While the DSM5 took away Aspergers and PDD from autism, it provided a dimensional scale by how much support one needs (low, medium, high) in two areas: Social Communication and Restrictive, Repetitive behaviors.
I got thinking this was like general shapes of puzzle pieces. Corner pieces could be likened to children who don’t need too much support in either area, though they need some. People see these children a lot because they may get along in a mainstream classroom and can be out in society without too much trouble.
Edge pieces are like children with low support needs in one area, but more moderate traits in the other area. They can talk quite well, but only about dinosaurs, or they are very very quiet, but can do amazing things when in their element.
I think of the 4 way snowflakes as perhaps children with high support needs in one area or the other, innies for social communication and outies for repetitive restrictive behaviors. They need to have needs in both, or they wouldn’t be classified as autistic. My youngest is a bit like this with his social communication.
Then we have the “little people” puzzle pieces, with and without shoulder pads. I like to think that often an innie on one side is an outie on the other, so a need for support in one area becomes a strength in another.
And then there’s the oak leaf, perhaps classical severe autism, and the middle bits, which might be like autism comorbid with a problem needing even more support.
I haven’t thought this through super a lot, I was just happy there was a least 9 classes of puzzle shapes when I looked through them.