Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Every Child is a Piece of the Puzzle: Autism Awareness Day Bento

Autism Awareness Day quick and easy puzzle bento lunch
April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, and the whole month of April is National Autism Awareness Month in the US. The Puzzle Piece is the perfect symbol to reflect the mystery and complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Also, since every puzzle piece is different in some way, a puzzle piece accurately represents the diversity of the individuals affected. 

We don't have a diagnosis yet, but I'm fairly certain that Z has something in the Autism spectrum. Either way, I have enough friends with children in the Autism and Sensory spectrums, and packing a puzzle lunch is a great way to show them my love and understanding too!
Black rice crackers, goat cheese, organic carrots and apples
The "official" Autism colors are red, yellow, and blue, to represent the diversity of people and families living with Autism, but blue is the color for Autism Speaks, which has a powerful marketing campaign, which is why blue is so often associated with Autism. I went mostly with blue for this lunch anyway.

I chose multiple silicone cups in different shapes mostly because I didn't have a bunch in any given shape with that shade of blue. But I also felt that the diversity in shapes was a lot like the symbolism of the puzzle piece. We're all a little different, but we all fit part of the bigger picture.

This was a pretty quick and easy lunch, thanks to a tiny edge-piece cookie cutter and tiny puzzle piece cookie cutter I bought online. They're freakishly expensive, but hopefully won't rust and dissolve like some of my standard (steel?) ones left by the sink too long. Since I was ordering the little fish cutter anyway (gluten-free dairy-free goldfish crackers, anyone?) I decided to spread out the bite from the $8 shipping charge and ordered all 4 "mini tiny" cutter shapes, plus some cute mini gnomes.

I also added a puzzle pick in with the apples. I just ordered these, and they arrived just in time!

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"Puzzle Cheese" for the Toddler
The little one got leftover carrots and fruit from snack and lunch the day before, in the hopes that they'll actually get eaten at some point. And she got all the cheese scraps from Big Sister's lunch. Whenever I'd make fun cheese shapes for my nieces, I'd always save the scraps to eat later or melt in grilled cheese sandwiches or whatever. The older one started calling them "puzzle cheese," since they fit around the cut-outs like a puzzle, and she'd always ask for more "puzzle cheese." So that's what we call them now!

E also got a silicone star cup because every child is a super-star. And I couldn't find any other shapes in blue.


Bent On Better Lunches is hosting an Autism Awareness lunch linky party, so be sure to check out a gaggle of other puzzle-riffic lunches, or go link up your own!

 Autism Awareness Ribbon 185x300 Autism Awareness: The Autism Puzzle Piece Meaning
Learn some of the signs of Autism, and if you suspect something might be "off," trust your instincts. Find your local Early Intervention program for a free screening of cognitive, motor, and social/emotional development for children birth to 3, and ChildFind through the school district for ages 3 to 5. (Google either program name and your city, county, or a nearby city name to find the ones near you!) These services are free to you, and it's never too early to start helping your child(ren)! Even if you feel your child is fairly "normally developing," it's still nice to see where they fall, and get advice on how to help them with the stuff they are still struggling with!

Tools of the Trade
Mini Tiny Puzzle Piece Cookie Cutter, Design 2Mini Tiny Puzzle Piece Cookie Cutter     


  1. FYI, Autism Speaks is a pretty gross organization and a lot people who actually are on the spectrum refuse to give it their support and even think they're harmful


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