Steve Jobs Autism: We all had heard the name, Steve Jobs. Most of the people only know him through Apple but he was so much more than just the CEO of Apple. Steve Jobs was an American inventor, entrepreneur, and designer. He struggled a lot before starting the Apple Computers with his co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1976.
Steven Job was a smart kid but always found his difficult to some kind of direction. His teachers had to bribe him to study and yes he was college dropout as well. So he was able to achieve his accomplishments without a college degree. He was able to launch the largest Industry while he was in his early twenties. He still is one of the most innovative and enthusiastic minds in America Technology.
Early life and college
The great America mind was born on 24th February 1955 to two graduate students of University of Wisconsin who gave him up for adoption. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. Clara worked as an accountant whereas Paul was a machinist. He used to fix cars in his garage in his free time and often asked Steven to help him around and that is how he developed the interest in electronics.
As a child, he lived in Silicon Valley, the name given to the place because it was the center for electronics at that time. Unlike other kids at his age he was not interested in sports or group activities instead he showed interest in electronics and gadgetry. He saw his first computer at the age of 12 at the Hewlett-Packard Explorer Club and knew it right then that he wanted to work with computers.
Related: Autism and Technology Education
He finished high school in 1972 and went to Portland to attend Reeds College for two years but unfortunately, he dropped out after the first semester to visit India and learn eastern religion. After his return in 1975, he joined the Homebrew Computer Club where he met his co-founder Steve Wozniak who was trying to build a small computer. Jobs was fascinated with the idea and partnered up with him to start a new era of computers.
Apple and other projects
Jobs believed that there was a huge gap in the evolution of computers. The mainframe computers at the time were so huge that they would fill up the whole room and not everyone could afford to buy them, which is why he came up with the idea of developing small portable computers. In 1976 he and Wozniak formed their own company in Job’s garage and named it Apple Computers. At first, they started by selling circuit boards while they were working on the computer prototype.
They were the minds behind the personal computers that we use today. They defined a completely new way of processing information. In 1977 when Apple II has launched the company made impressive first-year sales of $2.7 million. The sales of the company grew to $200 million within three years. This was one of the most phenomenal cooperate cases in US history.
Jobs left Apple in 1985 and purchased a small media company called Pixar from a filmmaker. Pixar specialized in computer animations and later on, in the years made animated movies such as Toy Story and Monster Inc which were a huge box office success.
After leaving Apple, Jobs employed some of his former employees to start a new computer company called NeXT. The product launched by the company gained a warm reception but didn’t last for long due to high price and different software. Later Apple brought the company in 1996 when Jobs rejoined the company and became the interim CEO of the company in 1997.
Jobs was a very creative person. He always tried to convert his ideas into innovative products. Once in an interview to Time Magazine in 1996, he said, “The thing that drives me and my colleagues … is that you see something very compelling to you, and you don’t quite know how to get it, but you know, sometimes intuitively, it’s within your grasp. And it’s worth putting in years of your life to make it come into existence.”
Was he autistic or not?
We all know that Steve Jobs was revolutionary. He believed in creativity and always tried to implement his ideas to physical objects. In the normal course, we call such people innovative and artistic but there are some out there that believe that he suffered from Autism because he wasn’t much of a social person. Before we get to decide whether Jobs was autistic or not let us first understand what autism is.
What is Autism?
Autism refers to a wide range of neuro-psychological conditions that are characterized by social interaction and communication troubles, repetitive behavior, verbal and non-verbal communication. The kids and adults suffering from autism disorder face various challenges but also have some unique strength. Various genetic and environmental factors are the major cause of autism disorder.
Related: Where Does Autism Affect the Brain
Types of Autism spectrum disorders
Not everyone with autism shows the same symptoms which are why the doctors have categories the autism disorder into three categories based on the various symptoms that are noticed in each case. The three disorders that fall on the autism spectrum are;
1- Autistic Disorder
Individuals with autistic disorder face problems with communication, social interaction and language delays. They might also face some kind of intellectual disability as well which is why such individuals often have unusual behavior and interests.
2- Asperger Syndrome
Asperger Syndrome is a disorder in with individuals tends to be quite smart and intellectual. Victims of this disorder are at the highest functioning end of the spectrum. Individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome only suffer from social interactions which becomes a problem as the child ages.
3- Pervasive Development Disorder
This is a mild condition of autism in which the verbal or motor functions of the individual are not affected. The individual is likely to only suffer from social communication challenges.
Symptoms of Autism
Autism Spectrum disorder is characterized by a lot of symptoms. The severity varies from person to person depending on the medical conditions of the person. The symptoms begin to appear before the age of 3 and develop as the child grows older. Some of the symptoms are;
- Social Challenges
- Communication difficulties
- Repetitive behavior
- Sleep Dysfunction
- Seizure Disorder
- Sensory Processing Problem
Why do people believe that Steve Jobs was Autistic?
Even though the autism disorder is spreading like wildfire we can’t say that every creative and innovative mind in history was autistic. I have not heard a single soul say that Steve Jobs was autistic but there are people out there that believe otherwise. The reason that some of the individuals in our society believe that Jobs was autistic is that he showed many symptoms of Asperger Syndrome.
Personal qualities of Jobs that led people to believe that he was autistic
Jobs was gifted with unique qualities. Just because people were unable to understand his way of thinking and acting that started calling him autistic. Some of the major qualities shown by Jobs that led people to believe that he was autistic are;
- An unconventional way of thinking
- Exceptionally high IQ level
- Controlling personality
- Detail orientated thinking
Jobs was a perfectionist. His obsession with details and perfectionism led people to believe that he was suffering from autism disorder because both the qualities are defining traits of autism. According to Temple Grandin,
“Steve Jobs was probably mildly on the autistic spectrum. Basically, you’ve probably known people who were geeky and socially awkward but very smart. When do geeks and nerds become autism? That’s a gray area. Half the people in Silicon Valley probably have autism”.
Why is he not Autistic?
All the myths about Steve Jobs being autistic are wrong. Just because his brain worked exceptionally well doesn’t mean that he was an autistic person. Autism is caused by some kind of brain abnormality and individuals suffering from autism start to show the sign at an early age but Jobs showed no such signs and neither did any of his parents suffer from Autism.
Jobs possessed great communication skills. Yes, he was at times rude to his employees but only when the job wasn’t done right. Other than that he communicated well with everyone he met and didn’t show any kind of nervousness or anxiety while in a gathering.
His creativity can’t be defined as a brain abnormality. Just because you can’t appreciate someone’s work doesn’t mean that you have to term it is a disorder. All the great minds in history were god gifted. They were all good at what they took interest in and showed commitment towards their work. Such behavior can’t be termed as Autism because it is not related to the brain abnormality.
No, Steve Jobs was not artistic and neither is Bill gate or Einstein. You can’t term someone’s intelligence as a disorder. So, Steve Jobs Autism is not a fact. There are individuals in the society that would continue to do so but there is nothing that you can do about them which is why it is better to just ignore them because everyone is entitled to their opinions.