Autism consultant, keynote speaker, and New York Times best-selling author on neurodiversity and relationships.
I’m David Finch, consultant, keynote speaker, and New York Times best-selling author on autism, neurodiversity, and relationships. I go by “Dave” but that’s not super important. My book, The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband, was featured in O the Oprah Magazine, People, Elle, Marie Claire, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, and NPR’s All Things Considered.
You might have seen my work as a writer and consultant on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, SiriusXM, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, This American Life, The Howard Stern Show, and the award-winning Netflix series, Atypical.
Currently, I am the creator and host of a podcast about neurodiverse relationships (DAVE: The Relationships Podcast Hosted by an Idiot) and co-creator/co-host of Uniquely Human, a podcast with Dr. Barry Prizant that celebrates autism and neurodiversity. My company, Elevated Studio, produces podcasts, written word, and other digital media for brands and individuals around the world including Disney, Sony, Netflix, Comcast, and others.
Stuff to Read
Whether I’m working with a studio in LA as an autism consultant or hired by an event coordinator as a keynote speaker, the value I bring to any collaboration is voicing and elucidating the lived experience of autism. I had the opportunity to do just that in 2009, with the publication of my first essay in Modern Love, the popular New York Times column created by Dan Jones. That essay, which was about my attempts to be a better husband after my autism/Asperger’s diagnosis, led to a book contract with Scribner, and in 2012 I published The Journal of Best Practices. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to write additional essays for Modern Love, write an autism and neurodiversity blog for Psychology Today, and contribute personal narratives to NBC Universal, Huffington Post, Slate, and other books and publications. Below are a few of my faves. Tap here to read more articles and essays. Or, go outside and get some sunlight. Wouldn’t hurt anyone.
The Journal of Best Practices
A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband
The warm and hilarious bestselling memoir by a man diagnosed with Asperger syndrome who sets out to save his marriage. Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.
“What makes the book compelling is how funny Mr. Finch is about himself. He’s great company.”
— Susannah Meadows, The New York Times
“In this hilarious memoir (which also gives some of the finest explications of Asperger’s out there), Finch approaches trying to be a better husband and father with the determination of Sherman marching on Atlanta.”
— Judith Newman, People (4/4 stars)
“David Finch’s memoir is a quirky heart-warmer about his valiant, stumbling, ultimately winning quest to rebuild his crumbling marriage.”
— Lisa Shea, ELLE
Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy
IT wasn’t working, any of it. Our third year of marriage threatened to be our last. I’d become cynical and withdrawn, obsessive and preoccupied, dismissive and unhelpful.
“I don’t know when things got bad,” Kristen said, wiping away tears. “I feel like I’ve lost you and I don’t know what will bring you back.”
In reality she hadn’t lost me. She’d found me. The facade of semi-normalcy I’d struggled to maintain was falling away, revealing the person I’d been since childhood. I didn’t even know what was wrong with me, though my wife, a speech pathologist who works with autistic children, had her suspicions. Even so, it would be another two years before she would put all the pieces together and attach a name to what was ruining our marriage: Asperger’s syndrome.
The Gift was as Flimsy as My Rationale
On the Path to Empathy, Some Forks in the Road
A few months before our 11th anniversary, my wife, Kristen, marched into the bathroom I was in and told me that our marriage was over. If you’d read the hope-filled Modern Love essay I’d published five years earlier, you might have been as surprised as I was to hear this.
More jarring still was how casually she said it. I’d often feared there might be a last straw, a breaking point, but in my head the breakup scene was always far more dramatic. After hours of yelling and slamming fists against walls, we’d face each other, eyes teary and sincere, and admit that ending the marriage was the right thing to do.
In reality there were no theatrics, no crying, just me examining a disappointing hole in my favorite underpants.
Stuff to Attend
Married in 2003 to Kristen and diagnosed five years later with Asperger syndrome, I have committed myself to relentless self-improvement — sometimes to a comical extent. I’ve shared the stage with Dr. Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison, Dr. Barry Prizant, Dr. Stephen Shore, Alex Plank, and many others. And I’d love to take the stage at your next event!
The online short course for people in neurodiverse relationships.
My wife, Kristen, and I are pleased to share what has worked for us in creating a happier neurodiverse marriage. We’ve created an online short-course called Opposite AF which has been helping people in neurologically mixed relationships to make sense of their partner and themselves. For more information or to head straight to enrollment in Opposite AF, you can tap here.
Keynote Speaking, Live Event Hosting and Presentations
I love sharing my lived experience as an autistic person who happens to be a husband, a dad, and a professional writer/producer. Often, I am hired as a keynote speaker and my presentations are well-suited for professional, academic, and social conferences. Tap here for more information about collaborating with me on your next event! I mean, who doesn’t want a bald, bearded weenie addressing hundreds of paying attendees at their conference? Slam dunk, man. I’m yours. Let’s do this.
Stuff to Listen To
What began as an enterprise podcast for the electronics industry spiraled quickly into a podcast enterprise for all industries. In 2018 I launched EETimes On Air, an electronics industry podcast for eggheads like myself. Two years later, I was tapped to co-created, produce, and host another flagship corporate podcast titled Moore’s Lobby, once again, all about tech. Since exiting Moore’s Lobby, I’ve launched a podcast division of my production company, Elevated Studio, and have been enjoying helping others to find and amplify their unique voices. Here are some of the shows in my portfolio. You should subscribe to these and then send me letters — like, U.S. mail letters written on paper — about how much you love them. Because I can only get so much external validation from my wife, kids, parents, brother, dog, and crisis hotlines.
Dave: The Relationships Podcast Hosted by an Idiot is offered on a limited-episode basis and provides a glimpse into my efforts to be a better husband and make friends.
Uniquely Human: The Podcast expands the conversation on autism and neurodiversity by amplifying the voices of autistic individuals and thought leaders in providing insightful, cutting-edge and practical information about the autistic experience.
Hosted by my wife, Kristen, Calm AF with Kristen Finch is the podcast for people who are hard on themselves: the over-thinkers, energy managers, people-pleasers, perfectionists, and over-achievers. Learn how to calm the anxiety and worry in your mind with a weekly helping of Calm AF.
Stuff to Watch
I worked for Sony Pictures Television as an autism and neurodiversity consultant on a hit show for Netflix, ATYPICAL. In this capacity, the show runner and writers would send me scripts and, eating a giant bowl of ice cream, I would write notes in the margins about what was working and what might be explored a bit differently. Then, I would send them back the notes and watch TV for a few weeks until they sent me network cuts of the episodes. I collaborated on three seasons, and it was awesome. Check out more at IMDB.
In 2022 I am collaborating with Disney/Twentieth Century Fox on a delightful new series with a wonderful autistic character. Again, I am working with the writers and show runners as a consultant to help inform and shape the autistic character and his stories.
Technical Consultant, Autism and Neurodiversity
Technical Consultant, Autism and Neurodiversity
Stuff Other People Are Saying
Far be it from me to fill up an entire Internet web page with remarks about how great I am and all the fantastic things I’m doing in so many amazing ways. That just wouldn’t be classy. Instead, allow me to hand the microphone over to my friends Howard Stern, Daniel Radcliffe, Ira Glass, and NBC’s Kate Snow, who I’m sure will have nothing but laudatory remarks steeped in praise and admiration for me, Dave Finch, the best thing humanity has produced since the invention of the Skittle.
Howard Stern has cured Asperger’s! (Kidding.) Listen to Howard and Robin discuss my book, The Journal of Best Practices, on The Howard Stern Show. Just hit “play” on the audio player thingy.
Ira Glass, This American Life
Ira Glass invited Kristen and me to share our marriage story on This American Life, which was opportunity to share with a global audience that neurodiverse relationships CAN work and CAN totally kick ass if both partners are focusing on the right things.
K, technically not Oprah herself, she was busy when I faxed her about a mention. But. Abbe Wright wrote the most wonderful review and Q&A about The Journal of Best Practices for O the Oprah Magazine. Check it out!
I was so honored to learn that Daniel Radcliffe had selected my Modern Love essay “Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy” for the Modern Love podcast. I mean, everyone can say they’ve read Harry Potter, but how many people can say Harry Potter has read them?? Mind-blowing.
Kate Snow, NBC
Kate Snow filed a feature for NBC Rock Center, an NBC News program, about the work Kristen and I put into healing our neurodiverse marriage after I was diagnosed with autism.