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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Singular Brains | [Jim Fleming]

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Singular Brains

Every person on earth is unique and special, but some people – maybe one in a hundred – are autistic. In this hour, we get to know a few autistic people with Asperger's Syndrome. We'll hear what it's like to try to live in the world when you have visionary technical abilities but also the social skills of a rock. Also, Oliver Sacks will tell us about the human brain and music.
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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, Lizzie Gottlieb has a younger brother with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. She made a film, Today's Man, about his abortive efforts to get a job and move out of his parents' brownstone in New York. Both Lizzie and Nicky Gottlieb talk with Steve Paulson about the film and the problems of adult Aspergians. And we hear a clip from the film, which has aired on the PBS series, Independent Lens.

Next, John Elder Robison, whose younger brother is the writer Augusten Burroughs, did not get his diagnosis of Asperger's until he was in his 40s. He tells Anne Strainchamps how he manages to function in society, and what he remembers from the household chronicled in his brother's book, Running with Scissors. John Elder Robison's memoir is called Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's.

Then, Howard Dully was twelve when he underwent a trans-orbital lobotomy. He tells his story in a book called My Lobotomy: A Memoir, which he has written with Charles Fleming. He talks with Jim Fleming about why he had the operation and how he has come to terms with it in the years since. We also hear excerpts from the 1995 Sound Portraits documentary heard on NPR.

And finally, Oliver Sacks talks with Steve Paulson about some of the case studies in his latest book: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. He concludes that despite how much we learn, we may never understand how the brain works. [Broadcast Date: November 5, 2010]

Listen to:

  • Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
  • My Lobotomy by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming
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