(Inside: After learning about the autism puzzle piece being offensive, Autistic Mama is saying goodbye to the puzzle piece for good!)
I do my best to be the best autistic advocate I can be.
I speak out against Autism Speaks.
I talk about the problems with Light it up Blue until I’m blue in the face.
I call out ableism whenever I see it, and yet I missed something huge.
The “puzzle piece” that has come to represent autism for so long, is offensive.
See, the other day I came across an article about a major autism journal getting rid of the puzzle piece.
I was surprised.
See, I knew the blue puzzle piece was bad. But I had no idea that puzzles, in general, had such a negative connotation…
So we’re saying goodbye to the puzzle piece here at Autistic Mama, and I wanted to explain why with this post.
Saying Goodbye to the Puzzle Piece
I asked in our Embracing Autism Facebook group.
I was ready to hear a bunch of people on both sides.
I was shocked to see an almost unified decision: Autism is DONE being represented by the puzzle piece.
What’s Wrong with the Puzzle Piece?
The puzzle piece gives the symbolism that autistic people are a problem to be solved.
There’s also the fact that puzzles are typically something played by children, and it tends to promote a stereotype that autism is a children’s diagnosis.
Even Autistics Get it Wrong Sometimes
I have a blogger friend who’s son just got an autism diagnosis. And even though she writes a parenting blog, and writes extensively on sensory struggles, she won’t write about autism.
“Kaylene, no one can talk about autism ‘the right way’, and I am terrified to write it wrong.”
I understand her fear.
The autistic community debates on identity language versus person-first language.
We debate about disabled advocates and “warrior moms”.
We’re all in this space trying to do what’s best.
I’m an autistic advocate, and this time I got it wrong.
Sometimes even autistic people can be ableist.
When You Know Better You Do Better
Now I’m making a change.
As soon as my eyes were opened to the offense the puzzle piece caused, I knew my logo had to go.
It didn’t matter that I loved it. It didn’t matter that, as an autistic self-advocate, I didn’t personally find it offensive.
When you know better, you do better. And today, I know better.
Saying Goodbye to the Puzzle Piece, and Introducing the Infinity Logo
So now I have my new logo.
I’m a little in love.
See, infinity symbols are kind of my thing.
I have a tattoo designed (I haven’t done it yet… I keep having babies!) that incorporates an infinity symbol.
I had rings with my best friend with infinity symbols.
Basic point: infinity symbols are my jam. And now I get to use one in my logo.
This new logo is no longer offensive and perfectly me.
So I would LOVE to hear your thoughts.
What did you think of the puzzle piece? What do you think of the new infinity logo?