Famous people with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is not a new phenomenon. In fact, they’ve always been here. What you may not know is who they are and how they were able to achieve their respective level of achievement.
In a world where doors are closed and opportunities limited to individuals with autism, it’s essential to acknowledge and highlight these stories. Otherwise, it’s easy to buy into the narrative that autism only looks one particular way. And often, that image isn’t a positive one.
In 2020, the CDC estimated that approximately 1 in 54 persons is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Now the Autism spectrum is broad, meaning that there are a variety of functioning levels under the ASD banner.
So it’s likely that you will find celebrities, entrepreneurs, rock musicians, singers, gamers, footballers, or other famous athletes within that spectrum.
Fame Isn’t the Goal
Now just because this post highlights famous people with autism doesn’t mean that fame is the end goal. That’s not what I’m getting at. What’s important about these stories is that they give inspiration and instill in us a reason to persevere and have hope.
It’s so easy to look at the end product of someone’s achievements while failing to see the intense struggle that preceded it. So though the challenges of autism are multifaceted, so are the encouraging examples.
Famous people with autism help others to see themselves in new ways. They help others understand that they aren’t alone. They give individuals with autism the opportunity to see their own potential and the possibilities at their disposal.
Understand that inspiration and examples go a long way. So the influence of these famous people has an important place and plays a significant role.
But before I put the spotlight on them, I know that some of you will end up saying, “Yes, these stories are great, but I need more than a success story. I need some real practical help.” Well, I get it. You’re at your wit’s end and you don’t know what to do.
Whether you’re overwhelmed with the ASD diagnosis or you need guidance to manage your child’s behavior, there is help. In my eBook Navigating Autism Spectrum Disorder, you’ll find many of the answers to your questions about adjusting to the ASD diagnosis. In addition, you’ll also learn the necessary skills to develop for independence and social integration. To get your copy of this eBook, click here.
Famous People With Autism
Now here’s a list of famous people with autism:
This Scottish singer who released her debut album in 2009 became a quick inspiration for many on the spectrum. Though diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome late in life, this was no obstacle for her to pursue her artistic career. To date, she’s had 7 albums and has inspired countless more worldwide!
Professor and author may not be the first thing you think of when you hear that someone has autism. Well, enter Temple Grandin! Her love for animals led her to study and earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and a Doctoral Degree. What’s amazing about her story is the drive that doesn’t settle. Her passion has led her to become an author, educator, activist, an influencer across the globe.
This Canadian actor/comedian was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was a child. At the time he had some early challenges which led to him getting expelled from school. Later in life, he dropped out of Carleton University before he completed his studies. He did, however, continue to pursue his love for comedy. Performing at local nightclubs, he honed his comedic skills. Eventually, his hard work paid off as he was able to land major television and movie roles.
This actress didn’t disclose until late in life that she was diagnosed with autism as a child. Having a painful childhood, she describes having lots of social anxiety as a young girl, often rocking to soothe herself. As a young adult, she went on to graduate from the University of Southern California School of Theatre and studied drama at the Goodman Theatre. She went on to feature and star in numerous movies spanning from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
This bug enthusiast took his passion for unique creatures and went on to create his own! Tajiri is most known for his creation of Pokemon. Satoshi credits autism as a contributing factor for his unique obsession with bugs and arcade games as a child. Though he flunked high school, his two years of education at Tokyo National College of Technology laid a foundation from which he would launch. He would go on to write and illustrate in magazines and did video coding. He went on to develop Pokemon, which is known worldwide.
Five different people and five different stories with the common thread of autism. All had their struggles. Some excelled in the traditional academic format and others didn’t. But each one had a passion and all were able to find a way to pursue it despite the challenges.
The path to achievement isn’t always clear or easy for that matter. However, if there’s anything we can learn from these individuals is that each one had an awareness and connection to a particular passion. We also learn that each had a commitment and was able to find an outlet to pursue that passion. Now that’s something we can all learn from!
A.D. Daisley holds a Masters Degree from the University of Central Florida and has been working in the field as a Behavior Analyst since 2005. He has provided services to children and adults with varying diagnoses such as autism, mental retardation, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). His scope of experience also includes coordinating therapy to individuals and families in conjunction with other supports including School Teachers, Adult Day Training Facility Staff (ADT’s) and Speech/Occupational therapists. He is the Director and Behavior Analyst at Alternative Outcomes since 2007. A.D is also the Director of Creátre, a non-profit organization that uses the arts for the purpose of skill training, outreach and to display community leadership.