Aces and aros have sometimes been accused of appropriating the term "a-spec" from the autistic community. This is impossible, as the term was created in 2015 specifically for aces and aros and has no prior usage history before that point.
With the ace and aro communities, use of the term "a-spec" has also been criticized for introducing confusion through frequent misuse, particularly regarding asexuals using "a-spec" when only ace-spec individuals are relevant, or though saying "a-spec and aro-spec", implying that aro-spec is not inherently inherently included under a-spec. Unfortunately, for some individuals, "a-spec" and "ace-spec" are phonetically indistinguishable when spoken aloud.
The term a-spectrum was introduced by Tumblr users warriorsdebt, whes, and strategicgoat in 2015.
The a-spec flag was created by Tumblr user The-Moon-Is-Aroace on March 25, 2019. The compass rose in the middle is a symbol of how individuals all experience attraction in different ways, if at all. The green and purple are on opposite sides of the quadrant to show that asexuality and aromanticism are their own separate and independent identities, with the black and grey quadrants connecting them. Black represents the aroace community and grey represents grey communities.
The aloe vera a-spec flag was designed by Tumblr users Sapphic-Squirrel and Hetaces with help from the Inclusionist Discord Server and was posted on November 17, 2019. It was designed to mimic the sapphic, achillean, diamoric, and pluralian flags with three stripes and one plant. The green is for aromantics, the purple for asexuals, and grey is for the grey area between a- identities and allo- identities (which would represent greyasexuals, greyromantics, demisexuals, demiromantics, other mesi aros, mesi aces, split attraction users, and those that don't have solid labels but know they are somewhere under the umbrellas of asexual or aromantic.)
The aloe vera flag was redesigned by RavenFire803 on July 1th, 2021 to represent the larger community. The aloe symbol was made to be both green and purple instead of just green to show balance.
The striped A-spec flag was coined by RavenFire803 on July 6th, 2021. It has no confirmed meaning.