The Future of Trades
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
7M ago
  Prior to the rise of the Internet, people found things through advertising, or referrals from trusted individuals.  The more important the thing, the more likely someone was to seek a trusted referral. A prospective homebuyer might follow advice from a friend or acquaintance who recently bought a home.  That might lead to the selection of a realtor, who in turn would suggest a home inspector. When they identified needed work, contractors recommended by the realtor or inspector would perform it.     Recommendations for a dentist, a restaurant, or a car ..read more
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Getting Older With Autism - presentation to Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Oct 26, 2022
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
1y ago
 I have been involved with autism advocacy for 25 years. Throughout that time, particularly during my 15 years of government service, I mostly advocated for autistic people younger than I. But at age 65, I am here to ask: What about the older autistic population?  We have unanswered questions, and we also need support.  I’d like to share some of the things I’ve experienced. All autistic people have some degree of blindness to the unspoken messages of others. It’s part of the diagnostic criteria.  What about blindness to ourselves? That is less studied but ..read more
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Scenes from the Big E 2021 Fair
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
 If you like photographing people and action, it's hard to think of a better venue than the Big E - the Eastern States Exposition Fair, which happens in West Springfield, MA over 17 days, encompassing the last two weekends of September and the first weekend of October. I have photographed the Fair for 25 years, and in that time I've see the transition from black and white to color, from film to digital, and then from one generation of digital system to another. 2021 marked the first year I shot the fair with mirrorless digital cameras, with most of these images shot with a Nikon Z7II. Oth ..read more
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Thoughts on Writing
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
 It has been 45 years since I first got the idea of writing things people would notice. The first things I wrote were descriptions of electronic circuits I had designed – how they worked and what they would do. I did not have the literary skills of an author, but I had technical competence and a decent command of language.  Most of all, I had a gift for explaining things in ways others could understand.   I did not realize it at the time, but those first missives were instrumental to success in my career in electronics. No one paid me for my writing, but it was my wr ..read more
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Reflections on 2020
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
   December 13 - It’s hard to believe 2020 is coming to an end. In Decembers past I sometimes assembled photos of places I’d visited.  Prior to the pandemic, I spent a dozen years on the road, sometimes traveling 120,000 air miles in a year. This January started like many others.  We spoke at some events in Florida, and Cubby came along to visit the alligators at Wakulla and my aunt and uncle from Cairo, GA: This year, it all came to a stop.   It was early March when I took my last trip. Covid was in the news every day, and borders were closing ..read more
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Possible Autistic Vulnerability to COVID-19
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
This is a complex subject, but I'll do my best to explain . . . . Over the past 20 years we have made some progress understanding the biological underpinnings of autism, and by extension, ADHD and other related neurodevelopmental conditions. We have long known of links between autism and dysregulation of the immune system. One marker of that is abnormal cytokine levels found in some autistic people.[i]   We don’t know if the immune dysregulation leads to development of different brain wiring, or if our different brain wiring leads to immune dysregulation.  It’s also pos ..read more
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Thoughts on #Coronavirus risk
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
This #coronavirus outbreak is causing a tremendous amount of fear and anxiety, especially among people with autism and other disabilities. Many of us have expressed fear that we may be seen as expendable and we are likely to be more at risk due to other medical complications. As an autistic person the best thing I can offer by way of calming is some logic and reason, based on good facts. Our country's failure to expand testing has created the perception that there may be thousands or millions of undiagnosed, non symptomatic cases lurking. The evidence isn't bearing that out. Mass ..read more
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The Limits of Neurodiversity
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
Neurological diversity is a biological fact. Neurological function varies between individuals just like other human traits. The difference is that neurological diversity has gone unrecognized until now, while physical diversity has always been plain to see.  Human diversity emerges as a result of genetics and environment. There is a large heritable component to some neurotypes, just as body shape tends to run in families. But it’s not all genetics. Environmental factors also influence human development. Diversity is also driven by evolution as many traits confer situational advant ..read more
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Images of the 2019 Big E Fair
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
Every September I look forward to photographing the Big E - New England's state fair and carnival.  The Fair draws about one and a half million people over its seventeen-day run, and I race to capture as much of the action as I can. The Big E has run since 1917 at this location in West Springfield, Massachusetts. It was started as an agricultural fair, and still has a large agriculture component, but the biggest part is now family entertainment. There are horse jumping contests, dog shows, livestock exhibits, rides on the midway, mimes and street performers, a circus, cars on display and ..read more
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Neurodiversity, Disability, and Exceptionality
Look Me In The Eye Blog
by John Robison
2y ago
This six minute video of my convocation talk at Landmark College really encapsulates my thinking on neurodiversity. We can have disability diagnoses, but we do not have to live as disabled people, thereby internalizing the idea we are "less" than others.  We can choose to live as neurodivergent people - using a term that springs from our own community - and recognize each of us has a mix of disability and exceptionality. Watch the video and tell me what you think: John Elder Robison (c) 2007-2011 John Elder Robison ..read more
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