The "Rescue Me" star's remarks about the developmental disorder have been widely quoted in the media and condemned by autism groups, but Leary said his words have been taken out of context.
"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," Leary said in a statement Wednesday. "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."
Leary said the point of the chapter is not to claim 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," he explained. "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."