James Williams

Welcome to my website on autism. I’m James Williams. I live in Northbrook, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. I am thirty-four years old, and I have high-functioning autism. I present around the country on autism, and maintain correspondences with individuals (normal and autistic) who are interested in my advice and my information on autism. I have consulted at schools around the United States, such as the Minnehaha Academy, Lionsgate Academy, P.A.T.H. Academy for Autism, and the Autism O.A.S.I.S. for Kids.

I currently serve on the following advisory committees—the Advisory Committee for SPARK, a nationwide research study regarding DNA and autism (since 2017), as well as the steering committee for SafeMinds, an autism awareness organization (since 2015), and the steering committee for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center’s Community of Practice on Autism Spectrum Disorders (since 2015). Prior to those invitations, I served as a volunteer parent leader (VPL) for Wisconsin FACETS, a support organization for families afflicted with disabilities, from 2013 to 2015. In addition, I also served on the leadership team for Camp R.O.C.K.S., a summer camp for children with autism from 2007 to 2012.

I am the co-author of The Self-Help Guide For Special Kids and Their Parents (with my mother Joan Matthews), the author of two novels on autism, Out To Get Jack, and The H.A.L. Experiment, the children’s book When Gary Comes to Play, and the co-author of the book West High Story (with autistic self-advocate Alex Phillip).

In addition, I am also a professional recorder player that has performed at venues such as public schools, the National Hobo Convention, and anime conventions such as Kitsune Kon, Anime Central, Anime Midwest, Daisho Con, Anime Detour, and more. Check out my YouTube channel, under the alias James as James, where I post videos of myself playing a variety of dongs on the recorder. I have also recorded three albums of solo recorder music—Pop Goes The Recorder, Hark! The Herald Recorders Play, and Songs From Music Class. To purchase my books and albums, check out my online store.

On my website, you can read archives of presentation outlines, speeches I have given, and the essays I have written over the years. Scroll down to view the archives. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to arrange for me to speak at your conference, school, support group, or autism agency, you can find my contact information here. Those interested in arranging a presentation may look at a sample presentation contract here.

If you have come to this website looking for the other individual with autism who gives autism lectures, also named James Williams, who is originally from Texas, information about him can be found here. I am a different James Williams than the individual in Texas.

Click here to view my speaking and appearance schedule. Click here to view an archived list of all of my past appearances.

Speeches and Presentations


Anime Convention Presentation Outlines (2015-2017)

Presentation outlines for the three presentations that I regularly present at anime conventions around the United States.


Handwriting and Autism (2014)

My portion of a poster session, in PowerPoint format, that discusses the issues the individuals with ASD face with handwriting. Originally presented with self-advocate Kate Gladstone.


Sexuality From An Autistic Perspective (2014)

A PowerPoint presentation about my unique perspective as a person with ASD on sexuality. (NOTE: This presentation includes mature content.)


2014 Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Public Comments (2014)

Written submissions of the public comments presented to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a U.S. federal advisory committee on autism, in 2014.


Biomedical Issues From An Autistic Perspective: How Do We Experience Them?

Solo Version – (2013)

Co-Presentation with Ruth Snyder – (2014)

Power Point slides from a presentation that discusses biomedical issues that some people with autism face from an autistic perspective, based on my biomedical history. Has been presented as a solo presentation, and as a co-presentation with self-advocate Ruth Snyder.


“Are You There World, It’s Me Autism?” Sample Presentation Outline (2012)

An outline for a presentation that looks at autism from the perspective of how its symptoms and differences mesh with cultures and society at large.


The Autism Camp Test (2010)

An abridged version of a test written as part of a series of training materials for summer camps for individuals with autism, with explanations for the answers in the test.


In Search of the Proper Autistic Friend (2006)

A presentation that describes observations of young children I conducted during volunteer work at a child care center. Based on these observations, this presentation discusses potential difficulties that arise when autistic individuals try to interact with their peers.


Understanding: The Free Therapy (2004)

Most people have a need to understand what they are doing at all times. In this presentation, I describe possible things that can happen if that need is not met.


A Whole New World (2000)

A presentation that describes problems that autistic people encounter in their daily lives with drama. This was the first presentation I wrote.


The Autism Empathy Test (2004)

A presentation that discusses differences between autistic and neurotypical abilities in the form of a test. It is also presented in the form of a slide show.


What To Do During An Autism Cataclysm (2005)

A presentation written for special-ed teachers and parents of children with autism that gives examples of problems that occur in a home or school environment, and what should be done to mitigate those problems.


Auditory Training: My Personal Experience and Thoughts (2005)

A presentation that talks about this therapy, which I have had several times.


How Do Autism's Symptoms Relate to Abilities of Non-Autistic People? (2005)

A presentation written for middle school students that relates autism to issues that occur in the daily lives of neurotypical individuals. Also available en Espanol.


My Unconventional Life with Autism (2005)

A presentation that discusses stories from my life, things I have observed, and what can be learned from these stories.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Autism (2005)

A presentation written for and presented to late elementary and middle school students (4th to 8th grade) to teach autism awareness by referencing scenarios from the Harry Potter book and film series.


The Role of Context in Defining Autism (2006)

A presentation written for professionals that discusses how our perception of a behavior changes based on where the behavior took place, and when rules sometimes don’t work.


The Importance of Critical Thinking (2006)

A presentation that discusses how conventional rules don't always work when applied to autistic people. Situations are discussed that show when such rules should be bent, and when conformity isn’t always a necessity.


Autism's Appearance in Books and Film (2006)

A presentation that describes the appearance of autistic symptoms in popular culture, and what we can learn about autism from these examples.


Check It Out! A 3rd Grade Autism Reading List (2006)

A presentation for teachers that shows the appearance of autistic symptoms in books that are usually assigned to or read by grade-school students.





Interview with Salena Briana, Special Education Student (2015)

An interview with Salena Briana, a special education student at the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, Virginia.


Interview with Lisa Wiederlight, Executive Director of SafeMinds (2015)

An interview with Lisa Wiederlight, the Executive Director of SafeMinds, an awareness organization based in Maryland, that teaches awareness of environmental issues related to autism, for their blog.


Interview with Katie Anton, Founder of In Writing Tutoring Milwaukee (2014)

An interview with Katie Anton, the founder of In Writing Tutoring Milwaukee, an organization that offers tutoring service for college-level writers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Oakton Community College Autism Interview (2011)

An interview I gave with a student at Oakton Community College, in Des Plaines, Illinois, for an English class.


Essays and Articles


Researching Issues of Autism and Characters with Autistic Tendencies in Children’s Literature at the Center for Children’s Books (2015)

A combination of two linked papers written after conducting research at the Center for Children’s Books (CCB) of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Asexuality on the Autism Spectrum: A Personal Perspective (2015)

An article about some of the struggles of asexual individuals with autism, written for a forthcoming book on relationships by Rachel Silverman.


Two Autistic Perspectives on the Workforce (2013)

An article about employment issues and autism co-written with autistic individual Rachel Silverman.


Guidelines for Teaching Individuals with ASD In School Settings (From A Student’s Perspective) (2012)

A blog post I wrote about about 10 things I believe are important for teachers to remember when educating individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Originally written for the blog Autisable.


My First Adventures into Social Thinking (2012)

An autobiographical essay about some of the unconventional social experiences I experienced during my life that enhanced some of my social abilities, originally written as an endorsement to Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum. (Note: This essay contains mature content that may not be suitable for young children.)


Possible Explanations Behind The Autistic Struggle To Understand Social Skills (2012)

A thought experiment that discusses possible reasons for autistic struggles with social skills and social interaction. Published on the Age of Autism’s website.


On Independence (2010)

An essay about redefining what it means to be an independent adult with autism, as well as different options for independence.

Written for S.I. Focus.


Ask James Williams (2005)

A column published in S.I. Focus, a quarterly magazine.


On Curing Autism (2004)

Essay published in the book “The Sound of Falling Snow,” by Annabel Stehli.


Six Principles Of Autistic Interaction (2005)

Essay on the rules many autistic individuals use when they interact.


The Days of The Week (2004)

An essay explaining the mathematics behind this savant skill.


A Tale Of Two Daycares (2005)

An essay that talks about the policies and rules of two daycare centers and the lessons that can be learned from them.


Thoughts on the Mindset of Individual People (2005)

An essay I wrote that tries to explain why some people are unwilling to change their beliefs or values, and why it’s not worth it to try to change them.


The Ten Commandments of Autism Understanding (2006)

A list of guidelines that should be considered when someone tries to understand autism.




Dates on a Calendar (2011)

A one-act play telling a story of a social misunderstanding.


One-Way Street / Music My Friend / In The Name of My Safety (2011/12)

Three poems I wrote describing autistic ways of thinking, two of which I wrote for my high school newspaper.


Highlights from the Q+A Blog (2010)

Archived questions that I have been given from my Q+A blog, as well as my answers.


Recommended Viewing (2004)

A list of movies that I enjoy, and recommend that people see them to enrich their understanding of autism.


The Wescott Alphabet (1996)

A collection of photographs representing the alphabet, taken in 1996.


About James Williams

Information about the author.



Links to other autism web sites, courtesy of the website of autistic author Will Rogers.


Any material on this site may be reproduced, provided I am given acknowledgement as the author.

However, this site also contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I have utilized such material in my efforts to advance the understanding of autism and topics related to autism. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.