Dan Olmsted's Monthly Radio Interview
Kim Stagliano: Hosed by Denis Leary

"Real" Firefighter Writes to Denis Leary

FdnyManaging Editor's Note:  The author of this letter is a real firefighter. Timothy Dwyer spent sixteen years with FDNY before leaving his career to become full time caregiver for his son who has autism.

October 15, 2008

Denis Leary
The Leary Firefighter Foundation
594 Broadway, Suite 409
New York, NY 10012


Since you make your living off the backs of Firefighters, many of whom like myself have a child with autism which you have now chosen to make fun of, how about you be a man and come to Long Island and see my son’s school.  Observe first hand my fat, lazy, stupid child suffering from autism.   I bet you wouldn’t last 10 seconds with my son or on the fire floor.   You wish you could walk in my shoes.  I am a founding parent of the ELIJA School for children with autism spectrum disorders in Levittown, NY and a 20 year NYPD/FDNY veteran.

There are many firefighters struggling with autism and all your foundation does is buy tools for the city, just more shit for them to carry. You do nothing for Firefighter’s real problems.  So come on out, get your head out your ass and pry open that fat wallet of yours that was filled thanks to the real characters of the FDNY. 

We are a struggling school and your “humor” doesn’t help our cause.  The only people who can make fun of autism are those whose lives are consumed by it.  Between autism and fires, you got nothing.  Last year we made $25K on our Guns and Hoses Comedy Event.  This year we need to make $50K to survive.  See what you can do brother.

Timothy P. Dwyer
Retired FDNY

P.S. Enclosed please find the DVD of Rescue Me, the complete first season. It was going to be part of a fundraising basket, but is now useless to us.  Consider it a donation to your foundation.  Go buy some more toys for the city.  They lose more money in a day that what it costs us to run our school for a year.  Thanks man.



Dear Denis,
May you have a child or grandchild with autism. There is a reason they call actors players. Just remember,thats what you are, not an expert. Just a player.

sharon kindig

It does nothing for your career to be hateful and in the end Mr. Leary, is this what you want to be known for when you die? Is this how you wish to be remembered because they won't remember you for the rest of it, the stuff you believe is the good you think you're doing,they'll remember what moronic insights you shared in your printed word.


I would like to Thanks Denis for all of his fantastic Gritty Comedy. It's so wonderful that folks are willing to honor him with their time and effort. I know how long it takes to create and maintain a website and damn, if he hasn't gotten the hackles up on some people enough to separate them from own family for a goodly amount of time. That's right Denis keep those Jet Pack Moms and Dads workin, because their children will be just as hateful and humorless as themselves. Unfortunately the seriousness of his quips go right over the heads of the guilty. How many more non-autistic children will be diagnosed and drugged before the parents discover they just should have taken birth control? Some folks just shouldn't procreate and that's the point he is making. Truly autistic children should be cared for and truly loved. It is the Bad parenting seems to be rampant in our country and isn't it great to have an excuse for our ill mannered progeny. Real kids that have autism won't have better treatments or care just because every kid in town has behavioral problems. We need parents that care not ones that pick their kids up from school so they make it to the Therapist on time. I hope Denis has a good run on his books because the only people listening are his fans and are intelligent enough to decide what they want to take away from it.


I was unable to post last time I tried. Maybe I'll have more success this time. Here's what I tried to post:

No, I don't have a child with autism and don't work with them. Maybe I wasn't very clear. If I did have a child with genuine autism I would want the best of treatment in order to have as much of a chance for recovery as possible. I wouldn't want people to pick on that child and I would be bothered by misunderstandings.
When I mentioned that the term is "thrown about" I meant all that supposed autistic spectrum stuff. I've read both DSM and anecdotal stuff and while some of it is a bit of a cause for concern it seems pretty ridiculous to pathologize most of this stuff. It seems that pretty much any behavior is considered autistic- wanting to use proper grammar, for example, or noticing weird stuff. I just caught myself messing around with my fingers. By some shrinks' standards that would be considered an autistic behavior. Why should people feel self-conscious about taking a strong interest, an "obsession" almost, in one thing? We pathologize dedication to pursuits that aren't directly social and then we wonder why our country isn't as competitive as it used to be in certain areas. Cost may be one reason for outsourcing, but maybe another reason is that those people actually have real skills because they're not wasting time developing what those dumbing-down shrinks see as "social skills." Bill Gates and Bob Dylan would have been more successful in life if they'd had "intervention" tax-dollar-consuming "therapy" sessions to help them develop "social skills," right? It bothers me that kids who are just trying to live their lives have adults going up to them and telling them that they have a genetic deficiency that causes them to stink at basic existence. My heart goes out to children who have to go through this and I wish we as a society would let people be people instead of diagnosing them with subjective deficiencies.
I'm not saying that autism itself doesn't exist, that your child doesn't have autism, or anything. I respect the efforts that are made for children with genuine autism. I also respect that parents have to go out of their way to protect those children from physical danger and/or predators.
For the record, I'm not a fan of Denis Leary and I don't like his crude language. I've also read the chapter since the last time I posted and I don't think he's a very talented author. However, I do agree that the "autism" thing is way out of hand, as is disorder labeling in general.


Leary’s chapter on autism can be read here:


According to dr.leary:

“A truly au­tistic child may be able to reproduce music he or she hears with perfect pitch-entire classical pieces, the rock opera Tommy, the latest hit Broad­way musical-over and over again. OR tell you instantly upon hearing what your birthday is-what day it has fallen on every year for the last four decades. What the weather was on those days. Who the president was at the time. What the number one song on the radio was just before singing it note for note and word for word. THAT'S an autistic child.”

dr. leary also thinks John Robison is a fraud:

“I recently heard an interview with the brother of acclaimed author Au­gusten Burroughs.........I heard the guy on the radio and believe me, folks, long-winded ain't the least of it. This guy had his head so far up inside his own ass he could be interviewed about his memoir and perform his own colonoscopy at the same time. Odd? Yeah-you became a roadie for a rock band that dresses up in superhero costumes and wears twenty-seven pounds of makeup? Where and when is that considered normal. AND you made money at it? Sorry, pal. You don't get to make guitars blow up for a living and then stake a claim as some kind of social retard. Lucky? Yes. Rain Man? No. Not on my planet.”

You heard that folks. It’s his planet so p*ss off. He'll decide who has genuine autism.


In Response to "Jennifer" (Nov. 2008): I hope you are not a parent of a child with Autism or working with these children. Suggesting that Denis Leary has any real understanding or relevant opinion on Autism is baffling to me. By the way, I AM an expert on Autism. I have researched probably more than the neurologists and certainly more than Mr. Leary, and I live it every day. I can assure you there is no "throwing around" of a diagnosis. It would be helpful for you to learn how autism is diagnosed and spend time with a room full of autistic people so you can see that it is very real indeed. Until you do that, have the nerve to suggest your crap to a parent of a child with autism. We are so tired of the ignorance like yours. What is a real problem epidemic is the ignorance and bigotry spread about by people like you and Leary.


He clarified that he respected parents of kids with real autism. Why is that not enough? Maybe his wording was poor, but he kind of had a point. I don't know about the "moron" thing or the "bad parenting" thing, but the term "autism" is being thrown around these days. How would you like to be told that you were a genetic social inferior because you read books about pi for fun and made some social flubs? This also does a disservice to those with real autism, as the term will be taken less seriously for being thrown about and it will be seen as simply an excuse for behavior when a child actually has autism. I'm sorry that some of your feelings were hurt, but I don't think he was talking about your children, or at least not most of them. Please don't portray people as being insensitive for suggesting that not every kid labeled with a handicap actually has one (although his wording was a bit rude).

Joanne Law

Your the moron. How dare you feel you have the right to make such an insensitive, ignorant remark? Is it because you study and regurgitate lines for the TV show your on that are written by someone else? How about I make a crack about Michael J. Fox and his diagnosis being a desperate attempt to reenergize his career? Or something more ignorant (closer to how you think) like, the Firefighters that died were "stupid, lazy junior moroons" that did not train enough to get out alive? How's it feel Denis? This is just the beginning of the backlash your ignorant, uninformed comments have started. These children have very vocal parents, trust me.

Julie (aka: Zach's mom)

Oh, I see Mr. Leary. We've got you ALL WRONG.

How silly of us! Oh - I get it, all we need to do is BUY YOUR BOOK and we'll completely understand what you MEANT. I don't know HOW we could have misunderstood you. Perhaps we were reading too much into it?? I mean, your language was so ambiguous, I can totally see how WE misinterpreted your intent.

Yeah, WE'RE nuts that way.

Barry Sarenson

Obviously, Olearly has never witnessed and autistic child having a melt down. He has not seen the pain and anguish we parents go through when our beloved child is in pain. Nor does he see the social isolation our children go through. All I can say is I used to be a fan of Oleary, why dont these uneducated actors stick to reading the lines that are fed to them, insted of writng book or making comments they have no knowledge of.


the best thing to do is never buy or watch anything to do with him.he is sick, so I forgive him .

Mary Martin

To the post from Michelle Guppy -- your comments were beautiful, and I deeply appeciate the thought, emotion, and care it took to write it. You made a positive and lasting impact on me. Thank you.
Thank you to ageofautism blog.
Thank you to Tim Dwyer.
Thank you to all whose comments have lifted me up during a hard time.
Thank you.I don't have anything more insightful to add above what the above thoughtful comments have, but I can really say Thank you. Thank you for fighting against the horrible "sound bites" of people like Dennis Leary, that can be so very dangerous, when I myself don't have enough brain juice left to give good enough support, at least today.

Dave from Texas

I don't know who this Denis Leary is but he is obviously STUPID!
My grandson John came into this world with Autism and will be two years old in a little over a week.
I love to spend time with John and see what ever progress he has made that week due to the 24/7 dedication,sacrafice and love his mom and dad give to John to help his world be a little better.
My heart and prayers go out to all you loving parents who love and care for an Autistic child.
May God bless you all.
I love you John.

Suzanne Reek

Tim I applaud you for your amazing letter. Last Tim, Maria and I hosted a Comedy Event Guns and Hoses to raise money for the Elilja School. I personally spoke to the Leary Foundation and asked if they would donate an item for our fundraiser. The answer I was given " We don't support Those kind of charities." Well Dennis we couldn't even get you to donate a crummy autographed photo last year. Put your money where your mouth is and step up to the plate and support children who don't have a voice to tell you off. If anyone out there buys this losers book you are only supporting a major loser. Stay tuned for our Autism fundraiser to be held in Port Washington on January 10th. I don't think that we will be enlisting the help of Leary the Loser!


Kevin, I'm one of those inattentive mothers who has plenty of time on my hands, so I'm sure I will soon stop by the bookstore and read the entire chapter. But in the meantime, tell me how such statements can possibly be taken out of context? It really doesn't matter what the rest of the chapter says, even if by some slight chance Leary might have something worthwhile to say. It doesn't erase the fact that in the QUOTED statements, he referred to "junior morons" and stupid lazy kids who don't really have autism. If he's not really referring to our kids in THOSE statements, please explain it to me.

Barbie Hines


"I will hand it to you, on the face of the remarks, I would be disappointed as well. But to take a few minutes to read the entire segment would do you all some good."

This is exactly what Denis Leary is counting on...a million people grabbing this book and reading it simply because of the controversy he has caused.

Not a chance in hell.

Barbie Hines

Denis Leary is an a**. It always amazes me when individuals with no education, training or experience with autism have such a strong opinion regarding our lives. Who cares about his opinion? It is quite literally worthless.

Had Enough

From Nov. Vanity Fair

VF: Another chapter is titled “Autism Shamautism.”

Leary: Which is my favorite chapter.

VF: I see vigilante autism woman Jenny McCarthy picketing your book tour.

Leary: Great. That would be really good for me. It will help sell more books.

see http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2008/11/wayne_leary200811
FROM today's Poughkeepsie Journal

An auction is under way to benefit The Leary Firefighters Foundation, Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids With Cancer and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Bidding ends today at 5 p.m. at www.wdst.com.

The idea for the auction came from "Rescue Me" co-star John Scurti, a part-time Woodstock resident.

The high bidder will receive dinner for four with members of the "Rescue Me" cast at Violette restaurant in Woodstock. The winner and their guests will also attend Helm's Midnight Ramble house concert - they will meet Helm - and the winner will receive autographed show memorabilia.

Denis Leary is co-creator and star of "Rescue Me" and founded The Leary Firefighters Foundation. Helm and radio personality Don Imus are longtime friends. The Imus ranch offers children who are sick an opportunity to experience an authentic ranch. Helm received treatment for throat cancer at Sloan Kettering.



I hope this note does not fall on deaf ears or is taken lightly in anyway. My husband and I are both members of the fire service and were taken back by the inconsiderate words of someone who apparently has no clue about what he is talking about. My nephew Taylor was born into this world a happy and healthy little boy. Not long after he became a toddler did we notice he was becoming withdrawn. He is not stupid nor is he lazy, he is just a young boy with mountains to climb. My sister spends hours on end helping him with his school work everyday, and I am proud to say he is on the honor role in a regular public school at grade level. He may be considered one of the higher functioning children with autism, but even if he wasn't his intelligence far exceeds Leary's. He should pray to God everyday he will never have to hear some arrogant moron like himself say such cruel things about a child he may father (I suggest he gets neutered). It's sad to think that anyone in our profession could actually find humor in the tragedy of others, that's not what I want to represent. I guess in a way I'm feeding his fire because he likes being called an a--hole, because it makes him money. Well he has got my vote!

Thanks for listening,


Talk about a bunch over overreacting people feeling sorry for themselves. We like the quote "1 out of 150". That also goes along with how many of you read the book...1 out of 150. Having read the chapter (not the entire book), I clearly saw the true meaning of the message. While poorly spoken, the lack of malice was obvious.

Self pity will get you nowhere.

I will hand it to you, on the face of the remarks, I would be disappointed as well. But to take a few minutes to read the entire segment would do you all some good.

Michelle M. Guppy

To Mr. Leary and all the others out there like him past, present, and future,

It's hard to find the time to reply to each and every attack against autism, our family, or our beloved son who is that "dumb-ass" kid you speak of ...

Especially since we know the words in reply might never reach you. But I suppose we do it anyway because it is, quite frankly, therapeutical - so we don't need to "throw money into the happy laps of shrinks"...

Writing these replies, (as many of us will do as yet another thing we do in defense of our kids and each other as parents) --- it releases those emotions we don't have time for with the 24/7 demands of autism.

For me, it makes me focus on the "good" in autism... in that without it in my life, I might be like you! Ignorantly using the latest headline, which justifiably is autism, to boost a career, book, or t.v. show - to get the publicity from the controversy created.

What a shallow existence that would have been for me, - and I personally thank you for reminding me of that when all those e-mails poured into the inbox's of us parents about those "fat, lazy, kids" who don't really have autism.

You made me take the luxury of a few moments to think about what an "inattentive mother" I really am... For once not focusing on the humility with which many of us try to do what we do for autism with; but for this one time perhaps, the pride in what my son has shown me I can do, - that I would not have otherwise known I could, had it not been for his autism.

For starters, I was part of the first ever rally for National Autism Awareness. I actually came out of my shell in Houston, TX, and traveled to, for me, another world which was Washington, D.C. I helped plan, helped gather the troops, and then walked with about 3,000 of those troops, those other "inattentive mothers", who borrowed money to go, begged for money to go, and then stole time away from caring for their child with autism - to make that trek, to make a statement, for the need for help for their precious children at home suffering, yes suffering, from autism.

Those "inattentive mothers" didn't just go back home from that event and wait for someone else to help their "deficient junior morons" as you portray them. They went back home and helped to further create that change that was needed in the way autism was portrayed and medically treated. They didn't wait until they became a famous celebrity with the money, power, and public influence to help. They found the money, they became powerful, and thus became the most influential generation of mothers around -- these "inattentive mothers".

Which leads us to the present "huge boom in autism".

You do have those 4 words correct -- Autism is now finally in the headlines where it belongs because of a huge boom in terms of both correct, and early, diagnosis, and awareness. And that started not with famous celebrities - but with us wee little "inattentive mothers" who despite not having money, power, or public influence, -- had something better: heart, soul, determination, and a fierce unconditional love for our children.

Something we had all along, but would have never known that had it not been for our "stupid and lazy" kids who brought the best out in us.

Those "stupid and lazy" kids that mind you, enter school before they are 3 years old, and are in school until age 21 most often, just so they can have the same chance at an independent future that their typical peers have.

To close, us "inattentive mothers" who are fortunate enough to have had their marriage survive the riptides of autism, couldn't have done it without the equal devotion of the fathers of our children.

My son's "competitive dad" didn't want just an "explanation for why his dumb-ass kid couldn't compete academically". He wanted a tool to help heal his "dumb-ass" kid from constant crying in pain, seizures, constant diarrhea, and an overwhelming sense of frustration from not being able to express with words what he needed, felt, or wanted.

Do you know, Mr. Leary, how frustrating it must be for a man to have enough tools in his garage to fix any possible problem with anything in his house --- but not a single tool to help heal his own flesh and blood -- his son?

No, you don't.

Do you know, Mr. Leary, what it is like to take your child to a doctor with very real medical symptoms and have them tell you, "it's just autism" and send you home with no treatment except for risperadol to help with the behavior issues caused by that very real underlying medical issue?

Would you want to go to the doctor for a broken arm and come home with a prescription for risperadol?

No, you wouldn't.

And you don't know what it was like for my husband to have to at one time work 2 jobs to pay for the costs of me finding those medical treatments not covered by insurance that so that our son could get the medical treatment he so desparately needed.

And do you know what it's like to be a parent knowing there are medical treatments out there for their child with autism, but because they are poor or on an eternal waiting list for help, they instead watch their child regress further into autism?

I hope you never do.

My "competitive dad" husband does have to compete. Against peers at work who have the ability to take promotions and travel, when he can't because of the burden it would put on the family with him being gone. Against the laughter and cheers of dads in the lunchroom bragging about their kids' latest homerun at T-Ball, while knowing his son was still trying to learn how to sit at a table and feed himself. Against typical friends we have in listening to their stories of teaching their sons to drive, while at nearly 15 years old, his son still needs help with basic self-care skills.

Do you know what the best thing about these "competitive dads" is?
It's that they lost the competition. Yes, in this case, losing is winning. They lost the backward philosophy that bigger is better, that its 'every man for himself', the 'I gotta take care of me' mentality of our world these days.

For so many of them, they stayed when they wanted to leave, and they traded in working hard with their child each day for victories at therapy; instead of helping them earn badges at Boy Scouts.

So anyway Mr. Leary, thank you for the free one-hour therapy session you have just given me the luxury of. I needed a pick-me-up. I needed to be reminded how much I would rather live in my "autism" world, than in your "crackerjack whack job " world where instead of using the staff at your disposal to research things better before you shoot off blanks, or the money in your bank account to actually help a cause instead of hurt it, - you choose to de-moralize those of us who make this world what it is...

I hope you are right, in that one day "yer kid is NOT autistic". I do hope that one day there will be access through every Pediatrician's office the treatments that help a child with autism to overcome the areas of that autism that limit their health, happiness, and independence.

But unil that, with remarks like yours, we are just left with dealing with people like you, who are "just stupid". "Or lazy." "Or both."

In your profession as an actor, success is measured by publicity, prestigue, profit, and an award of some sort: Golden Globe, Oscar, Emmy, etc. But don't think that because of that, it gives you the right to trample on the feelings of others. When you do that, you take away the purity and gold-standard of any of your successes, nominations, or awards or statues or globes you manage to earn; and that success, and that position, and those awards, that could have been used for good, becomes nothing more than Iron Disulfide.

Known to us common folk as "fool's gold".

Michelle M. Guppy
For my son who has autism...


I too think what Dennis said was horiffic. I feel he made a mistake and should ask for forgiveness. Has anyone here ever made a mistake that offended someone else? Were you forgiven? It's a terrible thing to say and all of the outrage is surely justified.
I'm hoping he will attempt to right this wrong.

Jim Schuler

Tim -- your words ring true, and your outrage is justified. Thank you.

Leary -- may you be caught in the backdraft of your backward thinking abd backpedaling.



Thank you for your words. They convey eveything that I am feeling as the mom of a beautiful 6 yr old boy with autism

My son regressed after receiving the MMR + chicken pox on his first birthday.....

Mr. Leary's comments and attempt to back pedal are unbelieveable to me.

I wish you the best in your all efforts.

Thank you for giving a voice to those who aren't able to defend themselves!

Laura mom to Rocco, 6


Great letter Tim! I wrote about this very topic today - Denis Leary's comment (book excerpt) was rude, uncalled for and ignorant. And Leary's response to the backlash he's receiving - please. Like I'm going to go buy his book and read it, so that "sound bite," will be put into context and be less offensive. No matter what he wrote before that, or after, will not change the fact that he called autistic children "stupid," and/or "lazy, " and that we, as parents of children with special needs are somehow inattentive. Tim, from a mom who cares for a son with many challenges, thank you for your letter, it was awesome.


Mr. Dwyer and company...

Thank you for speaking the truth. There is a website that is collecting letters to Denis, the foundation, and all his other business contacts possible. For those of you who want to join the other parents and compose a letter or short sentence or two on how inappropriate you feel his comments are, then please go to the website at www.denislearysucks.com.



Denis Leary Statement on Autism Comments

Last update: 6:43 p.m. EDT Oct. 15, 2008
NEW YORK, Oct 15, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Denis Leary issued the following statement today in response to comments about his new book, "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid."
The people who are criticizing the "Autism Schmautism" chapter in my new book "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid" clearly have not read it.
Or if they have, they missed the sections I thought made my feelings about autism very clear: that I not only support the current rational approaches to the diagnoses and treatment of real autism but have witnessed it firsthand while watching very dear old friends raise a functioning autistic child.
The point of the chapter is not that autism doesn't exist -- it obviously does -- and I have nothing but admiration and respect for parents dealing with the issue, including the ones I know.
The bulk of the chapter deals with grown men who are either self- diagnosing themselves with low-level offshoots of the disease or wishing they could as a way to explain their failed careers and troublesome progeny.
Of course, this entire misunderstanding can be easily avoided simply by doing one thing -- reading the book.
Taking one or two sentences out of context -- especially when it involves an entire chapter devoted to the subject -- is unfair and ill-advised.
Too often in this country, everything gets reduced to simple sound bites and very very often those sound bites are not truly representative of an author or artist's point of view.
Please give me the benefit of the doubt by reading all of what I wrote before attacking me.
SOURCE Denis Leary
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Shannon Primer

Thank you Mr. Dwyer for a well written letter.

My quote for the day is...

"The only people who can make fun of autism are those whose lives are consumed by it."

alison MacNeil

I don't know if I'm allowed to say this but I'm gonna try: Dennis Leary YOU ARE FUCKIN'LOSA! Now I am going to put my beautiful little boy to bed with his autism, wearing his beloved fireman coat which makes him feel safe and I'm going to hope that lung cancer catches up with you soon. Thankyou, I feel better

Ginger Taylor

Thank you Tim!

For your comments, your service to kids with autism and risking your life for strangers.

Leary's appeal has always been that he was a regular guy who didn't leave his roots, but gave back to those who we were working hard, serving others and struggling. It seems to me that he has become untethered from that now. How many Timothy Dwyers are out there sitting in their firehouses right now giving Leary the finger? Didn't he realize that he was stepping on 1 in 150 firefighters as well?

Perhaps an internet fundraising campaign for your school called, "Up Yours Denis Leary" or "Screw You Leary" or "Denis Leary is a Senior Moron" might be in order? People could protest Denis by supporting a real firefighter who is fighting for his autistic child and others.

again... thanks for all you do.


It is so disgusting. I'd love to introduce him to my 4.8 year
old "junior moron, dumb-ass, stupid & lazy" son who can read, do
basic math, can count by 10's, knows even/odd numbers...

And he can spend a day doing what this "inattentive mother" who wakes
before the crack of dawn to make his juice concoction with myraid of
supplements, his GFCF nutritious breakfast and lunch, take him to his
SDC for 5 hours and then take him 3 days a week to his NT preschool.
then home to do homework, make a nutritious GFCF dinner...Take him
weekly to his speech therapy... most months have at least one doctor
appointment. Most weeks have various playdates that I control, etc. all this while working 3 days a week for LOCAL 55 - the Oakland firefighters union that has been a part of me all my life since my father was a captain... and struggling to pay for all these services because insurance doesn't cover squat...

What an ignorant SOB!!! I never did like the chain smoking foul
mouthed freak, but now I REALLY loathe him!


Amen Mr. Dwyer -- well said!

Tammy Schuler

Thank You Mr Dwyer!!!!! My daughter is on the Autism Spectrum and I was floored when I read what Mr Leary had to say. My daughter is 13 and an A student this year because we finally found a school that clicks with her and her issues. I have fought long and hard to educate people on Autism and Bipolar in children.

It saddens me when people in the spotlight make light of Autism and other issues. They only need to walk a day in most parents lives to see we are far from inatentive and our children are far from "fat, lazy morons".

Mr Leary needs to take some of his earnings and support autism research or maybe spend the day in a school dedicated to children with Autism and spectrum disorders. Maybe that would enlighten Mr Leary the moron.

Denise Derusha

Thank you for your letter! It resonates with us. What is Denis but a Savage wannabe, to say such things! My husband is a combat vet who is very, very involved with our five children with autism. Everything we do revolves around recovering our precious family. In fact, the autism parents that I know are the most involved parents I have ever met. Denigrating our children and our families is a grave mistake, and an apology from you sooner rather than later would be a good idea for you, Mr. Leary.


Thank you for you Tim for your well-crafted letter (and for your service to the FDNY and autism communities). You said exactly what has been rolling around in my head all morning - that is when I had time to think about something else other than pickcing my son up from special preschool, carting him to regular preschool, talking to the OT, coordinating with his shadow, discussing kindergarten options for next year, and getting ready for my part-time job at night to pay for all of his therapy!!!


htbenz said:

Ironically, the Worcester, Massachusetts fire department ... IAFF local 1009... Denis Leary's hometown and the site of one of the worst warehouse fires in US history where sadly Denis Leary's cousin died...has raised close to $2000 for the Elias Tembenis Walk for Autism/ National autism Association's Helping Hands program to give grants to families with Autism. Let's not forget the wonderful work THEY have done:


One of the firefighter's nephews, Robert Williams is one of the 2 walkers doing the cross country journey.

ouch...that stings.

I noticed while on Leary's website a recepient of some fundraiser they are doing from Rescue Me- us Imus's ranch.

Boy, I'd sure like Deirdre Imus to educate him on autism.


Right on, Mr. Dwyer.

How funny would the super-lame Denis Leary find it if we started saying that the dead firefighters that inspired his personal charity died because they were too stupid and lazy to get out of the fire? The were morons and deserved to die. Hilarious, right loser?

We can do without your humorless attempts at humorous observations, Denis Leary.


I wish my son was only lazy and stupid and not autistic. However he isn't-he was diagnosed at 3 years old and now at 6 years is finally starting to make some progress after thousands of hours of ABA, floortime and alots of therapy. Ignorance isn't bliss and 1 out 150 children are diagnosed and 1 in 94 boys. This isn't a label that any parent wants to hear.

I am a fan of Mr Leary's and enjoy his Rescue me show on DVD. Now I don't know if I will watch it again.


Well, as a half-Irish Bostonian, formerly from NY, with an Irish-American father who had a very similar background to Leary (but what a difference in character), and as the parent of two children injured by vaccines at age one, I applaud Timothy Dwyer's frank, to-the-point retort to Dennis Leary. Someone had to say it and I hope we hear more from Mr. Dwyer.

I'm not sure this was a publicity stunt on Leary's part. It's too crazy. I think he has become a fat cat and is out of touch, but mostly I think that Leary is terrified and is having "Irish intuition". He's railing against fate.

There's a story my father brought back from WWII that illustrates this, having to do with some fellow NY Irish in his unit who he referred to as the "gutless wonders", who would viciously attack a seemingly fragile, shell-shocked member of the squad to the point that my dad had to defend him, but I'll save it for another time. The point of story is that certain bullies have an uncontrollable impulse to attack others who for whatever reason represent a fate which they sense is bearing down on them.

In short, a word to the wise for Leary: learn a bit about vaccines before your future grandchildren get them. And skip those flu shots yourself while you're at it.


Thank you!!!! I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach when I read that DL called my three-year old daughter a "junior moron" and "stupid" and "lazy." It brings tears to my eyes just re-typing it.

You know first hand that we would give our right arms if autism really were a faux-diagnosis. I spent the first four months of the diagnostic process screaming at doctors that autism was an over-diagnosed fad and that my daughter was just a late-bloomer. And then I watched her playing at a park with kids her age who were all talking to each other and to their parents. My daughter had always been a big talker, but I didn't recognize that it was just a script. She is almost four and has barely learned how to answer questions.

Anyway, I felt a lot better when I read your effective letter. I'm going to check back hoping that you get a positive response.


Ironically, the Worcester, Massachusetts fire department ... IAFF local 1009... Denis Leary's hometown and the site of one of the worst warehouse fires in US history where sadly Denis Leary's cousin died...has raised close to $2000 for the Elias Tembenis Walk for Autism/ National autism Association's Helping Hands program to give grants to families with Autism. Let's not forget the wonderful work THEY have done:


One of the firefighter's nephews, Robert Williams is one of the 2 walkers doing the cross country journey.

Dana Read

Tim, Thank you for standing up for all of our families. I wrote my own letter to Mr. Leary but clearly I think yours will have the most impact. God bless. - Dana


...oops, I meant to address my post to Timothy. Yikes. Look before you leap.


Denis, Very nice letter. If this doesn't prompt an apology -- and more -- nothing will. Good luck with your foundation and your son!


The comment Denis Leary made about "inattentive moms" and other people's "theories" about children watching too much TV just go to show that they obviously don't understand the symptoms of autism or even basic biology. Watching TV does not cause chronic inflammation of the brain and/or gut.

Katie Wright

Thank you Tim!!!!

Tim and Maria are amazing, incredible parents. Because of their efforts and sacrifice, Colin has made tremendous progress. Colin is an adorable, fun loing, super intelligent little guy, who once struggled with constant illnesses common among kids with regressive autism.

To label kids Colin, or my son Christian, "lazy and stupid" digusts me to no end. I think a bad "comedian" who must stoop to ridiculing severely disabled children is the one who is "lazy and stupid." Exploiting our kids to sell his horribly unfunny book marks a new low. Obviously manorexia, self-tanner abuse and constant cigarette smoking have affected Leary's brain.

Thank you Tim for standing up for our hard-working little heroes, kids like Colin.


Thanks Tim for speaking up against this kind of hate.

I hope more firefighters around the nation will give Mr. Leary a piece of their mind as you have done here so magnificently.

I called Leary's foundation this morning. I spoke to a lovely woman by the name of Angela. She informed me she had been getting phone calls all morning. She was sickened by his comments and apologized for them. She said a couple other things too. But, I don't want to get Angela in trouble with her employer.

She also informed me she worked in MRDD 25 years ago with kids with autism when it wasn't even called autism.

She wished me luck with my son and said some really nice and thoughtful things.

So, if you contact his foundation be nice to Angela.

She also said what Denis has done here is going to hurt this foundation. We are going to be punished for his words.

Good going Denis.

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