Autism Awareness Means A Great Deal To Us...

by Donna Brown April 09, 2017

autism awareness 5 strand bracelet.  Puzzle piece on bracelet.  Infinity and hope sign on bracelet.

It's Autism Awareness Month for the World but it's always awareness time here at The Missing Piece. Why, you ask? Here's a little background of why Autism Awareness is so important to us. 

I am a retired teacher of Special Needs students. I worked at a High School for a zillion and one years, working with all populations and levels of ability. Having completed training in multiple subject matter, I was certified in multiple disciplines. I didn't want to ever become bored in my career (and I wasn't). Now, a little boredom would be most welcomed. When I first began teaching, the word Autism was not on the radar of studies as it was little known and discussed. It’s so amazing how much life has changed, and I am so thankful.

My son Artie suffers from Autism. What I really want to say is that most other people suffer from being "normal" and that reality seems to upset people when there are differences in what is considered the norm. While awareness is helping to change people's expectations, it doesn’t always measure up to acceptance but we are making positive strides. My son's view of the world is a bit different than most, but it's pretty awesome. Every once in a while I try to focus my day on what I believe is his perspective and I try to take a walk in his shoes. It isn't always easy to navigate, but Artie does it every day despite the hurdles and he is my hero for all that he overcomes. I'm trying to stop expecting him to view the world from my perspective but it’s difficult because we are so different and I get caught up in my own way of thinking. I’m trying and will continue to take baby steps to get to that middle ground.

Artie has the functioning capacity of a three-year-old in most respects and is a challenge, as he has significant behavioral disorders. He has a one-on-one aide in a Special Needs school and this helps him function and be successful while there. Artie LOVES school which is so awesome, and I joke that he is the “Mayor” of the school as he is well loved and everyone knows his name. There are very few places that we go where someone doesn’t recognize him and start a conversation. He has so many wonderful people in his life, and for that, I am so thankful.

Artie is a gentleman in the making, is always willing to help in any situation, he is being raised to have Faith in Humanity and is an excellent example of optimism to most. Artie is my strength and I love him to pieces!  

Artie loves seeing his face on a puzzle and frequently asks me to Facebook our adventures and puzzle them, too. I invite you to check back often to see other adventures that we travel, as they are spontaneous and fun!


The Missing Piece Puzzle Company child assembling a puzzle of himself while waiting in a restaurant


The Missing Piece Puzzle Company has been called the Autism Store locally because we offer different autism awareness merchandise, as well as puzzles. While we meet many different people with beautiful stories, I am constantly reminded of how this company began, continues to grow and is continually changing because of my son’s needs. He’s a pretty cool dude with a smooth move.



Donna Brown
Donna Brown


Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen is the owner of The Missing Piece Puzzle Company and is passionate about making high-quality custom jigsaw puzzles "Made In America FAST".
Her love of the product shows in every puzzle that she makes.
A retired teacher of Special Needs students and a widowed Mom to an amazing son with Autism, life tends to be like a puzzle with each piece an important part of who Donna is.

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