Born in Athens, Georgia in 1957, John soon found that he was “always a problem child — often sad, a loner, unable to make friends. The problem was, that Asperger’s Syndrome had not yet been “discovered” So rather that being helped, he ended up dropping out of high school and using his fascination and fixation on electronic to special effects guitars for KISS by the late 1970s. He later worked as an engineer with a major toy and game company for a decade.
By the late 1980s he was manager at a Boston electronics firm, he still had no idea how to fit into a corporate environment, and felt “sure [his] differences would mark [him] as a fraud, someone who should tossed in the street or worse.That fear drove him to quitting his job and fixing Mercedes and Land Rover cars in his driveway.
From that beginning, J E Robison Service grew into one of the most successful independent repair businesses in New England.
It was in this role that one of his clients introduced him to Asperger’s Syndrome, and the knowledge changed his life forever. “It took some time, and a lot of hard work, but the knowledge of how and why I am different transformed my life.”
His memoir Look Me in the Eye was published in 2007. and became an instant bestseller. Today it’s sold in over 20 editions in 70+ countries worldwide.
Since the success of his first book John Elder Robison has found his calling as a speaker and advocate for people with Asperger’s and other forms of autism. He is active on boards and committees of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, Autism Speaks, and a number of universities and colleges.
John is now the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William & Mary. He is a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee which makes the Strategic Plan for Autism for the US government. John is very active in his efforts to support and promote research leading to therapies or treatments that will improve the lives of people who live with autism in all its forms today.
John is also the author of Switched On; Be Different, Adventures of a free-range Aspergian; and Raising Cubby, a unique tale of parenting. John’s writing has been translated into sixteen languages and his work is sold in over 60 countries. His writing also appears in a number of magazines and he’s a regular blogger on Psychology Today.
John’s newest book – Switched On – tells the story of his participation in groundbreaking brain stimulation at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
In addition to his autism advocacy work, John is a lifelong car enthusiast, an avid hiker, a photographer, a music lover, and a world-class champion eater. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Photo Credit: The New York Times