Episode #14: The History and Symbols of Autism

The Symbols of Autism: The Autism Puzzle Piece and Autism History

The Autism Puzzle Piece and Autism History
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Show Notes:

When you think of the word “autism,” what images come to mind for you? Do you think of the autism puzzle piece? Is there a symbol for autism that means something to you? Who was the first person with autism?

In this episode of the Water Prairie Chronicles, I’m going to talk about some of the more common symbols used to represent autism and the history and meaning behind them. To do this, we’ll also dig into the history of when autism was first diagnosed and some of the changes that have occurred in diagnosing autism over the last century.

Some of the references mentioned during this episode are listed below for you to explore on your own. These are listed in the order they are referenced during the episode:

  • Water Prairie Chronicles Episodes focused on autism topics:
    • Episode #10 – Nicole Schlechter, the creator of the IEP Parent Academy and mother of an autistic son
    • Episode #11 – Justin Houcek, the owner of ASDwithME and mentor in his community
    • Episode #12 – Jennifer Pfaltzgraff, the executive director of the Arc of the Triangle and mother of a son with cerebral palsy
    • Episode #13 – A discussion on the role of stimming in autistic children and adults

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Music Used: “LazyDay” by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Artist: http://audionautix.com/

Tonya Wollum


Tonya Wollum is a disability advocate and host of the Water Prairie Chronicles podcast which connects special needs parents with resources to help them navigate parenting a child with a disability. She is the mother of 2 college-age children who have each grown up with a disability. That experience, along with a background in education, led her to create the Water Prairie Chronicles to help share what she has learned with parents of younger children to help them know how to advocate for their children.

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