Friday, July 29, 2016

Light It Up Blue! Anita Lesko, a nurse with Asperger's syndrome helps others with autism spectrum disorder

Anita Lesko, RN, MS, CRNA

So how does a person with Asperger's syndrome move forward to become a nurse anesthetist, military aviation photojournalist, author, public speaker, advocate and founder of a non profit organization?

Just like the answer to "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" 


On Anita Lesko's website,, she recounts
"When I was in elementary school, the Principle said to my mom that I would never amount to anything. Prior to 1994 when Asperger’s got translated into English, children went undiagnosed, and were simply viewed as the weird kid who didn’t fit in. The school system had no idea what to do with me. As I’ve now come to learn as I meet others my age, this was how it was for us back then. There was no such thing as early intervention, BCBA’s to work with you, no kinds of therapy, nothing. But here’s what I can tell parents with children on the Autism Spectrum: There’s really only one way to get better at socializing and functioning in society- and that’s PRACTICE. Get out there and interact with people. Sure, you’ll make plenty of mistakes. But it’s not about falling. It’s about getting up. I feel like I truly have a gift to share with millions of people. I’ve built a bridge from my Autistic side over to the Neurotypical side. Because I’ve worked at a job that literally forced me to interact with hundreds of thousands of people over the past 26 years, and being the only Autistic person in an ocean of “normal” people, I’ve learned how to interact AND act in the typical world. I never had any therapy, interventions, no drugs, no NOTHING. Just plain old fashioned interactions with others." 

In an article published on the CDC web site Anita Lesko stated,"My gift of Asperger disorder gives me the ability to have what I call my ‘laser focus.’ It’s the ability to stay focused on a project for extreme periods of time with total focus and concentration. For example, once while in the emergency room for a broken wrist, the anesthesiologist who came to give me sedation started talking to me as we waited. He asked what I was studying in college, to which I replied ‘nursing.’ He suggested I become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. My ‘laser focus’ took over, and a year later after receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I was accepted at Columbia University in their Master’s degree program for Nurse Anesthesia. I graduated, passed my Board exam, and have been working full time ever since!"

Anita Lesko, RN, MS, CRNA

With enormous thanks to Anita for sharing her story and for her tireless efforts advocating for people impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Read more about Anita in an article published on the CDC website.

Visit Anita's website and learn more about her books and "Flying high with autism foundation".


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  4. HELP! I am the NT husband of an RN with Aspergers who is almost done with her BSN but after 2 months with a local hospital which wants Magnet Status but has charge nurse who rolls her eyes and a manager whom told the charge nurse my wife tried to explain the lack of caring by the staff in that med surg unit. She was told she cares too much and isn't fast enough and should learn how to streamline... basically to accept the system. Now this rolling eye charge nurse started the gossiping around the unit and my wife was switched to nights, which are bad for her autism and Hereditary Angioedema (type3), a stress induced disease. After one night at the same unit, now the manager called and asked her to go to ANOTHER unit that only has night positions. She can't sleep and doesn't want to go back. She can't go to HR to ask for accommodations and I so want to do it for her but she doesn't want that on her. She's losing her confidence and can't handle the increased hostile environment. I'm worried about her quitting like this, which she hasn't yet but it seems it's going that way as she has a break down even if I suggest she asks HR if she can have a sick day. Can you help? We don't want a bunch of calls. We need one person who shares and shared the experience and can help her make a decision so this doesn't ruin her reputation as I do not know what to say. HELP! SOS! She's been doing the right thing and taking time caring for patients. She tried to shut off lights and close doors as the nurses last night were so loud in the unit, not thinking about patients as they should. She had 4 patients when they need 1 to 2 or 3 max to care for them correctly! What can I do? Should someone talk to her?

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