Jonathan Lerman


By Darold Treffert, MD

Jonathan Lerman’s mother described Jonathan as a normal, happy child who began to "slip away" into autism at about age 2. At age 3, he was given a diagnosis of Autistic Pervasive Developmental Disorder with many of the symptoms and behaviors associated with Autistim Spectrum Disorders.

Jonathan's remarkable artistic ability emerged quite unexpectedly at age 10. By age 14, Jonathan had several art shows of his own, and a 2002 New York Times article gave his work national visibility.

In 2002 critic Lyle Rexer released an insightful book about Jonathan Lerman and his extraordinary art. It contains 50 of Jonathan’s drawings, and chronicles his progress as an artist since the emergence of this remarkable artistic talent at age 10. An afterword by Jonathan’s mother, Caren, provides more insightful context for the artwork certainly, but additionally, it also provides a very sensitive context for the artist himself — Jonathan — through the eyes of his mother. A copy of the book is housed in the Treffert Library.

Additional Reading

Hosseini, D. (2011). Artism: The art of autism.

Mullin, J., Grandin, T., Barth, D., & Petrovich, A. (2014). Drawing autism.

Rexer, L. (2002). Jonathan Lerman: Drawings of an artist with autism. New York: George Braziller.

Treffert, D. A., & Tammet, D. (2012). Islands of genius: The bountiful mind of the autistic, acquired, and sudden savant


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Recommended Reading

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Treffert Library

The Treffert Library features the life works of Dr. Treffert, helping to foster research and knowledge across the autism and savant syndrome spectrum and other forms of exceptional brain performance.