Meet Stories of Autism founder, Charlie Cotugno

A family photo session was one of our red flags for autism. Our daughter had just turned two and the portrait was supposed to be for our holiday card. The little girl who previously had been all smiles for the camera wouldn’t keep her shoes on and cried as if it was painful for her to look at the photographer. He managed to get one shot we decided would have to be good enough but he insisted we take a few of the bad ones too. He cheerily told us that one day, we’d all look at it and laugh. Something in my mommy being didn’t think so.

Fast forward to Spring 2006 – seven years post diagnosis – when I saw a message on a parent list-serv inviting parents to have their child photographed for an autism awareness project. Memories of that earlier photo shoot came to mind and I had doubts. But it was for a good cause, maybe miraculously we would get a good photo of her, and the photographer would come to our home. What did I have to lose?

From here, I’m going to hand you over to the photographer’s blog, where he recently recalled that session. We had a caregiver with her so I had decided to stay upstairs and let him do his thing. Almost nine years later, I learned the story behind the photo:

Out of the Confusion, The Essence of Carrie


Stay tuned for our next blog where you’ll learn more about the man behind the lens, Charlie Cotugno.

You can find Charlie at