Pin Me

The History of the Autism Ribbon Symbol

written by: Kristina Dems • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 5/13/2011

The autism ribbon symbol is a powerful and emotive icon that raises awareness of autism spectrum disorders.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Autism Ribbon 

    Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment problem in which its manifestations are observable in early childhood or commonly before three years old. It is characterized by communication disorders, impaired socialization and repetitive behaviors. This complex disorder brought many families and concerned citizens to come up with a symbol representing the complex nature of Autism.

    The autism ribbon symbol is a jigsaw ribbon with several bright colors that include red, yellow and blue. It symbolizes awareness of autism among those directly affected by it and even those who have not heard of the disorder until they were told what the cool jigsaw puzzle ribbon design is all about. It is used to spread awareness about the disorder of autism, often letting everyone know that whoever is sporting the ribbon is someone who understands the disorder and is making a statement that they are supporting the cause.

  • slide 2 of 4

    The Meaning of the Colors

    The design of the ribbon which is inspired by jigsaw puzzles represents the complexity and the mystery of autism. The condition is not easily defined within set terms and definitions. It tells people that even though the disorder is not easy to understand, it is worth understanding and spending time on for the sake of those who have it it. It is a rallying point for people who want to bring the attention of other people to autism.

    The different shapes and colors represent the diversity of people who are dealing with autism whether they are autistic or they are the family members of someone with autism. Other people who are not dealing directly with the disorder are also represented in this jigsaw puzzle design. It's a condition that affects all of us, hence the interconnected puzzle pieces of different colors and shapes.

    The colors used are bright and basic, which symbolizes hope for defeating the disorder. It fuels the will of people in researching treatments for the disorder and in spreading awareness about the disorder. It is all about inspiring people to care about the cause or at least be aware that the disorder exists.

  • slide 3 of 4

    The History of the Jigsaw Puzzle Ribbon

    The autism symbol was created by the National Autistic Society in 1963. The first consideration for the design of the ribbon was its uniqueness because there were already a lot of colored ribbons back then that represent a wide array of causes. The society wanted to set themselves apart to gain more attention and awareness from the public.

    Their official explanation of the design involves the condition being very puzzling, as well as the fact that those with the disorder are cut off from normal human interaction, effectively causing them not to fit in. This idea is pretty much being retained by current crusaders for the cause.

    Through the years, the jigsaw puzzle symbol has meant different things for different people. For some, the puzzle ribbon represents the disorder that cannot be cracked but is not impossible to solve. For others, it represents the mechanical nature of people with autism who sometimes tend to act like robots. No matter what people think of the design or how they interpret it, the autism ribbon symbol has constantly been an avatar of hope for people with the disorder, their family members, their friends and even random strangers.

  • slide 4 of 4

    References

    The Autism Awareness Ribbon - http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=asa_ribbon

    Significance of Autism Ribbon - http://www.rideupforautism.ca/ribbon.htm

    About Autism - http://www.pinningdownautism.com/autism.html

    Photo Courtesy of Autism Society (Autism Ribbon)