The 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.