Tattoos serve as powerful reminders of important life events, personal interests and loved ones. A growing trend in the tattoo community is the use of these permanent pieces of art as a way to show solidarity with, and inclusion in, the rising number of individuals effected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.
ASD is a bio-neurological developmental disorder that affects 1 in 59 children in the United States and is generally typified by difficulty in language comprehension and expression, poor eye contact and general trouble with socialization.
The growing number of instances of ASD, as well as the interconnectedness made possible by the internet, has helped people around the world unite and create a support group around ASD.
As we will see, the puzzle piece is an important symbol in the community and represents the complex nature of the disorder and the importance of helping each other to “solve the puzzle.”
Animal Autism Tattoos
Animals have been incorporated in tattoos since the beginning: some of the earliest tattoos used animals and other natural design elements.
However, animals in relation to autism take on another level of significance. Many researchers in the field of ASD have examined the powerful role animal therapy can play in dealing with children on the spectrum and discovered that the link between humans and animals can help children with ASD develop the social skills that so many struggle with.
Here are some autism tattoos that incorporate animals into their designs.
This is a lovely tattoo that uses an image from a popular Disney movie to create a symbol of unity with those suffering from ASD.
The multi-colored puzzle pieces on the shell prominently display the importance of this issue to the wearer, who possibly chose this character based on their child’s love of the movie. The tattoo itself is well executed.
The limited use of black line work in favor of gradated color is an interesting choice that works perfectly here. The blending of tones to create shadow and highlights is expertly employed and creates an accurate cartoon image.
This is a lovely, black and gray tattoo that lets the wearer show their dedication to ASD awareness everywhere they go. This piece, boldly place on the hand, uses clean lines and smooth whip shading to create an illustrative bumble bee.
The puzzle piece, removed from one wing, conveys the importance of ASD in their life. The choice of a bee is also interesting. While it may have other, deeper significance, bees are highly social creatures that are able to survive thanks to their advanced communities and team work. This is a nod to the struggle of those with ASD to overcome difficulties with socializing.
Autism Quote Tattoos
Another common theme for tattoos is the incorporation of script that is meaningful to the wearer. The frustration of parents and loved ones when dealing with this disorder can leave them feeling drained and simple words, permanently etched on their skin, are often the reminder they need that love will persevere.
These lovely tattoos use motivational quotes to show the world their love and dedication to their family members with ASD.
This is a lovely design that uses some familiar elements to create an interesting tattoo. The multi-colored puzzle design is an unmistakable symbol for ASD awareness and the heart-shape balloon most likely represents the fact that a son or daughter is afflicted with the disorder. The script in this piece is also well thought out and applied.
The smooth cursive script reads “Different not less”, a common sentiment in the ASD support community. This is a unique piece that permanently demonstrates the wearer’s dedication to ASD awareness.
Black and Gray Autism Tattoos
Black and gray designs have a long history in the tattoo world, often favored for their understated nature and classic look. As we have seen, the multi-colored puzzle motif is a universal symbol for ASD, however these more subdued black and gray pieces are still able to perfectly express the deep emotions associated with the highly personal struggle of life with ASD.
Here is another puzzle piece used to commemorate the importance of ASD in the wearer’s life. This tattoo uses smooth line work and balanced composition to create an interesting piece. The incorporation of simple lining for the paisley pattern inside the puzzle piece works perfectly, creating an understated but unique tattoo.
The prominent placement on the forearm ensures that everyone will know the significance that ASD holds to the wearer.
Feather Autism Tattoos
Feathers have become an increasingly common element in tattooing in the last five years, specifically for women. Feathers can represent light heartedness, a delicate nature and beauty.
They have also gained popularity in autism tattoos, perhaps for these same characteristics, although the use of feathers could also be a subtle nod to the powerful and popular ASD memoir, Do Lemons Have Feathers?
Either way, these lovely designs utilize feathers to create interesting and meaningful tattoos.
Floral Autism Tattoos
People have been decorating their bodies with flowers for years, with different flowers often representing different traits and characteristics.
Roses often stand for love while daisies represent innocence and youth. Here, flowers are used to personalize a piece and create unique designs to commemorate the wearer’s love for a family member with ASD.
This is a beautiful, black and gray tattoo that makes use of the puzzle piece to convey the wearer’s dedication to ASD awareness. This small piece uses fine line work and smooth shading to create realistic flowers inside the well balanced puzzle piece.
The level of detail in the flowers is impressive and the subtle shading and use of negative space for highlights lets the flowers pop while maintaining a sophisticated aesthetic. This is a lovely, small memorial to ASD.
Heart Autism Tattoos
The heart is a common theme in tattoos. Some people prefer a classic, stylized heart, while others opt for a more anatomically correct design to convey their feelings.
Whatever the style, the heart is perhaps the most recognizable symbol for love that we have, and as such it is regularly used to commemorate both romantic as well as familial passion.
Here are some interesting designs that use hearts as a way to communicate the strongest emotion of all.
Large Autism Tattoos
Sometimes the best way to display the importance of the subject of a tattoo is to go big. There is little surprise then that some of these tattoos commemorating a parent’s never ending love for their child use big and bold designs. Here are some good examples of large tattoos dedicated to those with ASD.
This is a lovely full color piece that will serve as a memorial to the impact of ASD in the wearer’s life. The multi-colored puzzle pieces are flawless and the line work is consistent and precise.
The design and composition are also interesting: the three-dimensional effect achieved through the use of perspective is well executed, adding another layer of depth to this tattoo that sets it apart from similar designs.
Linear Autism Tattoos
Sometimes simple is best. While many people prefer big, bold designs, there is definitely something to be said for small, delicate tattoos. Sometimes these pieces are meant less for others to appreciate and more to serve as personal reminders to the wearer.
In the case of ASD tattoos, these simple, line work designs can mean more to the wearer than any full body tattoo ever could.
Rainbow-Colored Autism Tattoos
As demonstrated in previous examples, the multi-colored puzzle design is important in the ASD awareness movement. While many people use the puzzle motif exclusively, some people use the rainbow colors as a way to show their solidarity with the ASD community.
In this group, the multi-colored design represents the fact the people from all different ethnic groups can be equally affected by this difficult disorder.
Ribbon Autism Tattoos
Ribbons have become highly visible way to show solidarity with different groups of people, from cancer survivors and those suffering with HIV/AIDS.
The rainbow-colored, puzzle ribbon is the Autism Society’s international symbol for ASD awareness and has become a common element in ASD tattoos. Here are a few examples of pieces that incorporate this powerful symbol.
Traditional Autism Tattoos
American Traditional style tattoos are popular because of their classic sensibility and bold colors. Here this same striking style is utilized to commemorate the wearer’s dedication to ASD while creating a timeless tattoo.
Watercolor Autism Tattoos
This style is invokes a child-like innocence and naivety while still creating lovely colorful designs. It is no wonder that this style has become popular for ASD tattoos, considering the number of children living with this disorder.