puzzled

The puzzle ribbon.

Puzzle ribbon

As far as I know, it’s the logo of the Autism Society of America. I don’t know where it came from beyond that. I did a cursory Google to try to get some history behind it, but came up with little. It’s now overwhelmingly associated with autism and autism awareness.

I chose to use the non-puzzle ribbon graphic for my blog this month. On the face of it, I don’t really have a problem with the puzzle ribbon. I’m sure I puzzle Bede. I also like the idea of an iconic symbol for the cause of autism awareness. But still, I don’t use it.

I don’t use it because people are not puzzles. Or, if they are, they aren’t especially more puzzling because of their autism. The puzzle implies, to me, that autism has to be put together by someone before it is complete. That the autistic person is not an agent, a person, himself – until he is assembled. That could not be farther from the truth. Bede, and every other autistic person I know both online and in the flesh, is a whole, complete person needing nothing added or removed from him to make him finished. He does not need a cure because he is not sick.

So that’s why I don’t like the puzzle ribbon and the puzzle metaphor, and why you won’t see it here.

7 thoughts on “puzzled

  1. I’m not a big puzzle fan either. I try my hardest to find a non puzzle gif for my blog. Thank you for being brave enough to stick your neck out there and stating an opinion that many of us have.

  2. “Bede, and every other autistic person I know both online and in the flesh, is a whole, complete person needing nothing added or removed from him to make him finished.”

    Rock. You’ve captured what’s really iffy about the puzzle symbol, I think.

    (Another possible interpretation, I suppose, is “scrambled.” Which I don’t personally like any better, since an image you don’t understand or haven’t seen before is not necessarily a scrambled image.)

  3. I’ll be the lone dissenter and say that I actually like the puzzle logo. But then, I’ve never considered that the autistic person is the puzzle – rather, it’s autism *itself* that is the puzzle. I had a magnetic ribbon for my car that said something along the lines of “Solving the Puzzle of Autism, One Piece at a Time”.

    Just another POV.

  4. I’ve found myself to be puzzle ribbon shy myself, not, anti-ribbon, but not all lined up to get mine to stick somewhere, either, if that makes sense. I had decided to just let it be. I think you’ve articulated some of how I’ve felt a lot better than I could hope to. Thank you Fee 😀

    Come to think of it, I’m also yellow ribbon shy and pink ribbon shy, though I do hope our troops get home soon and I want there to be less cancer or a cure for breast cancer (something that I don’t think has been any closer to happening than 20 years ago, though)

  5. Great post, I think that all kids are puzzling, whether or not they have autism. I guess if you asked my husband, he’d say that I was puzzling too hehe. The connotation of the puzzle pieces, or an individual puzzle piece, are definitely not positive IMO.

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