excerpt from “Undiagnosing Gates, Jefferson and Einstein”
An article by Jonathan Mitchell
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. His other accomplishments include diplomate, lawyer, scientist, farmer, architect. He was thought by many to be one of the most brilliant men to ever occupy the White House. Could he have been on the autistic spectrum? Norm Ledgin, author of Diagnosing Jefferson states that this was absolutely the case. Ledgin provides what he believes is unequivocal evidence that Jefferson had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism and in his book he openly challenges anyone to refute his proof. I have decided to accept that challenge. His book was also endorsed by Temple Grandin who wrote a postscript to Ledgin’s book, stating she was totally convinced that Jefferson was on the spectrum.
Ledgin documents instances showing that Jefferson was shy, had an inability to relate to people, was a poor public speaker and was sensitive to loud noises. He attempts to show that the explanation for these is Asperger’s syndrome, claiming that it cannot be coincidence that Jefferson had so many supposedly Asperger’s traits that have been documented by various historians and biographers.
Ledgin also claims that it is because of Asperger’s that Jefferson had the habit of recording all of his financial transactions yet died in debt. Also, his obsession with remodeling his mansion, Monticello, for many decades can be attributed to Asperger’s. Jefferson also had eccentricities such has having a pet mocking bird always on his shoulder. He also often dressed casually and would wear slippers at important meetings.