzle ribbon.

— added by Bonnie Ventura on Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 6:21 pm

It always amazes me how *some*one will find a way to take something that was never meant to be negative and find a way to make it so. Perhaps, that’s the beauty of free speech and thought and the myriad of perspectives we enjoy as Americans? But, I do believe, as you and the other person who posted a comment — we are *all* puzzle pieces in the grander scheme of things. And, a piece on it’s own IS a *whole* piece — with it’s own rightful place in the bigger picture. The trick is figuring out that place. I love the motto/mantra of my son’s school: “Making sense of the puzzle” To me it says it all. They constantly impress me with how they take each child, study and evaluate the many, many aspects that are part of their autistic uniqueness, then chart a well thought out course for their development. They adapt when needed as *all* of us learn and you truly are ever on the quest of making sense of the puzzle. We have learned so much about the many facets of our son (and learned to appreciate them!) by accepting that it’s a constant learning experience as you chip away at the little clues he gives us along the way. Long live the puzzle piece! 🙂

— added by Lisa Lockhart on Monday, December 19, 2005 at 8:45 pm