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Diagnosing Jefferson: Evidence of a Condition that Guided His Beliefs, Behavior, and Personal Associations is a book by Norm Ledgin with a commentary by Temple Grandin, as well as Ledgin's first book. The book argues that Thomas Jefferson had traits of Asperger syndrome according to the criteria listed in the DSM-IV. The author decided to write the book after realizing that Jefferson had many similarities with his Autistic son, Fred Ledgin. The author mentions that there are 13 criteria for Asperger syndrome and that one needs at least four to be diagnosed. He claims that Thomas Jefferson met five of these criteria.


Norm Ledgin's son, Fred, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as an adult in 1996. At that time, there was very little information about Autism available. Ledgin read Temple Grandin's book Thinking in Pictures. In 1998, Ledgin decided to read biographies about Thomas Jefferson. The more he read, the more he realized that he shared a lot of traits with Fred.


  • Temple Grandin: "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. Richard P. McCormick: "This work is important on three levels. Is 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 this book offers hope, reliable information and invaluable experience-based guidance."
  • Tony Attwood: "This book is good for the serious student of Asperger's Syndrome. Parents and professionals should encourage the person with Asperger's to read this to recognize the values such individuals have, and have had, to our society. There are genuine heroes with Asperger's."
  • Marsha E. Lytle: "Fascinating…My empathy for Jefferson increased…For parents of children with Asperger's, Mr. Ledgin offers valuable insight on how to deal with the [educational system], and for the children…to boost their self-esteem."
  • Diana Leonard: "Diagnosing Jefferson…was life-changing for us and our adult son…This information will do wonders for our son's self-esteem."