The first recorded use of the jigsaw puzzle piece as a symbol for autism dates back to the 1960s. In 1963, the National Autistic Society (NAS) in the United Kingdom adopted the puzzle piece as its official symbol.
The NAS chose the puzzle piece symbol to represent the complexity and diversity of the autism spectrum. The idea was that, just as each piece of a puzzle is unique and fits together with the others to form a whole, individuals with autism are unique and have their own strengths and challenges.
The puzzle piece symbol quickly gained widespread acceptance and is now used by autism organizations and advocacy groups around the world. It has become a widely recognized and accepted symbol for autism, representing the ongoing efforts to better understand and support individuals with the condition.
The jigsaw puzzle piece has become an iconic symbol for autism in part because of the association between autism and patterns and repetitions, which can be seen in activities such as solving jigsaw puzzles. It has also been adopted as a symbol by autism advocacy organizations and is often used in fundraising and awareness campaigns.