5 Impactful TED Talks on ASD You Must Check Out

In this series, iSmartmoms brings you a helpful compilation of the most insightful and interesting TED talks on ASD that you must check out! These talks are sure to get you reflecting whilst adding a little something to your treasure of knowledge on autism.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these gems –


  1. The Forgotten History of Autism by Steve Silberman

Did you know how autism came to become the ‘autism spectrum’, a continuum as opposed to a disorder that fits into a tiny box? Or how the misconception about vaccines causing autism came into being?

In his incredibly illuminating talk, Steve Silberman takes us through the journey of Autism, right from the previously used selective diagnostic criteria to how a “perfect storm of autism awareness” emerged and changed the way we looked at and diagnose autism. He talks about Hans Asperger and his progressive views on teaching children with learning difficulties.

Silberman introduces us to some of the most important historical facts about Autism that we may or may not be aware of. It would be safe to say that Silberman’s talk is essential viewing for us all.


Listen to his talk here:



Here is another wonderful recommendation from our TED talk series!


  1. The World Needs All Kinds of Minds by Temple Grandin

As someone on the autism spectrum, Temple Grandin has a very unique perspective on autism. Her job as a livestock handling designer offers her an amazing platform to explore her special ability of thinking in pictures.

Grandin discusses the different types of thinking patterns and gives her insights on why we need to harness the powers that they provide. ‘Thinking in pictures’ is something that lots of people on the spectrum experience. She wittily describes it as “movies in your head.”

She also stresses on the importance of harnessing a child’s special interest into an opportunity for learning something new.

Towards the end, Grandin says something really relevant and powerful; “if you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there’d be no more Silicon Valley, and the energy crisis would not be solved.”

It is safe to say that Temple Grandin hits the nail right on the head with her amazing observations and suggestions on the importance of utilizing the power of different types of thinkers. A definite must watch!


Listen to her talk here:



Our third recommendation from the TED talk series is this enlightening talk by Wendy Chung-


  1. Autism — what we know (and what we don’t know yet) by Wendy Chung

In this talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares how genes play a role in autism. She talks about the various causes that often interlock and rarely occur in isolation. She explains how the definition of autism evolved to include symptoms across a vast spectrum.

Through factual data, Chung talks about the prenatal factors that may cause autism. She shines light on the genetic factors, the genetic mutations, and how there isn’t one single gene for autism.

Chung beautifully explains the complexity of these genes and how an early diagnosis can make a world of difference for individuals on the spectrum.

She appeals for the whole community to work together and join the mission to make a meaningful difference; “to use as a community our collective wisdom to be able to make a difference.”


Listen to her talk here:



Another recommendation we have for you is this honest and brilliant talk by Rosie King.

  1. How autism freed me to be myself by Rosie King

Rosie King is a storytelling activist, who is on the autism spectrum herself. In this compelling talk, she challenges the stereotypes and the misconceptions attached to autism.

She talks about looking at her autism diagnosis as an ability rather than a disability. She boldly questions the need of the society to put everyone in tidy little boxes, rather than letting people be who they truly are.

“Why are people pouring their brilliant individual light into a mold?” she asks.

Rosie King encourages us to celebrate uniqueness and cheer every time someone unleashes their imagination instead of punishing everything that strays from normal.

Her inspiring words and amiable spirit make this talk a must watch!


Listen to her talk here:



Our final recommendation from the TED talk series is this heartwarming talk by Faith Jegede Cole-


  1. What I’ve learned from my autistic brothers by Faith Jegede Cole

In this heartfelt talk, Faith Jegede Cole, who is a writer, recalls her experiences growing up with two autistic brothers.

She talks about her brothers and what makes them extraordinary and unique. She describes one of her brothers beautifully, “a boy who saw the world without prejudice, a human who had never lied.”

Faith encourages us to preserve and cherish our uniqueness because without it we lose a chance for greatness. She describes to us the things that her brothers have taught her – individuality, communication, and love.

Her talk challenges our desperate want for normality and how it completely overlooks the differences that uniqueness gives us.

Faith compels us to embrace the extraordinary through her stunning talk. This talk is a definite must watch!


Listen to her talk here:



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