A dear friend enjoyed the origin story of the name and logo of my company so much that she insisted I share it here. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, but mockingbird.com was not available. A friend suggested Mockingbird Lane, but that website was also taken. Rolling it around in my head, I came up with Mockingbird Jane.

I know it’s kind of weird, given that my name is not Jane, it’s Michelle, but it actually does symbolize what I want to do here. I want to talk about autism and autism parenting. Mockingbirds are of the mimidae family of birds, so named because they mimic other people. One trait associated with autism is echolalia, where the autistic person repeats phrases said by other people. One of the first atypical things we noticed about our oldest son is that he would repeat questions back to us instead of answering them. It was maddening at the time to have questions like “Do you want a snack?” to be repeated verbatim rather than answered, but that was before we knew about echolalia. Okay, it was still annoying even after, but we understood it better.

Females on the spectrum often go undiagnosed until later in life, if at all. I was diagnosed in my 40s. One of the traits that seem to be involved is that we tend to be good mimics. We find a friend (or onscreen personality) to imitate in social situations and that helps us fly under the radar. So, for me, Mockingbird Jane is about me.

Image of a bird looking over its shoulder with the words "Mockingbird Jane" behind itIn designing the original logo, I wanted to make it clear that I was going to talk about issues in autism that nobody wants to talk about. Like constipation. I found an image of a mockingbird looking over its shoulder with its butt in the air and made that the centerpiece of my logo. I found a font that looked windswept and put the name of the company right under the bird’s butt, so it looked like it had been, er, blown out. I thought it was cheeky and irreverent and fun.

Everybody I showed it to said it looked like the bird had pooped out the name.

So, I got a professional to design a new logo and retired the bird.

My friend says I should sell t-shirts with the original logo, a la Starbucks.

Please comment if you think selling those shirts would be a good idea. Or if you have anything else to say – I wouldn’t dream of limiting you. Fly free.