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Diagnosing Jefferson: Evidence of a Condition That Guided His Beliefs, Behavior, and Personal Associations Hardcover – August 1, 2000
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“This book is fantastic! Talent and intellectual giftedness is often associated with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. There is a continuum from normal to abnormal. A small amount of these traits can provide an advantage in being able to think objectively. Thomas Jefferson used these advantages when helping to create our system of government.”
Dr. Temple Grandin
“This work is important on three levels. It presents evidence to substantiate the hypothesis that Thomas Jefferson exhibited symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome….To parents, educators and caregivers who deal with children with Asperger’s Syndrome the book offers hope, reliable information and invaluable experience-based guidance.”
Dr. Richard P. McCormick, Professor Emeritus in History, Rutgers University
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
My Dad called my attention to it and said jokingly, "Maybe you'll learn a little history." But I also learned about myself, reading about so many things that bothered Tom Jefferson that also bothered me. Thanks to this book, they don't bother me anywhere near as much as they used to.
I'm proud we shared many of the same "quirks."
I like the way Ledgin explains autism and autism-spectrum behaviors. To his credit, he recognizes autism as the neurobiological condition that it is and provides examples taken from Jefferson's own life to illustrate the claim Jefferson was on the spectrum. Autism and its related condition, Asperger's Syndrome affect sensory integration, communication and social skills. A lack of social intuition is also part of a/A spectrum behaviors. Ledgin used his son's behavior as an example to show the glaring similarities between the child's behavior and that of the late president. I found that a very interesting premise that sparked the writing of this book.
Many people with autism, adults in particular will feel a bond with Jefferson and find that having a place on the a/A spectrum is not a stigmatizing life sentence. While autism presents a series of major challenges, it does not mean individuals who have it are incapable of major accomplishments, professionally, romantically and even socially.
Autism consists of compensations. One major example given is Jefferson's mastery of the written language. He was not a noted speaker, but his extraordinary writing skills more than made up for that. He also appeared to celebrate and embrace his own individuality and recognize this as an important part of himself. That is what celebrating the Autism Experience is all about.
Ledgin has served multi-purposes with this book. It is well researched and documented. Ledgin also looks at Jefferson from a very different perspective and provides a bird's eye view of autism in his explanations and descriptions of spectrum behaviors.
And yeah, he masterfully instills pride in readers with autism who come across this book.
The author has examined and exploited helpfully something all other biographers have missed--the opportunity to identify whatever the basis may have been for Jefferson's many idiosyncrasies and so-called contradictions. Had the biographers simply assembled the quirks puzzling them and discussed them with a neuroscientist or developmental pediatrician or psychologist, they would have arrived at the same conclusion Mr. Ledgin has given us.
A staff member for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Dianne Swann-Wright, admitted on the Today show last year, "there was a personal side of Thomas Jefferson that many of us just simply haven't been able to understand." Mr. Ledgin explains that personal side in order to help us understand. Does intellectual curiosity extend only so far as scratching one's head, or are historians ready to listen to well-reasoned answers based in careful research?
I heard Mr. Ledgin speak in Charlottesville, Va., at the Festival of the Book this year. He is more knowledgeable about the very personal side of Thomas Jefferson than most, if not all, the biographers whose works I've read. It should be obvious to a reader of his entire work, including his bibliography and footnotes, that he has examined the Jefferson literature thoroughly, which is what he wrote was the basis for his assembling the eccentricities. His placing of Jefferson on the autism/Asperger's continuum as a result has been backed by at least four experts in that field and another in the behavioral sciences.
This is a landmark work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The history as we are taught it and the history that us left out can create very different portraits of historic figures. It appears to be. true of Jefferson. Read morePublished 2 months ago by nc mason
Scattered organization tosses information around with no observable plan.Published 7 months ago by Mary Ellen Snodgrass
I did not finish this book, however...from what I read it is a great book about the Life of Tom Jefferson, with insights that other biographys would not have.Published on January 30, 2014 by jtmedley21
Good idea and I agree that probably Jefferson was an Asperger guy. The book has trouble in that references are made and the ideas are not completed, telling the reader that it... Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by yaf
OK, before I go too far, I must admit that I haven't finished this book. I've made it through chapter 4 and I can't go any further. Read morePublished on January 23, 2011 by C. Stephenson
DIAGNOSING JEFFERSON: EVIDENCE OF ACONDITION THAT GUIDED HIS BELIEFS, BEHAVIOR, AND PERSONAL ASSOCIATIONS, by Norm Ledgin, purports to explain why Ledgin thinks Thomas Jefferson... Read morePublished on January 21, 2011 by Hui Shen ben Israel
This book is certainly 1 of the few positive and aspiring BOOKS ON THE TOPIC and it's publisher is the leader in books for this topic. Read morePublished on October 28, 2006 by Andy
Thank you so much for this book!! I am a parent of a child not yet diagnosed. I found this book very enlightening in regards to my son. Read morePublished on June 8, 2006 by Looking for answers