Besides being Laura’s husband and Brad’s dad, I’m also an MIT graduate. Since I’ve learned more about autism, one thing I wonder is just how many people I encountered back in my MIT days were “autistic.” I kind of thought about it in the back of my mind only, but then this past week I read an article in the current issue of Boston Magazine about Richard Stallman, one of the acknowledged founders/contributors to Linux and I saw cues all over that suggest, at least to my completely untrained mind, that here’s a guy who some might argue is on the spectrum. That in turn led me to remember one fellow student I knew well – he kept to himself, did little to initiate or retain eye contact, and, for lack of a better word, was quirky. At the time, I figured he was just shy and a bookworm type. Now I have to wonder whether he was autistic (he made millions by the way in the Internet boom circa 2000). Did he “know” he was autistic? If he is, does he realize it now? I can think of at least a dozen similar people like him, from professors to students, that I met back in the day. It’s amazing. Has it dawned on people like these that they might be autistic? Am I just being naïve to think that (a) all that many people are autistic yet don’t know it, and/or (b) would be profoundly affected if they learned later in life (i.e., well into adulthood) that they were autistic? Somehow this fascinates me. Anyways, for now, I’m just happy reading things like the comments by anonymous in one of Laura’s SLP vs. BE posting here about some of the largest, most successful US companies having environments that enable autistics to make valuable contributions, and knowing that there is more room than ever in today’s “wired” universe for autistics to cope, and often even thrive. Now, more than ever, companies should focus on true talent and intellect, rather than the ability to schmooze interviewers and stereotypically play well with others.