The new face of autism is a man who made his fame and fortune from a special brand of humor, exposing the most complex nuances of social human behavior. His jokes, which are spot on, sometime focus on the smallest details of verbal expression.
Autism has been in vogue lately. There are documentary films, leading characters in television series. The autistic person is special. An original type. As Seinfeld explained, in his case it doesn’t involve a problem with functioning, but rather “thinking in a different way.” In truth, if that’s what it is, who wouldn’t want to be a little autistic?
But Seinfeld’s nonchalant self-diagnosis is a joke of sorts at the expense of my son, Yotam. While Seinfeld preened with a little autism on television, I sat with Yotam in our living room, together with a social worker. Yotam is 19, but incapable of being responsible for himself. The social worker had come to talk to him as part of the process of having his mother and me appointed his legal guardians.
Yotami will be showing an exhibition of his paintings in a month. On good days, he is happy with his life and accomplishes things. When he watches “Seinfeld,” it doesn’t make him laugh. Not even a little.
I wouldn’t change him for any other kid on earth. But for his sake, I would change his future if I could.