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I have to admit part of me has been dreading trying to tackle this particular subject. I am hoping by sharing my perspective it may help clarify some things. I think there are several considerations that are not often considered. When you are autistic your voice can be really easily dismissed, too easily. Plus with high levels of untreated PTSD in the community there is no such thing as an unimportant subject. To some members of the community, groups using the puzzle piece but spreading the wrong message was the catalyst. That autistic people need fixed, that we are not valid because we aren’t the same as non autistic people. This is a quote from a phycologist and this is the kind of message I’m talking about. “a symptom of autism” is that “something’s missing in the brain, a capacity for empathy, for social connection, which leaves the person suffering from this condition prone to serious depression and anxiety.” So seeing the puzzle piece used as a positive symbol for autism, you can see why that deeply upsets some members of the community. Everything I do starts with “from now on”, we can’t change the past, that’s a river already run. What we can do is look forward and try to ensure the right message is sent because it’s that message autistic children will take on. We can either move away from the puzzle piece, backing the community choice for a positive self image. Or keep debating which I think is actually really hurting a lot of people in both communities. If you have a puzzle piece tattoo or a favourite puzzle piece mug etc, you have one, this isn’t about banning a symbol. It’s about what messages we want the next generation to see. It’s about giving them a real chance at a positive self image and a sense of self accomplishment. So personally I ask that we move away from the puzzle piece simply because that one can cause pain. As far as I understand it the infinity symbol was used to represent eternal hope for the autistic community. Personal taste aside I think that’s a message we can all get behind. Words – Ross A Fraser Graphic Design App – Canva #NewLifeAutistic

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