Author, autism advocate John Elder Robison visits Landmark College
John Elder Robison – author, scholar, and advocate for individuals with autism – visited Landmark College’s campus on Tuesday, October 31, to meet and talk with students, faculty, staff, and LC’s president, Dr. Peter Eden. His half-day visit allowed him to learn about LC’s educational model and services for neurodiverse students (including high-functioning students with autism spectrum disorder) and tour the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training.
“To have someone with the stature of John Elder Robison not only makes us proud but enriches an already world-class educational model,” said Dr. Eden, who led Robison on a tour of campus. “The work he has done for those with ASD encourages and emboldens neurodiverse individuals to achieve their dreams. His visit assists LC’s efforts to transform the public’s perception about neurodiverse individuals and the educational mission of this unique, dedicated model based on strengths, not deficits.”
The LC community collectively read Robison’s memoir, Look Me in the Eye, in 2013 as its first LD Book Club selection. His other books include Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening and Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives.
During Robison’s visit – which coincided with Halloween – he met with members of the College’s social pragmatics services team, including director Andy Donahue and assistant director Austin Hunt; students with ASD; and members of the faculty and administration.
Robison discussed his early designation as a “problem child” and the social and academic struggles he faced due to his undiagnosed ASD. He worked through those challenges, however, and has led an eclectic career that has included stints as a designer of special effects guitars for the rock band KISS; an engineer with a major toy and game company; neurodiversity scholar-in-residence at the College of William and Mary; and work with other institutes and universities, including the World Health Organization’s Karolinska Institute and Bay Path University. Robison’s love of cars led him to create a successful repair and customization shop in Springfield, Mass., that specializes in luxury vehicles including Mercedes, BMW, Rolls Royce, and Jaguar.
Robison also discussed his advisory roles on a number of boards and committees, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as a voice for neurodiverse individuals.