What Autism Used to Look Like

Carrie Cariello

Dear Christopher,

I’m not sure if you remember me, but we were in the same class in third grade. I was tall for my age, and I had long, blonde hair that I usually I wore in messy braids.

You had very dark hair and brown eyes. You were a little chubby, and I remember you wore a white t-shirt and jeans a lot. Sometimes your jeans slid down and your underwear showed.

You talked all the time about the sizes and shapes and colors of different matchbox cars.

Sometimes you got really, really angry and started bellowing and screaming and jumping. One time you threw a chair.

We thought you were a bad boy. We thought you were weird and scary and out of control, and we tried to stay out of your way.

Another time you flew out of your seat with your pencil in your hand and…

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