Does Neurodiversity Whitewash Autism?

There's a new book on neurodiversity - Neurotribes by Steve Silberman. And there's another one coming in a few months-In A Different Key from John Donvan and Caren Zucker. The books are putting neurodiversity in the news, and some say we're whitewashing the true nature of autism. As an autistic adult with an autistic son, I offer a dissenting view and inside perspective

Knowledge Is Power, in Community and Alone

We're just beginning to realize the vital importance of community among people with autism and other neurodiverse conditions. Here's why it matters and what you can do to take part.

Forgiveness and the Meaning of Memorial Day

We can forgive those who harm us, but we can't forgive those who kill us.

April is Autism Awareness / Acceptance Month

People say April is Autism Month, which implies celebration. Yet autism is a disability, isn't it? So what do people celebrate this month, and why? Some thoughts from autistic author John Elder Robison

Neurodiversity: What Does It Mean for 2015?

I write and speak a lot about what neurodiversity is, and what it means for society and for individuals and families. My thinking has evolved over the years in conversation with colleagues and friends in the advocacy, scientific, and higher education communities. Here's a new essay I've written to celebrate Autism Acceptance 2015

High Functioning Aspies Don't Know What Real Autism Is

Attacking autistic self advocates, and suggesting that the "only real autism" is the kind that calls for round-the-clock care is wrong, destructive, and frankly insulting. Better we join together and work toward a tomorrow that's better for all of us, by pooling our shared wisdom. Autistic people and autism parents are not natural born enemies. It only seems that way.

Recognizing Autism and Emotion in Brain Scans

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are on the cusp of reading minds, as they use a sophisticated MRI scanner to read and recognize emotions in subject's minds with striking accuracy. Even more significantly, they separate autistic from non-autistic subjects with 97% accuracy with nothing more than a few minutes in a scanner.

Jerry Seinfeld and Autism

What does it mean, that Jerry Seinfeld speculates that he may be on the autism spectrum? His words generated a wide range of response, some welcoming and some very angry. I offer my own thoughts on the matter here

What Does It Mean When I Say, "I'm Autistic?"

More and more, the words I'm autistic signify pride in neurodiversity, and membership in a previously unrecognized but substantial community. It's not to be taken lightly.

Religion and Autism, are they together or apart?

What's the connection between religion and autism? Why might today's autistics reject the church even as our ancestors may well have been church leaders?

Is Early Autism Intervention About to Become Too Early?

Is the potential for early intervention becoming "too early" for a truly informed decision on the nature and purpose of the therapy?

Serial Killers, Autism, and Mass Murder - Once Again

The Washington Post published an inflammatory article that suggested a connection between autism, head injury, mass murder, and serial killing. Autistic author John Elder Robison questions the validity of the arguments in the Post and offers his own perspective

Autism - The Real Meaning of 1 in 68

What do the latest autism statistics really mean? Are they evidence of an epidemic, or signs of an unrecognized community that's finally coming into its own? Autistic author John Elder Robison shares his thoughts on autism's place in the world, and autistic humanity's role in society. Take a read, and tell us what you think.

Organic Education: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Modern humans thrive on the caveman diets of our ancestors, even as our children fail on today's diet of schooling. I think it's time to return education to it's hands-on roots, as we're doing in progressive special ed programs right now. Once again, neurodiverse people are leading the way!

Letting Go of Asperger's—Not So Fast!

Thoughts on changes to the autism spectrum definition, the place of Asperger's, the value of DSM5, and Hanna Rosin's recent Atlantic piece, "Letting Go of Asperger's."

The Autism Spectrum: Has It Really Changed?

With all the talk of an expanded autism spectrum, and the changes in DSM5 I decided to go back to the original papers of Hans Asperger and Leo Kanner. How much has really changed in the presentation of autism, in the past 70 years? Less that you might think...

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity—the idea that conditions like autism and ADHD are natural parts of humanity and not diseases to be cured—is a contentious topic. In this essay I offer what neurodiversity means to me—an adult with autism—and ask what it means for you.

Autism and Asperger's: Two Separate Conditions, or Not?

Are "traditional" autism and Asperger's two distinct conditions, as depicted in DSM IV? Or are they points on a curve, and properly combined into the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) of DSM5? I explain and translate recent studies that shed light on the question.

Autism and Porn: A Problem No One Talks About

Are young adult males with autism more vulnerable to the lure of illegal pornography? I explore the reasons this might be true, and what we can do about it

Autism, Special Needs, and the Quest to Find a Job

How I am opening a vocational school to teach essential job skills to youth with autism and other differences.

Where Do We Stand in the "War on Autism?"

Where have we been, and where are we going, with the billion dollars we've spent on the so-called Combating Autism Act. Read my views, and offer your response . . .

Autism Prevalence: Can It Be 1 in 50?

What does the latest autism prevalence report mean to us? What now?

Adam Lanza and Look Me in the Eye

Was there a connection between my book Look Me in the Eye, Adam Lanza, and his horrific murders?

How Much Asperger's Is Really Face or Emotion Blindness?

Prosopagnosia (face blindness) and Alexithymia (blindness to emotions) are both more common than autism. Are they related? Are some people who identify as Asperger's actually better described by one or both of those disorders? Are they conditions independent, or interconnected?

Ignorance, Autism, and the Things People Say

What are some of the most aggravating things ordinary people say to folks on the autism spectrum. Where are they coming from? Are they dumb, smart, mean, clever, misguided, or is it all just us? It's time to open a dialogue...

What Have We Done For the Autism Community Lately?

What have we done for the autism community? Angry parents direct that question at the IACC, the CDC, NIH and Autism Speaks every day. They say we’ve spent hundreds of millions in research, and talked about all our great accomplishments in research, yet the lives of the autistic people around them are not one bit better. How come?

Social Communication Disorder—is it "Autism Lite?"

The APA has created a new thing: Social Communication Disorder. Is it part of the autism spectrum, off to the side, or on its own. Thoughts on a new definition, and where it fits in the wider world

The IACC weighs in on Autism and Violence

My earlier post on autism and mass murder generated a lot of discussion. This statement from the IACC offers some references for those who want to know more.

Asperger’s, Autism, and Mass Murder

News reports claim the Sandy Hook killer had Asperger's. If true, was that really relevant, or does the statement just stir public opinion against people on the autism spectrum? Some thoughts on understanding.

Autistic People: Victims or Victimizers? Both? Or Neither?

A recent article depicted siblings of autistic people as "autism's invisible victims." I challenge that way of thinking in this article.