I've been involved in a discussion on Autisable's group page on LinkedIn.
For the past 6 years Autisable has been focused on sharing all aspects of what life is like with Autism, from all perspectives.
Those new to the website and what we're about are having concerns. Some of these concerns reflect on Autisable's logo and tag line.
After Autisable relaunches, we will be updating the tag line, which currently reads, "real blogs from people tackling the puzzle of autism."
This tag line is out dated for a number of reasons:
1 - aren't most blogs written by 'real people' anyway?
2 - the words 'tackling the puzzle of autism' really doesn't define what Autisable has become. This phrase also has struck a negative chord with many who are on the spectrum.
The puzzle piece logo is also something that several in the community take offense at, primarily because some on the spectrum don't want to be defined as being a puzzle piece.
But, a lot of work went into the design of the logo, and the name. So allow me to share some thoughts as to the name 'Autisable' and the 'logo' and what we're doing...
First - our puzzle piece logo is based on several factors, as it is a remnant of Xanga.com's primary colors from the company that founded Autisable six years ago. It has become a brand that many have identified with, and many with and without autism have responded to us (and me directly) that Autisable remains objective and understanding - and that we have a good reputation.
It is easy to assume that our puzzle piece logo is only about Autism, and although the puzzle piece is itself highly recognizable to represent Autism... that's not our focus on our use of it in our logo, but rather a by product of it being used. Some corporate logos do have multiple meanings, and ours falls into that category.
The triangle logo, consisting of 4 color puzzle pieces joined together is about community... and therefore has a deeper meaning...
Allow me to explain further...
Each triangle puzzle piece represents the different facets of our community, coming together to discuss all perspectives. They are not standing alone, like many puzzle piece logos of other autism organizations. Ours are together, united. Therefore, it is not about Autism itself, but rather the community - the parent/caregivers, the non-profits, the siblings... and the adults who are on the spectrum. Each part of our community is a significant component. We're all in this together.
So the puzzle pieces (for us) isn't about autism, it's about the different parts of our community.
To explain the logo a bit further as to its design...
the four puzzle pieces are like parts of an arrowhead that when united, are pointing to the word 'Autisable' - which is two words combined "Autism and Able" (not to be confused with ableism, which we find rather offensive as well). We simply are providing a means by which anyone is able to share and discuss anything associated with Autism, without judgement... and with respect.
So we submit that our logo is a community coming together to discuss and share about Autism.
While personally I'm only a neurotypical parent of a child with Autism, I'm regularly discussing what Autisable is about with everyone, especially people with Autism. From Mike Buckholtz to John Elder Robison, to Stuart Duncan and the list goes on.... I'm always making sure Autisable remains objective and balanced in the discussions surrounding Autism and the community.
People with Autism share their journey, and educate many on what works, and what doesn't. We've learned a great deal from people who have autism, and are constantly improving as a result.
Parents and Caregivers have their perspective, as they have their own set of challenges as well.
Non-profits and Corporations have their purpose, and try to help the best they can.
Everyone must be heard.
We are promoting discussion, on all sides of the issues surrounding Autism. I understand that by doing so we open ourselves up to scrutiny on every side, and that's ok. Our purpose is to look for the common points we can all agree on and move forward with.
We know that our tag line is out dated. Much has been done in the past 6 years to educate the general public (and us) on the subject of Autism. We now know that 'tackling the puzzle of autism' has actually caused more harm than good, and we are working on way to capture more of what we are about and what we've become.
We've connected with several hundred bloggers (with and without autism) and dozens of non-profits to bring the ever dynamic discussion of autism to the general public.
Prior to this past year, where our site was shut down due to it being overhauled, we reached hundreds of thousands of people each month - many not knowing anything more about Autism then what the media brought to the table with such topics as vaccinations or the movie Rainman.
We want the general public to know and understand just how diverse Autism is, and its impact on being a part of an individual or family, or even society.
Bottom line: We want the general public to know more about how those with Autism deserve the same respect and opportunity as anyone else.