Saturday, November 8, 2014

Is he or isn't he?

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. 



  1. Thank you for this. I'm so tired of people with doom and gloom attitudes in this community it's like the person who is less severe is treated like the red headed step child

  2. Wait I forgot to add who gives a flying fig what Jerry thinks he is? I mean really?

  3. I don't think you're wrong. My ASD son is 17, non-verbal, has intellectual disabilities, and epilepsy. I get tired of the attacking from within our own community. He's attacked for self-diagnosis. Many people suspect their diagnosis before it's official. I'm attacked for saying that my son's autism is more than a "different operating system". If I say it's not a gift, but my son is somehow that's disrespecting others who are high functioning. And similarly, they're attacked for feeling that way by parents and others who are more like my son. Guess what, it's a huge spectrum, with many ways we're affected. Diversity of opinion should be as respected as diversity of functioning -- too often it isn't. I think what needs to happen is that we ALL need to talk about the different ways it affects others when we try to build acceptance. Yes, I would like for people like my son to have some media time. They as cool or interesting as the kid who draws the skyline. I get that. But responsibility is not ignoring either extremes of the spectrum. If we can't be accepting, how can we expect others to be?

  4. I think you may be the most practical level headed person on the internet. I love reading your posts, I swear it is like you put my thoughts and feelings into words.

  5. It looks like my earlier longer comment didn't post. To sum up, there's a reason that I only follow a few wonderful Autism bloggers rather than partake in the whole community. Thank you for another great post.

    I enjoy John Elder Robison's perspective on this as well.

  6. Thank you. I am still scratching my heading wondering why anyone has an issue with this as well. I saw way too many viscous comments and judgement beyond. We are supposed to be a community that loathes judgement yet there it was. And I was unaware there was a competition over my kid is more autistic than your kid. This is the one blog I'll continue reading for now. Thank you again.

  7. me an my friend are not happy about this sad day yadday autism we don't think he dose it people like him that make it hard for me an my friends who struggle it the self dx supper mild who think it fun an cool to have it .i like jerry stinfield to spend a day with me an my friend or wish I could do a freaky Friday with him let him be me for a day then see if he thinks it cool an stuff he wouldn't last 10 min .how has he gone through life with all he can do an handle crowds an sencorey stuff ugg please just be quite

  8. Albert Einstein had autism. Why are people not upset over that? One of the greatest minds had autism. At the end of the day autism has no color, religion, culture, creed, gender, etc It is autism. People struggle to understand the why when they need to just accept it is there and deal with it. I am a huge fan of Jerry Seinfeld and if anyone is they can go back to the old shows and see it more clearly. Much of his personal quirks were what made the show what it was. Everything had to be exactly where he left it. If one thing was moved he noticed it. He consumed cereal and had shelves of it in the cupboards. His food, furniture, clothes, everything had to be just so. His social awkwardness was legend. He would let one small thing consume his entire day. He learned to cope is what it was. Autism is front and center now because the community is shouting from the rooftops to figure this out to the researchers and those that are large and in charge. Imagine struggling with autism as a child and not knowing why you had all the issues you did? All I know is that the community needs to go back and look up the definition of community and support.

  9. Albert Einstine was autistic he didn't speak till 4 there are some who have cross over an do well it just when some self dx that jake it look like everyone has it know to those who do not no autism well

  10. Thank you! This is why I follow you, your open mindedness is refreshing.
    My kiddo just turned 19 so we've been on this journey for awhile. I remember a few years ago when I realized I was probably on the spectrum myself. I've always been called odd, quirky, weird and just plain freaky. I haven't been tested and I have no intention of doing so. I will say that when I was is my 20's I went through therapy to help me deal with my inability to go out in public alone.I had a very good friend who helped me with the exercises and I made some progress.
    Being high functioning has its own drawbacks, though everyone has their own autistic experience and I know that kids on the other end of the scale have a much harder road to travel and I feel for their families. My Dad's new wife who is eighty years old goes on a mini-rant every time I see her about my son being too smart to be autistic and she will never believe he is and she's told everyone she knows that I'm wrong. I'm wrong. Not the myriad of doctors and therapists who tested him for months and diagnosed him. Just me.
    I know he's extremely intelligent and is writing a book, I also know he's still in 9th grade and like your kiddo, can barely write his name. His teachers told me to let it go, he types with no problems and has practiced his own signature for hours on end so now that he's an adult he can sign his own name in under 2 minutes, I just fill in the forms for him.
    Sorry for the ramble but you're right, Jerry's form of comedy is observational and I think it can give some insight into the mind of the autistic who find everyday things baffling! I've had friends tell me I should do stand-up, the problem is that they laugh at things I say that I don't think are funny at all. I'm being completely serious. But when I try to tell a joke NOBODY laughs! But my son and I laugh at the same things and get each others jokes, that's what really matters!

  11. My son is diagnosed, He can handle crowds and sensory issues. So I'm sorry to burst your bubble but you sre wrong. It's a spectrum. Everyone is different, just like people not on the spectrum. Regardless weather he has autism or not, you actually are wrong sorry

    1. they really widen the asd I see kids dx that to me an my friends an there parents you wouldn't even no I was so bad as a child some though I was MR an my parents had to do a it to get me help when litte back then an they were still blaming the mom some told them to put me a way I never advance beyond a child an stuff I still have severe sencorey Iusse an trouble with crowds I learn copping skill an learn what to advioc if possible to not have a meltdown but it hard the word is unperbleable an I never no when I'm out what sencorey or awull noise could go off like fire alarm an so on

  12. I have true high funct autism plus nf1 disease among other things.and am not a movie star or bill gates this fraud seinfeld needs to shut up . I hate having autism no friend no job bearly a diploma and more.

  13. jerry stinfield just say he not on the asd just that he could relate

  14. I am an autistic flutist in high school band. I get attacked because people think I am an impostor.