Grandin, Zuckerberg, and Autism


A number of years ago, Wired Magazine published, “The Geek Syndrome,” an article about the high incidence of people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome who live in Silicon Valley, California.

Since that time, the connection between technical innovation and autism has been repeated in articles and talks shows, lately by Temple Grandin, who has autism, in an interview on a Canadian Talk show. Grandin, whose story was featured in an HBO movie last year, said, “A little bit of the autism trait, you might get a genius, and he’s not very social. You know, if you have seen that social network movie, that’s a good example of Asperger’s, which is mild autism. . . . If that movie shows [Mark Zuckerberg] accurately, and I have also read the book, then it is [Asperger’s syndrome].”

Grandin suggests that Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein may have had Asperger’s syndrome as well.

Whether Zuckerberg or the others she mentions actually have (had) autism, Grandin makes a valuable point. People with autism have their own gifts to offer the world. When people hear of a diagnosis of autism, they assume the worst. Most people, whether they have autism or not, do not rise to the level of Einstein, Zuckerberg, or Grandin. Yet, when God brings people into this world, he never does so by mistake. Each person has their own gifts to offer. Through technology, better understanding, and more accommodating attitudes, we can make it more possible for each person to exercise the unique gifts they bring to our world, whether that person is Albert Einstein or the boy with autism at your church.

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