Curriculum Vitae — 2017
I am an autistic adult who takes a leadership role in government and education, in developing and articulating policy with respect to autistic individuals and the autistic community. Recognized expertise on behavioral, cultural, and medical issues surrounding autism, and the emerging field of neurodiversity. Co-founder of the first program to teach neurodiversity at a major American university.
- (2012-date) Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. Co-founder of the program and co-chair of the college’s neurodiversity working group. Teaches neurodiversity, leads student and faculty groups, and helps develop supportive campus culture. We also co-teach professional development autism/neurodiversity programs at the W&M Washington DC campus. Worked to introduce neurodiversity to other universities in the US and abroad. Teach understanding of autism, ADHD, dyslexia and other inborn neurological differences, and how that shapes individuals and society. Study and teach the effects of autism and neurodivergence on individuals.
- (2016-date) Visiting Professor of Practice within the School of Education, Human and Health Sciences, Bay Path University, Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Beginning a program to teach undergraduate and graduate students about autism, autism intervention, and neurodiversity and cultural issues.
- (2011-date) Member and subcommittee chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, reporting to Secretary, US Dept of Health and Human Services. The IACC is charged with developing the strategic plan for autism across medical research, treatment, education, disability accommodation, and other HHS policy. In that capacity I have addressed both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and I’ve served on various committees for both groups. For the past few years my areas of focus have been Question 1 – When should I be concerned? (Diagnosis and detection.) and adult identification and services – an overlooked area.
- (2012-2016) Member of the steering Committee – Autism ICF Core Sets project – World Health Organization based at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. ICF and ICD are the standard sets of medical definitions used by all UN member nations. Core Sets are now being developed better focus the ICF on particular conditions. The newly developed autism core set will be key to specifying how autism impacts human function in all areas. My principal area of interest in this work is developing ways to recognize exceptionality as well as disability in an ICF structure that was originally designed to recognize only diminishment of function from an idealized “normal.”
- (2014-date) Review board member, US Department of Defense autism research programs. Provide advice as to the merits of specific research programs and the general direction of DoD autism research.
- Consultant and speaker on autism, accommodation, disability policy, employment and education strategy. I work with schools, companies, health care organizations and other institutions that want to employ or serve people with autism more successfully.
- Co-Founder (with Northeast Center for Youth and Families), TCS Automotive Program, Springfield, Massachusetts (2013) – a special education high school that teaches automotive trades to at-risk teens in a complex where that work is performed professionally.
- Community Committee co-chair (2009-current) for the Institute for Autism Research (INSAR) and organizer of the IMFAR autism conference. My work with INSAR is mostly focused on improved engagement between the science and autism communities, and involvement of autistic people in shaping the direction and conduct of future research. Participant in the development of INSAR’s 2015 five year plan.
- Author – Look Me in the Eye (2007) a widely read memoir of life with Asperger’s (a form of autism); Be Different (2011) a prescriptive guide for developing the interpersonal and personal skills to succeed; and Raising Cubby (2013) a memoir of an autistic dad raising a son on the spectrum, and how we grow up together to find our places in the world. I am a contributor to many other technical books, papers and articles. My newest book, Switched On, tells the story of brain stimulation and transformative change. It was released in March 2016 from Random House.
- Founder, J E Robison Service Co (1987-date) – a repairer and restorer of high end motorcars, particularly BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls-Royce. J E Robison Service is one of the top-ranked Bosch Car Service Centers in the United States. We are proud to be the “shop of last resort” that resolves the problems that defeat everyone else. I also act as a consultant and expert for insurance companies and attorneys with respect to forensic exploration and elucidation of mechanical issues on motor vehicles, particularly with respect to Bosch systems.
- Co-founder and owner – Springfield Automotive Complex. I own and operate one of the largest multi-purpose automotive complexes in New England. We have 42 double deep service bays in 5 buildings on 3 acres of land. In our complex we have JE Robison Service (described above); sales of high end/collector cars; general car service; the backup emergency ambulance service for our city; transfer ambulance operations for Western Massachusetts; our city’s child safety seat program; an alignment shop; and a shop that provides auto detailing services.
- Founder, RMC Sound (1975-1982) – an audio engineering firm that specialized in signal processing and amplification for live performance.
- Advisory Board (2012-date) – Center for Secondary Education for Students with Autism – a major US Department of Education initiative aimed at improving outcomes of high school students with autism by identifying and applying the latest evidenced based practices.
- Member, various research, ethics and autism committees (2008-date) – US National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control.
- Member – Science Board, Autism Speaks (2009-2013). Autism Speaks is the largest private foundation dedicated to helping people on the autism spectrum. I helped guide the group’s research strategies and reviewed specific research proposals. I also worked with Autism Speaks affiliates engaged in health care lobbying and technology investment.
I am best known to the public for my writing. My books on life with autism have made bestseller lists on four continents. They are part of the curriculum in many schools and colleges. The autism community knows me as a vocal and enthusiastic advocate for research and policy to improve the lives of autistic people. In other circles I am recognized for my performance photography; the automobile company I founded; and the electronic music creations of my youth - including special effects for Pink Floyd’s sound company and custom guitars for the band KISS.
In peer-review journals I am the author of two articles on the evolution and history of the autism diagnosis (one on print, one in review as of Sept 16) and I am a co-author of the WHO ICF autism core sets papers.
In the automotive world, I am known as a senior technical expert for the Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Land Rover, Mercedes and Porsche clubs. I have written widely on technical issues with all those cars and about car care, restoration, and forensics in general.
You can find me online in these places:
My author website: www.johnrobison.com
My car company: www.robisonservice.com
My blogs: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/my-life-aspergers
The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the US Department of Health and Human Services
I am John.Robison (personal page) and JohnElderRobison (public figure page) on Facebook, and @johnrobison on Twitter. All of my posts are public-viewable and family-friendly.
- Author – Switched On, Random House (2016)
- Author - Look Me in the Eye, Crown/Random House (2007)
- Author - Be Different, Crown/Random House (2011)
- Author - Raising Cubby, Crown/Random House (2013)
- Contributor – Technology Tools for Students With Autism, Boser et al, Brookes (2013)
- Foreword – Science of Making Friends, Laugeson, Wiley (2013)
- Foreword – Unstuck and On Target – An Executive Function Curriculum, Werner, Brookes (2011)
- Contributor – Gravity Pulls You In, Anderson et al, (2010)
Switched On, Look Me in the Eye, Be Different, and Raising Cubby are published by Random House in the United States and Canada. Various other houses publish my work elsewhere in the world. A full list of foreign publishers is available on my website.
Partial list of recently published articles:
- Author - Kanner, Asperger, and Frankl - A third man at the genesis of the Autism diagnosis – Autism – Oct 2016
- Author – An Experimental Brain Therapy – NY Times, March 2016
- Author – TMS and the future – New Scientist – accepted for May 2016
- Co-author - Classification of Functioning and Impairment: The Development of ICF Core Sets for Autism Spectrum Disorder – Autism Research Journal (2014)
- Contributor– 2012, 2013, and 2014 updates to the Strategic Plan For Autism – US Dept of Health and Human Services
- Co-author – Statement on Autism and Violence – Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (2012)
- Author, Call Me Different Not Difficult, Students Who Challenge Us – Educational Leadership (2012)
- Author, Asperger’s and Violence – Psychology Today (2012)
- Author, Should Shows Like “The Bridge” Say Their Characters Have Asperger's, Parade Magazine (2013)
- Moderator – Olitsky endowed speaker series in Neurodiversity (2015)
Interviews and quotes in popular media:
- Essay on brain change and marriage – NY Times
- Interview with Terry Gross on NPR Fresh Air
- Interview on NPR Here and Now
- Interview and segment on PBS series David Eagleman The Brain
- NY Times – many quotes and citations
- Boston Globe
- People Magazine
- The Times of London
- Globe Mail of Canada
- Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
- The Today Show
- NBC News
- National Public Radio, The Diane Rehm Show
- National Public Radio, Talk of the Nation
- Sirius Doctor Radio
- CBS Sunday Morning
- CNN Morning News
- WNYC Public Radio – multiple interviews
- Discovery Science – Ingenious Minds
Partial list of Citations:
- Autism – the lived experience – Bowen, Foss, Disability Studies Quarterly, Fall 2008
- Evaluating Changes in the Prevalence of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) – Rice et al, Public Health Review, Vol 34, 2011
- Look Me in the Eye – Lopez-Cohen, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Volume 47, Issue 5, 2008
- Inside Asperger’s Looking Out – Hoopman, Jessica Kingsley, 2012
- Woof! Living Boldly – Silberman, Best Science Writing of 2012
- Empathy enhanced by magnetic stimulation of the brain – Geddes, New Scientist, Aug 2011
- Asperger Syndrome a Primer for Optometrists – Lemer, Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol 22, 2011
- Emerging from Emergence: Toward a Rethinking of the Recovery Story in Nine Contemporary Nonfiction Autism Narratives – Foss, Disability Studies Quarterly, Spring 2009
- Witnessing Autism: (In)communicability and the Peripheries of the Vertical Pronoun – Gottkin, Univ of Pennsylvania, 2009
Recent workshops and lectures (2016)
- SAP Autism at Work – Philadelphia conference – 2016
- Festival of Dangerous Ideas – invited talk – Sydney Opera House – 2016
- University of Adelaide, Australia – invited talk – 2016
- Autism Australia, Melbourne – invited talk on neurodiversity - 2016
- Hawaii Dept. of Education - Autism, Neurodiversity, Transition – January 2016
- IMFAR annual conference, Baltimore, Maryland – involving autistics in research design and oversight – invited session - 2016
- Grand Valley State College, Grand Rapids, Michigan – Neurodiversity - October 2015
- North Dakota State Autism Conference – Neurodiversity – September 2015
- Autism Canada / Asperger Manitoba – Neurodiversity – September 15
- College of William & Mary – Neurodiversity
- South Asia Autism Conference, Delhi, India, February 2015
- Autism Montreal, Montreal, Canada, March 2015
- Autism in Families, LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Apr 2015
- AHA Annual Conference, Long Island, New York, April 2015
- IMFAR Autism Conference, Salt Lake City, Nevada, May 2015
- Connecticut College, spring 2015
- Florida Atlantic University, spring 2015 and spring 2016
- Autism Asperger Association of Long Island, spring 2015
- Baltimore County Board of Education – June 2015
- Clarkson University – August 2015
Partial list of places I have spoken:
- IMFAR – Keynote panelist – May 2016 and May 2015
- IMFAR - Autism research ethics panel - May 2014
- Harvard Medical School – continuing ed in Psychiatry – November 2014
- Mt Sinai School of Medicine – Seaver Autism Center – November 2014
- University of Vermont Summer Autism Program – June 2014
- Baystate Health Systems Annual Physicians event – Oct 2015
- Duke University – Invited Autism Lecture – Oct 2014
- AdWeek – Neurodiversity in Creativity – Oct 2014
- Annual Autism Awareness Lecture, US National Institutes of Health (2013)
- Annual Autism Talk, US Centers for Disease Control (2012)
- Keynote and workshop speaker, Asia Pacific Autism Conference, Adelaide, Australia (2013)
- Invited to deliver the National Biography Award Lecture, State Library, Sydney, Australia (2013)
- Workshops, SAAIF Autism conference, Victoria, Australia (2013)
- Invited Speaker, Autism Law Summit, Georgetown University, Washington DC (2012)
- Invited lecturer, Sapienza University of Rome (2012)
- Invited lecturer, University of Milan, Italy (2012)
- Invited lecturer, Philosophical Institute of Naples, Italy (2012)
- Invited lecturer, Papal College, Torino, Italy (2012)
- Invited lecturer, Abilene Christian University, Texas (2012)
- Invited lecturer, University of Genoa, Italy (2012)
- Invited lecturer, Castleton College, Vermont (2012)
- Invited lecturer, University of Western Australia (2011)
- Workshop leader, Centre College, Danville, Kentucky (2013)
- Workshop leader, Five Texas Education Service Regions (2009-2012)
- Workshop leader, Highland Park School District, Dallas, Texas (2012)
- Workshop leader, Spaulding Academy, New Hampshire (2012)
- Workshop leader, YALE School, Cherry Hill, New Jersey (2012)
- Workshop leader, Newgrange School, Bordentown, New Jersey (2012)
- Workshop leader, Framingham State University, Massachusetts (2013)
- Workshop leader, Worcester State College, Massachusetts (2011)
- Workshop leader, Eaglebrook School, Lenox, Massachusetts (2012)
- Professional Development Program, Prince George County Public Schools, Maryland (2012)
- Professional Development Program, Ivymount School, Rockville, Maryland (2011/12/13)
- Professional Development Program, Howard County Public Schools, Maryland (2012)
- Professional Development Program, Agawam Public Schools, Massachusetts (2011)
- Professional Development Program, Woodview Mental Health Services, Toronto, Canada (2012)
- Autism lecture, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2013)
- Autism lecture, College of William and Mary, Virginia (2012)
- Autism lecture, Towson University, Maryland (2012)
- Autism lecture, Atlanta Autism Coalition, Georgia (2012)
- Autism lecture, Greenwich Country Day School, Connecticut (2012)
- Addressed stakeholder events, IMFAR 2010 and IMFAR 2011 international conferences
- Keynote Speaker, Autism Pensacola, Florida (2013)
- Keynote Speaker, Wisconsin State Transition Conference (2012)
- Keynote Speaker, Sewall Child Development Center/Colorado Autism Society (2013)
- Keynote Speaker, Texas State Autism Conference (2011)
- Invited speaker, Autism Genome Project Conference, Toronto (2010)
- Keynote speaker, Asperger Association of New England annual conference (2008/9)
- Invited speaker, James Quillen Medical College, University of Tennessee (2010)
- Keynote speaker, Autism Society of America Conference, Atlanta (2011)
- Invited speaker, National Institutes of Health (2011)
- Keynote speaker, Penn Autism Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2010)
- Workshop leader. Kinney Autism Conference, St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2011)
- Autism Awareness program at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2011)
- Autism Awareness program at the College of the Menominee Nation, Wisconsin (2011)
- Autism Awareness program at Kent State University, Ohio (2011)
- Keynote talk, Autism Speaks Canada, Toronto (2011 and 2013)
- Keynote, annual conference of Connecticut Special Education Professionals (2011)
- Guest lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education (2010)
- Guest lecturer, Harvard Medical School (2011)
- Invited speaker, American Psychological Association annual convention (2009)
- Keynote speaker, annual conference of the Wisconsin Dept of Public Instruction (2009)
- Invited speaker, University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire (2010)
- Keynote speaker, annual conference of the Illinois Superintendents of Schools (2009)
- Invited speaker, University School of Milwaukee (2007)
- Invited speaker, Monarch School, Houston, Texas (2008)
- Invited speaker, River Street School, Capital Region Education Council, Connecticut (2011/12/13)
- First year program speaker, SUNY Potsdam (2009)
- First year program speaker, Defiance College, Ohio (2010)
- Invited speaker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (several appearances) (2008/9)
- Keynote speaker, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Seaver Autism Conference (2010/14)
- Invited speaker, University of Missouri Medical School – Thompson Autism Center (2009)
- Keynote speaker, Tufts Medical School/Baystate Child Psychiatry conference (2009)
- Keynote speaker, High Functioning Asperger Association of New York (2010 and 2015)
I am a US citizen, with a current US passport.
My membership on IACC makes me a special Federal employee and I am subject to certain rules regarding conflict of interest, etc. with respect to outside consulting work.PRINT COPY AS PDF