“As a part of my haircut today, I would like to get the puzzle piece for autism shaved into the back of my head,” Bobby circled the top of his head with his finger.
“Sure! Mom,” the hairdresser turned to address me, “do you have a picture of the puzzle piece I could reference?”
“You bet!” and I whipped out my phone.
Today, Bobby had the autism puzzle piece shaved into the back of his head. When I asked him why he wanted to do this, he said, “for our family.”
People will ask him about the puzzle piece, and he will start a conversation about autism. About his family and why autism awareness is so important to him.
Chances are you have seen the puzzle piece, a symbol created to reference autism, a puzzling condition, back in 1963.
Maybe you have seen the colorful autism ribbon with a puzzle pattern to reflect the complexity of the autism spectrum stuck to the back of someone’s car.
Or you have seen the landmarks Light It Up Blue.
Tomorrow is April 2, World Autism Awareness Day. The day we Light It Up Blue to help raise awareness for autism. All around the world, landmarks will be lit blue. Around the neighborhood, blue lights will shine. Around town, people will be donning their blue clothes. All for autism.
I love seeing the landmarks Light It Up Blue. I love to see unity and support for autism. I love to hear and see people come together in this one small way.
I love to see the conversation start.
I understand that not everyone agrees with the Light It Up Blue campaign, the puzzle piece or the rainbow puzzle ribbon.
For our house? We do.
Autism awareness is an everyday reality for our family. We are so excited to spread awareness as a family. Because we want to take the next step. We want awareness to spread to have our family, and others affected by autism, be understood, accepted and included. Wearing blue, is just the first step.
Today, Bobby put the puzzle piece on his head. It will be with him for the next few weeks, until his hair grows out. His friends are going to ask him about it and he will tell them about autism. People he knows or does not know are going to see it, and hopefully ask or think about autism. And Bobby is willing to have those discussions.
Why? Because he has been affected by autism. He loves two very important people to him that are facing the challenges of autism daily. And he wants them to be understood and included.
I will wear blue tomorrow. I will watch throughout the day to see landmarks go blue. My family will wear blue and Bobby will don his puzzle piece. Our family unit will continue to love and support one another. We will enter the community to show others we are autism aware and will support others affected by autism.
Because we want to take that next step. We want those on the spectrum, our family and other autism families to be understood, accepted and included.
I am not the only one that likes Bobby’s puzzle piece. Later in the day, Declan spoke up:
“Bobby, I like the puzzle piece on your head. I think it is awesome.”