Earlier this week I received a phone call from a pretty prominent autism organization. I was happy to take their call and discuss the upcoming event. My excitement turned to dismay when I learned that their board was debating on uninviting me to the event. Keep in mind this is an event I paid hundreds of dollars to participate in, not one who had hired me.My offense? Having a book cover with puzzle pieces and my table decorations and t shirts from a previous event also had puzzle pieces. Remember my first book the one they are referring to came out in 2005 long before the cancel culture came along and vetoed the puzzle piece. I explained this and was still met with hesitation. I also explained my 22 year old with autism loves puzzles and puzzle pieces. I listened to their side and they listened a bit begrudgingly to mine and we compromised.At their event I won’t have my normal table cloth and big styrofoam puzzle pieces. The books are staying as are the t shirts. Not to say that we won’t embrace the new infinity symbol. We will and all who love it we will love. We are not asking people to love our logo but we would like the same consideration that we are offering in embracing other symbols. I’ve done a lot of research this week on the symbols. Know if you are an autism mom , dad or have autism yourself I feel you need a SUPERHERO cape and symbol to wear every day.
Here is a synopsis of the research I have done this week. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. There are different symbols used to represent autism, including the puzzle piece and the infinity symbol. We intend on using both. Justin loves the puzzle piece and infinity sign. When I showed it to him he said “ you love me to infinity and beyond !)” He still has some echolalia. The word infinity conjure up Buzz Lightyear for him.
The puzzle piece is one of the most recognized symbols for autism. It was originally created by the National Autistic Society (NAS) in 1963 to represent the complexity and mystery of autism. Over the years, the symbol has been used by various organizations to raise awareness and funds for autism. However, some people with autism and their families find the puzzle piece offensive because it suggests that they are incomplete or missing a piece. They also feel that it reinforces negative stereotypes and a deficit model of autism. To us it just means individuality but we understand others point of view.On the other hand, the infinity symbol has gained popularity as an alternative symbol for autism. It represents the idea of neurodiversity and the infinite variations of human minds. The infinity symbol also emphasizes the idea that people with autism are not broken or in need of fixing, but rather have unique strengths and challenges. Some people prefer the infinity symbol because it is more positive and inclusive than the puzzle piece. We will use it some too.
It’s important to note that both symbols have their own history and meaning, and it’s up to each individual to decide which one resonates with them. Ultimately, the most important thing is to respect and listen to the voices of people with autism and their families, and to promote acceptance and inclusion for all. That is the goal of Autism Family Circus. We want inclusion for all. I think we will use both and may use a new symbol created by my friend Mamta Mishras son Parag which is a heart with all the autism colors and blurred lines. We love it and y’all. Let us know what you think. Your feedback is important to us ❤️