Jerry Seinfeld: I'm on Autism Spectrum

'Basic social engagement is really a struggle'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2014 6:48 AM CST
Jerry Seinfeld: I'm on Autism Spectrum
Jerry Seinfeld in an Oct. 19 photo.   (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Jerry Seinfeld is making headlines for an interview with Brian Williams of NBC in which he says he thinks he's at least mildly autistic. "I think, on a very drawn-out scale, I think I'm on the spectrum," he says. Williams presses him for details, recounts USA Today, and the comedian elaborates:

  • "You know, never paying attention to the right things. Basic social engagement is really a struggle."
  • "I'm very literal. When people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don't know what they're saying. But I don't see it as dysfunctional. I just think of it as an alternate mindset."

This appears to be a self-diagnosis, and a follow-up story at NBC quotes the president of the National Autism Association who worries that it might oversimplify the disorder. But the president of the Autistic Advocacy Network takes a different view: "Think about what this does for a closeted autistic person who goes into the workplace knowing that their co-workers have just seen somebody they know, respect, and have a positive opinion of, like Jerry Seinfeld, identify in this way—it’s a valuable and important step in building a greater tolerance for autism." (Read more Jerry Seinfeld stories.)

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