[Source: Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism]
Why was the study conducted?
They’re everywhere. On the lapels of NCAA basketball coaches during the Final Four. On a FOX reporter’s bowtie during the World Series. On bumper stickers, backpacks, bracelets, beer koozies, tote bags, and the background of a prime-time soap opera.
They are puzzle pieces intended to represent autism (and autistic people).
Symbolizing autism with a puzzle piece began with the UK’s National Autistic Society:
“… designed by a [non-autistic] parent … It first appeared on our stationary and then on our newsletter in April 1963. Our Society was the first autistic society in the world, and our puzzle piece has … been adopted by all the autistic societies which have followed.”
The puzzle piece was chosen, as Helen Green Allison later related, “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’.”