Artist Joe Helm of Docc's Custom Ink Tattoo Studio in Bonne Terre, Missouri, created this Rubik's cube tattoo for Kathy Pruitt. It was the second autism-related tat done at the studio this month. There's no limit to what can be done for an autism-themed tattoo!
This tat belongs to Rachel Werning, who offered this description:
"I worked with a student for four years. He never liked anyone to be upset. He could sense if anything was off and tell people to 'let it go.'
"My tattoo is his handwriting -- his single heart colored in his favorite color (teal). I then had the tattoo artist blow up that heart for the puzzle piece inside a purple heart (my favorite color is purple).
"This student has inspired me in more than words can say. It is because of him that I went forward and got my masters in special education with an emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is the reason I walked on April 13 and the reason I continue in the field of behavior. He will forever be in my heart ... amazing talented now young adult I was privileged to know. Whenever life is stressful -- or just to hard to take, I look at my ankle, and I can hear his voice saying, 'Let it go, Ms. Werning, let it go.'"
Samantha Baker, a mom of two, describes the tattoo on her foot:
"I went in with only wanting the puzzle piece. Together we came up with the nautical star, because I am a boater and love the water. The heart, well, that's just for the love of my two boys.
"I have two boys on the autism spectrum. They are also my only two children. They are the loves of my life! I got this tattoo done for my birthday in 2010. I would do anything for them.
"In 2012, the lives of my boys were turned upside down, as was mine. They were both diagnosed with a rare genetic brain tumor, which turned out to be cancer. They are not twins but are biological brothers. They are 15 and 12. They were diagnosed two and a half months apart. They are my two miracles! They both went through chemo and radiation last year and are both in remission! I am the luckiest mom in the entire world. They are the best children I could ever ask for!
"I swore this one on my foot would be my last one. I now have one more to get. This year, I am getting the gray cancer ribbon with the words 'never give up hope.'"
Steph runs the Inked for Autism, Tattoos With a Purpose Facebook page. So of course she has one herself! Here's what she had to say about her unique design:
"After much decision & planning I finally had my tattoo designed and done at Miraculous Creations by Eddy. I have four children on the spectrum, and one of those (the youngest) also has a feeding tube. She's a tubie, so it's a combo tattoo for autism & tubie awareness."
This tattoo comes from a dad, Jeffrey Pope. As his wife says of the ink on his ribs:
"Brody is an amazing, loving, intelligent, absolutely incredible 3-year-old. He is truly a blessing and has taught us to embrace the moments, not the milestones. To rejoice with the new sounds he has begun to make, the progress we continue to see, the new skills he continues to gain, and the love that is never-ending.
"Autism may be one word used to describe him, but it certainly does not define him. We are two parents on a mission to spread knowledge, raise awareness, find the cause and the cure. And to continue to be the best advocates for our son."
Jeffrey Pope's wife, Christie, has her own tattoo for their 3-year-old son:
"Ever since we began this journey called autism, I knew I wanted another tattoo, one to represent this amazing experience.
"The constant in my head whenever I hear or think of autism is 'hope.' Hope is what drives me forward. Hope is what fills my soul. Hope is what pushes me on to find the cause and the cure. While thinking of the concept and design, I looked at the three hearts intertwined on my wrist and the Christian fish with 'faith' on my foot and then it hit me. I had faith, and I had love, and hope was meant to be -- three things that will always be, faith, hope, and love."
Marsha Roberson Armstrong got inked for her son and daughter:
"Jonas is 10, diagnosed at age 3. His sister Jaden, age 9, is always carrying the load and looks out for him all the time. I incorporated the autism ribbon as the body of a butterfly for my son, and my daughter is the wings."
Megan Barnhill's son, Judah, was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in April of 2011 when he was 4 years old. In April of 2012, she got her first tattoo in honor of him, done by Michael Smith at Orange Moon Art Studio in Evansville, IN:
"The symbolism behind the tattoo is that although autism is a huge part of who he is and the foundation of how and why he does most things (the puzzle piece), he can go anywhere and do anything in his life that he wants to. Just like a dandelion, I know that he will go far and wide in his life and leave a lasting impact where ever he lands.
"He is special and unique and will change the world for the better, making it a more beautiful place, and my heart and love will always be with him (the hearts). I love when people ask me about it because it gives me a chance to tell them about Judah, autism, and how both have changed my life and made me a better mom, wife, and person. I wouldn't change a thing about my son!"
Done at Docc's Custom Ink Tattoo Studio in Bonne Terre, Missouri, by Sean Seger on Crystal Bruns. Love it! -- with Diane Laramore.
Erin Mast, committee chair of the Central NY Community of Autism Speaks and mom behind A Million Pieces for Autism, got this, her second autism-related tattoo, last week in honor of her sons on the spectrum:
"The infinity is obviously for the love I have for my boys. Each puzzle piece is representative of each boy. Christian's favorite color is purple, so his is the purple one. Camden's is red and his is the red one. Carter's is blue so his is the blue one."
Whitney Moore got inked for her nephew, Hayden, at Glenn's Tattoo Service by Max:
"He has come so far since July. I also got it to spread the word about autism!"
Mom Holley Jacobs has one autism tattoo for her son, Jacob:
"I have one green puzzle piece on my right hand next to my thumb and my first finger. I love art and photography and consider tattooing an extremely creative art form. I have 13 tattoos, but all of them can be covered when necessary. Unfortunately, in the business world, looks matter; they shouldn't as my tattoos do not affect my intelligence but such is life.
"The reason I mention that is because the ONLY tattoo that I cannot cover up is the autism puzzle piece. Green is both Jacob's and my favorite color, which is why it is green. This is my smallest but most important tattoo. I strategically placed it where it is. I am right-handed, and whenever I meet someone, the first thing I do is shake their hand and say hello. This has always been a habit of mine and I get such positive reaction. I would estimate that maybe 90 percent of the people who I shake hands with and see the tattoo (which it is IMPOSSIBLE not to see it) either smile and say how great it is (because they know the meaning) or they question me about it. Now, the latter are who I love to talk to because it is the sole reason I got the tattoo.
"I wanted a way to raise awareness about autism but without a lot of money; I am limited. What I do have is my time, which I use to volunteer, and I have my body, which I adorn with art including the most precious piece of art -- my autism puzzle piece."
Emily Aluisia Schrader drew her own tattoo in honor of son Cassius who will be 5 in July:
"I drew the heart for love, the olive branch for God's promise, and the puzzle piece for the autism."