John E. Robison: An Emerging Voice of Autism
John Robison admits to being a problem child. Often sad, lonely and unable to
make friends, he was shuffled from school to school and therapist to therapist,
all while his Asperger’s Syndrome went undiagnosed.
An electronics savant who saw wiring in patterns of color, Robison dropped out
of high school and started working with rock bands, eventually engineering the first flaming guitar for the band
Kiss. He later became well-known for his 2007 book, "Look Me in the Eye," a poignant memoir of being a socially isolated misfit who
didn’t discover his autism until he was nearly 40 years old.
His brother is author Augusten Burroughs of "Running With Scissors" fame.
It was Burroughs who encouraged his older brother to write down his life
story and Robison initially agreed for his own entertainment, never imagining
that he would go on to become a New York Times best selling author and public figure.
John E. Robison is yet another example of how individuals with autism continue
to shatter stereotypes and how they are contributing to our society. In fact,
Robison himself stated that the world needs those with his condition, which is
something to be "cherished and celebrated."
Robison’s book now has a teaching guide and is used in curriculum from middle school through college.
He often makes personal appearances at autism conferences, sometimes in tandem with his friend Temple
Grandin, and he is an adjunct professor in the department of Communication Sciences Disorders at The College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Robison’s second book, "Be Different," is completed and will be
released later next month. And on February 24, 2011, he will be featured on Discovery
Channel’s "Ingenious Minds," which should be a fascinating look into
his background and life story.
If you’re unfamiliar with the name of John Elder Robison, you will soon be
hearing much more of him as he continues to emerge as a powerful advocate for
those with Asperger’s and
other autism spectrum disorders.