November 29, 2022

Why did I add a gold infinity sign to my book cover, instead of a puzzle piece, even though my subtitle includes the word “unpuzzling”?

Because autistic people are not puzzles. That symbol has harmed people’s perception of us, causing them to think our actions don’t have logical reasons.

“Unpuzzling” is a word I use for the process of discovering and explaining those reasons, so others will stop being puzzled by us.

Why do I prefer a gold infinity sign?

It combines the shape of the neurodiversity symbol (rainbow infinity sign) with the color of gold (“Au” on the periodic table).

It’s currently the most popular symbol among autistic self-advocates, but that might evolve over time. I made it subtle because I hope my book will stand the test of time.

Why did I include a spectrum of other colors, too?

I like how the phrase “autism spectrum” symbolizes the variety of ways autism can manifest from person to person – and from day to day, for any given person.

I dislike the phrase “on the spectrum” with no mention of autism, though. I’ve avoided that euphemism throughout the book, because I believe there’s nothing wrong with being autistic.

I also dislike how some people see the autism spectrum as linear (from “less” to “more”). I see it as a multidimensional expression of autistic traits, not a one-dimensional measure of autism itself.

Some autistic people like the puzzle piece, in spite of its history. Some autistic people dislike the idea of autism as a spectrum, because of its potential to be misunderstood.

However, an unpuzzling spectrum is a fitting symbol for what I personally mean when I say I’m autistic.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.