In Case You Didn’t Know, I Unfriended You. Here’s Why.

Jack, Jack! Look at me. Look at Mommy. I am angry now. I am angry you said a bad word.

And when we’re not pointing out puppies or trying to explain what it means when we frown, we have to name his own internal dialogue—his own behavior—so he may one day recognize it for himself. In a way, we are his mirror.

Jack, Jack! Look at me. Look at Mommy. You are jumping a lot. How does your body feel?

Did you know how hard it is to raise a son who has autism?

Constantly, I have to watch him to make sure his new medication isn’t making him feel depressed and I worry if he’s sleeping enough and I think about how he’ll ever drive a car or manage a checking account.

Did you know how hard it is to be a child with autism?

Can you imagine what it’s like to exist in a perpetually challenging world and try to figure out all the complicated rules and understand why people say avocados cost an arm and a leg when all they really mean is that guacamole is expensive?

He is my son. What you say, and write, and think about him—and others like him—matters.

He matters.

Trying to convince people of this is like laying bricks in a long, crooked line. They are jagged, and heavy. Many are chipped at the corners, and they feel dusty and dry when I turn them over in my hands. I’m not sure what I’m building exactly, but I cannot stop.

This is why I can’t be friends with you Facebook. Because of the bricks.

I want you to know I believe in your goodness.

I have to, you see. I have to believe that he has a chance in this world and people won’t snicker when he walks by or toss his job application into the wastebasket because he doesn’t know how to drive. Otherwise I will curl up into the fetal position on my bed, and never leave my house.

Please, be mindful of the things you say. Be mindful of the things you write, and post, and share. If you’re not sure whether a joke is funny, or hurtful, or mean, pause for a moment. Think of a boy named Jack.

Picture his soft brown hair, and his blue eyes, and the way his glasses slide down his nose.

Picture the way he walks to the end of our driveway every morning and stands by the mailbox and waits, with his head down, for the short bus to turn the corner and come to a stop.

Picture a path made out of bricks. At first, it looks like a path to nowhere–little more than a haphazard road without destination. But if you follow it carefully, if you step around the chipped corners and the cracked edges, you will find it leads to a clearing. In this clearing stands a house.

This house is sturdy and strong. Like the path, it too is made of bricks. And inside, there is enough room for everyone.


Jack and his sister, Rose.


This article originally appeared at

Carrie Cariello
Carrie Cariello
Carrie Cariello is the author of What Color Is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better, and Someone I’m With Has Autism. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, Joe, and their five children. She is a regular contributor to Autism Spectrum News and has been featured on WordPress, the Huffington Post, and She has a Masters in Public Administration from Rockefeller College and an MBA from Canisius College in New York. At best estimate, she and Joe have changed roughly 16,425 diapers. For more on Carrie, you can follow her at, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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