It’s easy to turn away. It’s much easier than looking directly. He walks quickly with his head down, arms stiff at his sides. Or he paces the room and is unable to stop. Unable to stop making repetitive motions and sounds, fragments of sentences, noises that have no connection to the context (screech, yelp, pop, clap). He hits himself in the head. Stupid. Retard. When strangers come, he keeps to the corners, twitching and grinning wide, but unable to approach. It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for him, for them, for myself. A brave stranger holds out his hand and walks toward Micah slowly, speaking evenly, as if he were a stray dog let into the house. My father says, amused, “Say hi, Micah.” Micah grins like a stray dog let into the house.

“Eyes Like Lithium.” — Danielle Cadena Deulen on her brother’s autism in The Iowa Review, Utne Reader

See more #longreads about autism