With such a large spectrum of disorders, Autism is a special condition that has sparked a lot of support, awareness, and a path to understanding. Tattoos capture this process of understanding and caring while conveying a tone of acceptance. The official symbol of Autism awareness and support is a puzzle piece often colored with a motley of rainbow shades. A solid blue piece is also commonly used, originating from the Autism Speaks movement before evolving into the brightly colored image. The theme of the symbol of to amalgamate the various disorders that fall under the Autism spectrum and highlight the characteristics that make those people unique.
The puzzle piece has been incorporated into many different symbols and images in order to create a bigger and more detailed piece. Often, the puzzle piece can be used within a word, such as replacing the “o” in “hope” or “love”, creating a subtle but beautiful image. The pieces also can be arranged to imitate the petals of a flower or leaves, integrating a nature theme into the image. The multicolored puzzle piece is often imaged simply as well, accompanied by a name or birth date.
A brightly colored jigsaw puzzle pattern is also used to symbolize Autism. It can be used to fill hearts, butterflies, wings, crosses, and other shapes that represent passions or interests of the individual. An awareness ribbon filled with the pattern is also used to symbolize Autism, representing support and understanding. The puzzle itself makes a powerful image, usually with each piece colored differently in a vivid palate. Occasionally, one piece is missing, depicting a puzzle that cannot yet be completed.
The puzzle piece(s) fit well with the encouraging words “able”, “aware”, “believe”, etc. The phrase “different, not less” is commonly used as well emphasizing the abilities and talents of an autistic person. It asks that the disorder not define the person.
The shape of the jigsaw piece can also be incorporated into countless images. It is often removed from a larger image, creating the silhouette of the piece or negative space within the picture.