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How My Teenage Son Feels About the Autism Puzzle Piece

For some, the puzzle piece used to represent autism is offensive. I understand that and respect it. My autistic teenage son wrote an essay that described how he feels about the autism puzzle piece. I am so grateful that he has allowed me to share his feelings with all of you.

“Autism, a diagnosis in which people are disabled in certain way, and a diagnosis that I have been living with all my life, is represented by, of all things, a puzzle piece — and it is what represents me best.

Here’s why:

Puzzles, in which they use puzzle pieces, require rather serious mental ability, which autistic people are either able or not able to have, depending on how they are disabled. Another thing puzzle pieces represent are academics and intelligence, which all autistic people are truly capable of having.

The way a puzzle piece represents me, however, is my difficulty of having a strong social ability. You know how when someone is doing a puzzle and they need time to think about what move they are going to make? I have to do the same thing, but with conversation. I need more time to think about what I’m going to say and what move I’m going to make so I don’t screw up. That is what a puzzle piece represents: hard thinking. Especially to me.”

Shared, as always, with Ryan’s permission. I’m so glad he lets us in.

Getty image by Tinnakorn Jorruang