Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A World Without Autism...

... would be a very boring, lackluster, unimaginative place. Did you ever why advocates enjoy letting people know about famous people with Autism Spectrum Disorder? Because it proves that Autistics are very intelligent people, very often genius in their intellect. It proves that Autistics can overcome their differences in thought processes to be not only productive human beings, but can make contributions that echo through history and across the entire world. It proves to overwhelmed, scared parents that their Autistic child can not only be successful in life, but be extraordinary.

Can you imagine what the world would be like without these amazing people? Did you know that these famous people were autistic? (ETA: I realize that some of the people on the list below were pretty horrible people... but it's still noteworthy to know that they were Autistic or are suspected to have been Autistic. Obviously, we'd have been much better off if killers such as Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer had never existed)

Famous People with Asperger Syndrome (such as my 5 1/2 yr old daughter):
Dan Aykroyd, comedian and actor: Aykroyd stated he has Asperger's, but some feel he was joking.
Richard Borcherds, mathematician specializing
in group theory and Lie algebras
William Cottrell, student who was sentenced to eight years in jail for fire-bombing SUV dealerships
Craig Nicholls, frontman of the band The Vines
Gary Numan, British singer and songwriter
Dawn Prince-Hughes, PhD, primate anthropologist, ethologist, and author of Songs for the Gorilla Nation
Judy Singer, Australian disability rights activist
Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in Economics
Satoshi Tajiri, creator of Pokémon
Daniel Tammet, British autistic savant, believed to have Asperger Syndrome
Liane Holliday Willey, author of Pretending to be Normal, Asperger Syndrome in the Family; Asperger syndrome advocate; education professor; and adult diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 35

Famous people with unspecified forms of Autism
The following people have been diagnosed as being somewhere on the autistic
spectrum but the specific classification is unknown.

    • Daryl Hannah, an American actress best known for her roles in Splash, Blade Runner and Kill Bill was diagnosed as a child as being 'borderline autistic'
    • Christopher Knowles, American poet
    • Matthew Laborteaux, actor on Little House on the Prairie
    • Katherine McCarron, autistic child allegedly murdered at the age of three by her mother, Karen McCarron.
    • Jason McElwain, high school basketball player
    • Michael Moon, adopted son of author Elizabeth Moon
    • Jasmine O'Neill, author of Through the Eyes of Aliens
    • Sue Rubin, subject of documentary Autism Is a World. Sue Rubin has no oral speech but does communicate with facilitated communication.
    • Birger Sellin, author from Germany,
    • Robert Gagno, actor from Vancouver,
    • Michelle Dawson, autism researcher and autism rights activist who has made ethical challenges to Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Temple Grandin, a designer of humane food animal handling systems.
    • Hikari Oe, Japanese composer
    • Bhumi Jensen, Thai prince, grandson of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; killed by drowning in the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
    • Dylan Scott Pierce, wildlife illustrator
    • Jim Sinclair, autism rights activist
    • Donna Williams, Australian author of Nobody Nowhere and Somebody Somewhere; after testing for deafness in late childhood, and being labelled 'disturbed', Donna was formally diagnosed as autistic in her 20s
    • Stephen Wiltshire, British architectural artist
    • Axel Brauns, German author of the autobiographical bestseller Buntschatten und Fledermäuse and filmmaker

      Famous Autistic Savants:
    • Alonzo Clemons, American clay sculptor
    • Tony DeBlois, blind American musician
    • Leslie Lemke, blind American musician
    • Jonathan Lerman, American artist
    • Thristan Mendoza, Filipino marimba prodigy
    • Jerry Newport is an author, savant, and has Asperger's. His wife, Mary
      Newport, is also a savant on the autistic spectrum
    • Derek Paravicini, blind British musician
    • James Henry Pullen, gifted British carpenter
    • Matt Savage, U.S. autistic jazz prodigy
    • Henriett Seth-F., Hungarian autistic savant, poet, writer and artist
    • Tito Mukhopadhyay, author, poet and philosopher with Severe Autism


As well as these people, who are speculated to have had autism based on biographical studies by Michael Fitzgerald:

Michael Fitzgerald, of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, has speculated about historical figures with autism in numerous journal papers and at least three books: The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts,[4] Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger's Syndrome[5] and Autism and Creativity, Is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability?[6]

Fitzgerald speculated the following were autistic in The Genesis of Artistic Creativity:

Writers – Hans Christian Andersen, Lewis Carroll, Bruce Chatwin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Melville, George Orwell, Jonathan Swift and William Butler Yeats.
Philosophers – A.J. Ayer, Baruch de Spinoza, Immanuel Kant and Simone Weil.
Musicians – Bela Bartok, Ludwig van Beethoven, Bob Dylan, Glenn Gould, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Erik Satie.
Painters – Vincent van Gogh, L.S. Lowry, Jack B. Yeats and Andy Warhol.

SOURCE, and includes more detailed list:

Some of these may be repeats, but it's a repost of a previous post I made that included Famous Autistics. I'm reposting because the list has been updated.

Historical famous people
Jane Austen, 1775-1817, English novelist, author of
Pride and Prejudice (see above)
Béla Bartók, 1881-1945, Hungarian composer
Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827, German/Viennese composer
AMENDED Alexander Graham Bell, 1847-1922,
Scottish/Canadian/American inventor of the telephone
Anton Bruckner, 1824-1896, Austrian composer
Henry Cavendish, 1731-1810, English/French scientist, discovered the composition of air and water
Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886, US poet
Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, US inventor
Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, German/American theoretical physicist
Henry Ford, 1863-1947, US industrialist
Kaspar Hauser, c1812-1833, German foundling, portrayed in a film by
Werner Herzog
Oliver Heaviside, 1850-1925, English physicist
Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, US politician
Carl Jung, 1875-1961, Swiss psychoanalyst
Franz Kafka, 1883-1924, Czech writer
Wasily Kandinsky, 1866-1944, Russian/French painter
H P Lovecraft, 1890-1937, US writer
Ludwig II, 1845-1886, King of Bavaria
Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1868-1928,
Scottish architect and designer
NEW Gustav Mahler, 1860-1911,
Czech/Austrian composer
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791, Austrian composer
Isaac Newton, 1642-1727, English mathematician and physicist
Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher
Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, British logician
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, Irish playwright, writer of Pygmalion, critic and Socialist
Richard Strauss, 1864-1949, German composer
Nikola Tesla, 1856-1943, Serbian/American scientist, engineer, inventor of electric motors
Henry Thoreau, 1817-1862, US writer
Alan Turing, 1912-1954, English mathematician, computer scientist and cryptographer
Mark Twain, 1835-1910, US humorist
Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch painter
Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1889-1951, Viennese/English logician and philosopher

Historical people prominent in the late twentieth century (died after 1975)
Isaac Asimov, 1920-1992, Russian/US writer on science and of science fiction, author of Bicentennial Man (see above)
Hans Asperger, 1906-1980, Austrian paediatric doctor after whom Asperger's Syndrom is named
John Denver, 1943-1997, US musician
Glenn Gould, 1932-1982, Canadian pianist
Jim Henson, 1936-1990, creator of the Muppets, US puppeteer, writer, producer, director, composer
Alfred Hitchcock, 1899-1980, English/American film director
NEARLY NEW Howard Hughes, 1905-1976, US billionaire
Andy Kaufman, 1949-1984, US comedian, subject of the film Man on the Moon
L S Lowry, 1887-1976, English painter of "matchstick men"
Charles Schulz, 1922-2000, US cartoonist and creator of Peanuts and Charlie Brown
Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, US artist
Contemporary famous people
Woody Allen, 1935-, US comedian, actor, writer, director, producer, jazz clarinettist
Tony Benn, 1925-, English Labour politician
Bob Dylan, 1941-, US singer-songwriter
Joseph Erber, 1985-, young English composer/musician who has Asperger's Syndrome, subject of a BBC TV documentary
Bobby Fischer, 1943-, US chess champion
Bill Gates, 1955-, US global monopolist
Genie, 1957-?, US "wild child" (see also L'Enfant Sauvage, Victor, above)
Crispin Glover, 1964-, US actor
Al Gore, 1948-, former US Vice President and presidential candidate
Jeff Greenfield, 1943-, US political analyst/speechwriter, a political wonk
David Helfgott, 1947-, Australian pianist, subject of the film Shine
Michael Jackson, 1958-, US singer
Garrison Keillor, 1942-, US writer, humorist and host of Prairie Home Companion
Kevin Mitnick, 1963-, US "hacker"
John Motson, 1945-, English sports commentator
NEW John Nash, 1928-, US mathematician (portrayed by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, USA 2001)
Keith Olbermann, 1959-, US sportscaster
Michael Palin, 1943-, English comedian and presenter
Keanu Reeves, 1964-, Lebanese/Canadian/US actor
Oliver Sacks, 1933-, UK/US neurologist, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings
James Taylor, 1948-, US singer/songwriter
Writers on autism
Gunilla Gerland, 1963-, Swedish
Temple Grandin, 1947-, US
Wendy Lawson, 1952-, English/Australian
Edgar Schneider, 1932-, US
Donna Williams, 1963-, Australian/English


I don't believe Charles Schultz (creator of the Peanuts comic strip) was on the lists, but it's said that the famous comic strip writer based Charlie Brown on himself, and that he had Asperger's Disorder.


drina said...

That is just insane how many famous people/GENIUSES have this, very eye opening!!!

Brillig said...

Fascinating! I had no idea! My family is very new to autism and just beginning to wrap our brains around it. I had no idea so many famous people were on spectrum.