I am not a puzzle


I am not feeling terribly inspired this week, so I’m just going to do a brief rant about how autism is symbolized.  I don’t like the puzzle, I don’t like being represented by a puzzle, and I don’t like trying to separate ASDs from those on the spectrum with claims that it only represents the autism.  Don’t care, do not like.

One of it’s representations (probably the one I take greatest issue with) is that it represents how autism, or people on the spectrum, are “puzzling.”  So taking a quick look at that – I am puzzling, people don’t always understand me or the way that I think and process the world, therefore I am a puzzle.

However, I find neurotypicals puzzling.  I don’t always understand them or the way they thing and process the world.  Does that mean that they are a puzzle as well?  No, it means that I am deficient in some way, disabled by being on the spectrum and cut off from everyone else.

Partly I sorta resign myself to that attitude.  Neurotypicals are in the majority and they get to decide what fits and what doesn’t. They get to say that their standard is the only standard, and they get to point at me and say I am puzzling but they are not. Nonetheless, I protest being symbolized that way.  I make total sense to me, and neurotypicals finding me puzzling does not somehow mean that I *am* a puzzle.


Filed under rant

5 responses to “I am not a puzzle

  1. Never really thought about the symbol before, but you make a good point here. Is the ‘such people are puzzling’ the intended/stated meaning?

    • It’s the earliest meaning that I know of. from http://www.pinningdownautism.com/autism.html
      ‘The puzzle piece logo was first created in 1963 by the National Autistic Society. They explain “that the symbol of the Society should be the puzzle as this did not look like any other commercial or charitable one as far as they could discover. The puzzle piece is so effective because it tells us something about autism: our children are handicapped by a puzzling condition; this isolates them from normal human contact and therefore they do not ‘fit in’.”’

      There have been other meanings tacked on since, like it symbolizing complexity, diversity, and hope. I still protest though.

      • Those tacked-on meanings are just that: tacked on. Complexity is better symbolised by the Doctor Who title graphics (the real Doctor Who, I mean). Hope is better symbolised by people with their fists in the air, vowing to go down fighting (see Machete for a good example of the pose). Diversity was also better-symbolised in Machete, but that’s a point for another time.

        I am going to have to revisit this topic at some point, but I have written so much already concerning why the puzzle piece should just be done away with. Like many “autism” symbols, it was thrust on us, not decided on by us.

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