Pretty Soon Everybody Will Have It

Kamran Nazeer's Send In The Idiots.

This isn’t as funny as it used to be. Every time I read about or hear of somebody talking about autism, I recognize some many of the behaviors as my own. First it was this rather amusing comparison between “eccentric” and autistic behaviors, then it was an interview on Fresh Air, and just this weekend I heard Kamran Nazeer talking about his new book that profiles himself and four other autistic adults.

Here’s the review from Publisher’s Weekly:

Nazeer, a successful British government policy adviser, was diagnosed early on with autism; he now seeks out the fate of four autistic classmates at his former New York City school. He first encountered the “idiots” (as one of them called the group) more than 20 years ago, in an unnamed private school that has subsequently closed. In addition to interviewing the former pupils, all but one (who committed suicide) enjoying varying degrees of success in the greater world, Nazeer also visits the school’s former director and special-needs teacher to learn how teaching autistic students has evolved. Considered a neurobiological disorder, autism largely confines a child to his or her own mental world. André, for example, living in Boston with his sister, became a competent computer researcher and manages to mediate the challenges of ordinary conversation through the use of a puppet. Randall, a courier in Chicago, demonstrates how early “parallel” play led to a satisfying love relationship (developing empathy is difficult for the autistic). Craig became an accomplished speechwriter until his awkward social skills derailed him, while Elizabeth immersed herself in playing the piano before withdrawing completely. Nazeer delicately interweaves his own story of being “cured” for an enlightening journey through the unreachable mind.

I’m split between wanting to read the book, or entirely ignore it.