11/16/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Denis Leary, Neither Stupid nor Lazy

Dear Mr. Leary,

I will not read your book. Nor will I excuse your rude, insulting, belittling comments about autism. As the founder of The Miracle Project, portrayed in the Emmy Award winning documentary, Autism: The Musical, and as the mother of a child with autism, I am appalled by the insensitivity of your comments. There are so many children whose families deal with school systems, legal systems not to mention family members who ignorantly blame bad parenting for reasons kids "can't compete academically."

Mr. Leary, autism is a neurological disorder that impacts the brain's ability to process information the same way that you or I may do. The outward appearance may be "stupid" or "lazy," but I wonder how would you appear if your brain was constantly overwhelmed with sensory stimulus and people were calling YOU stupid and lazy!!

The fact that you actually have dear friends who have a child with autism to me only deepens the wounds that you have inflicted. Surely you have witnessed their struggles, their worries for their child's future, and their pain. Surely as a friend, you can empathize with what they are going through. You are such a gifted, talented actor, why would you find the need to accost the most vulnerable of our society to sell books?

I truly do not understand. Not because I am stupid or lazy, but because I chose to live with an open head and heart. I can't imagine choosing to judge a child or a parent in such a fashion. I chose to live my life in Miracle Minded fashion, thereby asking only how my life and work can be of benefit to my friends, neighbors, and others whose life I can affect.

Today, when I read the following that the "bulk of your chapter deals with men who are either self diagnosing themselves to explain their failed careers and troublesome progeny..." is equally as offensive.

In touring the country in film festivals showing Autism: The Musical, I met many many adults who in their 40's and 50's were finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of High Functioning Autism. Many of these adults had been previously diagnosed with psychosis, depression, could not maintain jobs or relationships and some who had been suicidal, Upon learning about their diagnoses, many from reading the excellent books written by autism expert Stephen Shore their entire lives were changed. By understanding and "self diagnosing" and viewing themselves through the prism of autism, they were able to finally feel part of this world.

I implore you, Mr. Leary. to watch the film, Autism:the Musical. I Especially the scene when, my student, Wyatt Isaacs parents visit an attorney who informs them that their son (who is a brilliant, sensitive, extraordinary soul) is deemed to have low cognitive ability -- or in your words to be "moronic." As a parent yourself, Denis, please feel that moment.

If you wish to sell books, Mr. Leary, please find humorous ways to enjoy people who are different ... like you... like me... like all of us.

There is enough criticism, negativity, and insensitivity in this world than to add one more item to our book shelves. The choice to be Miracle Minded is just that... a choice, and one that would increase the quality of your life and those whose lives you can affect by means of your celebrity.

Respectfully written by

Elaine Hall
Coach E
Founder/Director The Miracle Project