I woke up yesterday and I'm scrolling through Twitter. I see it's a buzz about comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his autism connection. (If you don't know about this, go Google. There are about a thousand links to the story) My first thought was "Incoming!!! Prepared to be Seinfeld'd all day". (That's what we bloggers do with the latest hot story du jour by the way. Make it a verb. Last week I was Broccoli'd all over the place)
I slapped it up on my private page and warned other bloggers for the assault. As the autistic Kiddo I live with had no school, I was off line for a large part of the day. So I didn't see the boiling pot of emotion folks were having over this. I was a little startled when I was catching up but then I remembered this is the autism online community. We love to argue! OK, passionate discourse sounds nicer. I understood the divide but at the same time I was all "Meh." Of course I'm not "Meh" enough to not jot down a few thoughts on the subject.
"Self diagnosis?!? How can he diagnose himself? It's not real." I hear you. However, I know a lot of adults who found out they too were on the spectrum when their kids were getting screened. Through lots of research and time spent with it, they self identify. Some pursue a formal diagnosis but many do not. Why? Cause it's not something they need on paper because they currently don't need accommodations or therapies. And frankly a lot of us started diagnosing our own kids when we started the journey with them. We don't know the full story that led him to that point. He may of said it and it could have been edited out for all we know. Sound bites rule the media world. Who knows?
"If he is he's too high functioning" "High functioning" comes with its own set of problems. They aren't the ones we know in this house but it doesn't make them any less valid. I'm not about to tell him "Hey Jerry! You're not the right kind of autism." Aren't we kind of forgetting its a spectrum here? So yeah, if he is, he's still got legit problems. Assuming he actually has it, which we still don't know by the way. I'm not about tell somebody their feelings aren't important enough because my kid is more autistic than him ergo we have more autism street cred.
"He doesn't know my autism. Come to my house and see." Well really you
could say that to anyone. No one knows the autism you live with till you
do. I suspect you could come to my house and be equally surprised by
the autism that lives here. I bet if you had me over I would be too. That's how this spectrum rolls.
"How could he do stand up?" Easy. Scripts. All his humor is
observational. If you're familiar with his show or comedy, most of his
routines are rants. Long diatribes of his being baffled by many
different social situations. Tiny little details about convention that
made no sense to him. His opener line usually being "What's the deal
with...?" He took his over thinking and ran with it. He saw a platform on a stage. That's cool by me.
"It reinforces stereotypes about autism being only one way." Well I
can't argue with you there. Media loves them some feel good viral
stories of autistic kids doing cool things. They're usually all high
functioning too. Again, I'm not about to complain to the higher
functioning autistic for being noticed or heard by media. Yes, a little
more balance would be a good thing. I cringe every time someone sends me the story about the kid that can draw the entire NYC skyline. My kiddo can barely write his name, with help.
"He has a responsibility as a celebrity to..," To what? Be a medical
expert? Hell no, he's a freaking comedian. That's what he gets
paid to do. Remember when I said a few blog posts ago to "leave science
to science." That applies here. Not listen to the guy that created the
legend of the Soup Nazi. This is when we need to play our part in this and remember the source. Experience is valid but unless he went to medical school after his TV show wrapped, I'm not looking to this guy for information.
Then my favorite, people worried he was trying to be autistic to get
trendy. Holy shit. I had no idea Autism was en vogue this season. Dudes,
until a Kardashian claims it, I don't think we have to worry to much
about this. When that happens, I will join you in your outrage.
I'm sure some of
you will feel very compelled to leave tons of reasons why I am wrong.
Why he is wrong. That's fine by me. I had my say. Now you take your
turn. At the end of the day, I really don't give a crap if he is or not.
Selfish reasoning, I'm not his IEP advocate. I'm not making his sticker
chart or writing social stories for him. I'm sure Jerry will be just
fine. No matter what his neurology is. This isn't my up in arms moment and by next week a study will come out about how it's all the mother's or father's fault that their kid is autistic and this will be old news.