About John Elder Robison

John Elder Robison is a guy who grew up in the 1960s before the Asperger diagnosis came into common use.  He knew he was different, but he didn’t know why.  His early social and academic failures would be signs of disability today, but back then, they were dismissed as laziness or a bad attitude. 

After a long and valiant struggle, John dropped out of high school.  His school years had ended in failure, but he’d been fortunate to find two of his great life interests – music and electronics.  At age sixteen, John joined his first band as a sound engineer.  Within a few years he was building equipment for Pink Floyd’s sound company, touring the hockey rinks of Canada with April Wine, and creating the signature special effects guitars for KISS.  He had found his calling.

John went on to design sound effects and other circuits for some of the most popular electronic games and toys of the era, before moving into more conventional engineering management.  He’d done well as a creative person, but the move into management proved frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful.  In the late 1980s, John left electronics for a new career . . . cars.  

From a modest but resolute origin in his back yard, his J E Robison Service Co grew to be one of the largest independent restoration and service specialists for BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce cars. The company has become one of the top-ranked Bosch Car Service centers in North America.

When he’s not at Robison Service, John speaks about being different at schools and conferences all over the country.   John is a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  He has served on review boards for the National Institutes of Health, and as a panel member for the Institute for Autism Research, The Centers for Disease Control, The National Institutes of Mental Health and others.

John is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  He's proud to be part of the first neurodiversity curriculum and program development at a major American university.  He's a visiting professor of practice at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA where he is proud to offer his insights into autism and neurodiversity to the next generation of clinicians to serve New England.

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.   He’s widely known as an advocate for people with autism and neurological differences.  

He is the author of Switched OnRaising CubbyLook Me in the Eye, my life with Asperger’s and Be Different, Adventures of a free-range Aspergian.   John’s writing has been translated into 18 languages and is sold in 60+ countries.

John's has written some of the most widely read stories of growing up on the autism spectrum and living with Asperger's syndrome.  You can order Look Me in the Eye here on Amazon.  Be Different is here.  Raising Cubby is here

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.

John with Tony Attwood and Carol Gray at AANE 2007

John and Temple Grandin at Bakersfield, CA in 2011

Check out John's son Cubby in this front page story from the New York Times