Friday, November 7, 2014

Jerry Seinfeld "I'm on the Autism Spectrum"

Jerry Seinfeld: I'm on the autism 'spectrum'

Jerry Seinfeld is known for joking around, but he's serious when he's talking about

autism. NBC's Brian Williams interviewed the comedian on Thursday's Nightly

News, calling Seinfeld "the most restless man in comedy" as they talked about

Seinfeld's popular Web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

As part of the chat, the topic turned to Seinfeld and what makes him tick, about his love

for comedy and about still doing stand-up after all these years.

"Yeah. And this gets to a larger life perspective," says Seinfeld. "If you're more

interested in what you have achieved or what your financial position enables you to do

than that thing that got those things, you're screwed — in my opinion, you're screwed.

Williams notes that at 60, Seinfeld is still "figuring out who he is. For example: in recent

years as he's learned about autism spectrum disorders, he sees it in himself."

Seinfeld confirms that, saying, "I think, on a very drawn-out scale, I think I'm on the

spectrum." Why? What are the markers?" asks Williams.

"You know, never paying attention to the right things," says Seinfeld. "Basic social

engagement is really a struggle."

Seinfeld goes on to explain, "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."

Although most people with autism spectrum disorders have problems with social,

emotional and communication skills, these issues can vary widely, as Seinfeld

suggests. Some people on the autism spectrum may feel uncomfortable socializing, but

excel in math and science careers. Others on the spectrum may not speak or make any

eye contact at all, and shun human touch.

People with autism may repeat certain behaviors and avoid changes in their daily

activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people

with autism also have different ways of learning, paying attention or reacting.

Contributing: Liz Szabo

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