According to the CDC, roughly 1% of the world population suffers from the autism spectrum. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also opines that prevalence in the United States stands at 1 in 59 births. Bloomberg highlights that autism costs over $2 million of a patient’s life.
Different degrees of harshness characterize Autism. Did you know that even Asperger’s Syndrome is under the brolly of autism?
Some of those suffering from this condition lead to fair lives. Others have reached levels of celebrity status and fame.
Before looking at the top 20 popular people with autism, let us first look at some of the common characteristics of the condition:
Communication/social traits – Despite having a desire for family or friends, one has difficulty in initiating and/or maintaining close relationships. Secondly, people have challenges reading social or non-verbal cues and/or using/understanding social rules. Folks suffering from autism also tend to be socially naïve. Often, they are taken advantage of, bullied or rejected. They have single-sided conversations. Some of them might appear overly extroverted or shy. They are avoidant of social events or contact and might experience heightened anxiety in social situations.
Cognitive traits – In terms of cognitive traits, a person with this condition might have associated learning disabilities such as non-verbal learning disability. Patients have difficulty seeing ”whole-to-parts” and ”parts-to-whole” relationships. They prefer factual/technical information over the abstract. On the positive side, such patients boast high verbal scores when it comes to cognitive assessment.
Behavioral traits – When it comes to behavioral traits, autism victims might respond poorly to restrictions, lack of structure, transitions, sensory stimuli, and changes. They are fond of repetitive movements such as pacing, rocking, and jumping. Another behavioral trait is an exaggerated emotional response to situations. These folks are inflexible, rule-bound behavior and rigid.
Associated challenges – Some of the traits that characterize this include poor organizational skills, gross/fine motor deficits, Tourette/tics syndrome, attentional difficulties, and depression/anxiety.
The following are 20 famous people with autism:
Courtney is a popular singer/songwriter, artist, and actress who has been nominated for numerous Grammy Awards. She is a widow of Kurt Cobain, a renowned grunge singer. Her star started shining in her own right. At age 9, she was diagnosed with autism in a mild form according to her 1994 Rolling Stone interview. As a child, she had countless struggles.
Part of her issues was at home and others at school. Courtney was also suspended from a number of institutions because of delinquent behaviors and drug abuse. It took her several years to rise above the issues. After many years of grappling with different issues, she made a good life for herself, earning celebrity status in the process.
As a musician, she has performed at countless benefit events. In many 2011, she attended the Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation gig for domestic violence, rape, and child abuse victims. She bequeathed six vinyl records from her husband’s personal collection for auction at the event.
In addition to that, Love has had a major impact on female-fronted alternative performers and acts. Her premier art collection was in May 2012, at New York’s Torres Collaborations.
You can learn more about her in her book Courtney Love: The Real Story.
Hannah debuted on the screen in Brian de Palma’s supernatural horror movie The Fury. This American actress is popular for her roles in Roxanne, Splash and Blade Runner. The diagnosis of autism in Daryl happened when he was a child.
The fact that autism detections were uncommon in those days, it was somewhat novel. Other celebrities her age were diagnosed either as adults or by others based on their behaviors.
Hannah was unsocial. She calmed herself down by rocking herself, which is a common sign of autism. Although she grew up to become a popular actress, this artist never enjoyed being center stage. In her adult life, she has focused much of her efforts on advocating for the environment.
According to her, the condition resulted in challenges to manage the different societal demands of being a figure in Hollywood. She confided in Women’s Weekly that she has certain tricks to help her cope.
In 2009’s Britain’s Got Talent audition, Susan Boyle shocked the world an out-of-this-world rendition of I Dreamed a Dream. In addition to enjoying a huge following, this artist has sold millions of record-breaking albums and extensively toured the world.
For quite some time, she did not realize that she was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. However, clues such as emotional withdrawal, anxiety, and trouble with eye contact were everywhere. It all made sense when her doctor notified her of the disorder. Her Scottish specialist advised her that she did have brain damage as had been claimed earlier.
The diagnosis did not take a toll on her. During one of her many interviews, she told the Guardian that the condition could not define her. She said, ”I have lived with this condition for long. I now feel relaxed about myself following the diagnosis. People will now have a greater understanding of why I do the things and who I am.”
Now here is one who definitely is not speculation. Don’t know who Dan is? He was the executive producer and creator of TV’s Community as well as the insanely weird animated hit series Rick and Morty.
Harmon is a highly talented artist boasting different creative skills including acting, producing and writing. While making a popular comedy TV series, Community, on NBC, he stumbled upon an astounding finding during character and research development. Harmon told Wired Magazine that he looked deeply into Asperger’s symptoms.
According to the actor, the more he researched, the more conversant he became with the symptoms. Following more research, he self-diagnosed as having the condition. When he visited his doctor, he confirmed his fears.
Dan’s case is proof of the creative nature of individuals suffering from autism.
When Saturday Night Live hit the screens in 1975, Dan was among the original cast members. He was among some SNL stars that used the show to propel them to greater heights. After performing a famous musical sketch with his cast-mate John Belushi, like Blues Brothers, the duo took the concept a notch higher. They formed an actual band. A hit film and album followed.
American actor, Dan Aykroyd, is famous for his stint as a comedian on movies such as Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers. As aforementioned, he was also a popular comedian on Saturday Night Live (1975-1979). The Guardian opines that a psychiatrist established that this artist had Asperger’s. This was after he turned to him regarding the signs of the obsessive-compulsive syndrome.
According to the comedian, the condition has helped him creatively. He also added that his fascination with law administration and flickers played a huge role in his success on Ghostbusters.
Although there has never been an explicit statement that Woody Allen, an Oscar winner three times, is on the Autism spectrum. Allen and different experts agree that he is on it. Quirky ways characterize the popular musician, actor, director and writer.
He stated that he is neurotic in a benign way because of his countless neurotic habits. For instance, he stated that he is not into going into elevators or through tunnels. Additionally, he suggested that he prefers the shower’s drain to be at the center and not the middle.
Just like many others on this list who have not allowed the condition to dictate their terms of life, Woody also took the ailment head-on. Despite being on the spectrum, he is an accomplished director.
Wait a minute! Even Tim Burton the beloved director behind films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands is autistic? Even though he has never refused or agreed he suffers from autism, Helena, his long-time partner believes Tim is autistic.
According to her, through her extensive research on an autistic character for a certain film, she experienced an ”a-ha moment.” She believes that autistic people have dedication and application. Carters claimed that at times she talks to her partner and he does not hear what she has to say.
She believes that the condition makes Tim a fantastic father due to his amazing sense of imagination and humor. Carter opines that her husband sees things other people cannot, because of autism.
John Elder Robison
When John, a bestselling author, was a child, the Asperger’s Syndrome was not that popular. As a kid, he was punished often for ”laziness” and ” misbehaving.” It was not until his adulthood that a doctor suggested to him that autism might be a possibility.
According to Robison, having the information changed his life completely. He opines that while it took hard work and time, having the information of why and how he was different drastically changed his life. 2007 saw him publish his earnest biography, Look My in the Eye.
His publication turned out to be a colossal bestseller instantaneously. Today, he continues to talk and write about his experiences with the condition. He remains a tireless advocate for those suffering from the ailment.
Hailing from Hawaii, Clay entered the spectrum as a kid. Apparently, this made a little difference to him and his parents. Clay’s mother said that she would never give her son a label. She said, ”My son’s natural aptitude became clear. I observe his acumen every day.”
Immediately after winning the Statewide championship in the 200m Freestyle swimming category at 10 years, Clay decided to only pay attention to surfing, his chief passion. As a teenager, he won countless competitions. A film, by the name ‘’Just Add Water,’’ revolved around him.
When he was 15, he got two perfect 10s in the National Scholastic Surfing Association – which is an unprecedented accomplishment by any standards. As a grownup, he remains a force to reckon with in the world of competitive surfing.
Watching this professional doing his thing off the beautiful coast of Maui is amazing, to say the least. He is proof that autism is not an inability. Clay is truly talented.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jerry is the son of Kalman and Betty Seinfeld. This American thespian, writer, creator, and comedian is popular for his role in a semi-fictionalized version of himself in Seinfeld. He wrote and created it with Larry David. Seinfeld aired on NBC from 1989 to 1998.
Seinfeld is famous for joking around. However, when serious, he’s always talking about autism. During an interview on USA Today, he said that on a very drawn-out scale, he is on the spectrum. Asked what he thinks are his markers, he responded, ”You know, sometimes I never pay attention to the right things.” ”I really struggle with basic social engagement.”
He went on to explain, ”I’m a very literal person. When folks to me and employ expressions, at times I do not know what they are actually saying. However, I do not see it as being dysfunctional. In my opinion, it is just an alternate mindset.”
Labyorteaux is an American voice, television and film actor. For his impressive work in animation, he is credited as Matthew Charles. Matthew starred as Albert on ”Little House on the Prairie.” Many people also know him for his voice (The Supreme King and Jaden Yuki) in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, 2005 – 2008.
Matthew was adopted at ten months. He had a hole in his heart. Although the hole healed, doctors diagnosed him as retarded or autistic. It was not until he was 3 that he began walking and 5 that he started talking.
Doctors suggested that institutionalization was the best option. It was unacceptable to his adoptive parents. They later discovered that he suffered from low blood sugar.
The popular artist would sleep standing in his bed. For a period of time, his foster parents would not get close to him or even dare touch the guy. Despite the challenges, he went on to become a highly popular actor. Currently, he partners with NGOs that provide help to disturbed young folks.
At age 15, doctors diagnosed Kuzmich with Asperger’s Syndrome. She spent most of the teenage years grappling with forming friendships and communicating. Kuzmich not only has trouble making eye contact and is socially awkward.
Heather was a contestant on season 9 of America’s Next Top Model. As much as she finished 5th on the popular show, Heather found massive success as a model and a student of video game design. She remains a darling of many up to today.
What makes her condition different from others on this list is the fact that she struggles to cope with the disability on national television.
Sir Anthony Hopkins
There is no doubt that Sir Anthony Hopkins features the top on the list of greatest living actors. He has won an Oscar for his role in the film ‘’The Silence of the Lambs.’’ Hopkins was diagnosed with an intense Asperger’s Syndrome.
When talking about how the condition affects his life, he says, ”I do not go to parties. I do keep many friends. However, that does not mean I do not like people.”
If you suffer from autism or you are an extensive researcher on the subject, then you must know Temple Grandin. She is a prolific author and a reputable professor at Colorado State University. Temple never shared the information until she was roughly four years.
Once she was diagnosed with the condition as a child, professionals advised that she be institutionalized. The good thing is that her parents had a different opinion. Ever since her diagnosis, Temple has turned out to be a force to reckon with within the animal sciences.
In addition to that, she has produced an award-winning biopic that focuses on her life. Time Magazine has named her as ”100 Most Influential People.”
While it has not been confirmed, autism experts opine that chances are high that Bill, among the world’s richest people, is on the spectrum. According to them, Gate’s habits such as monotone and short speech patterns paint to the condition. They also cite his weird inclination to dodge direct eye-to-eye contact. Thirdly, the experts reference the billionaire’s habit of rocking as he concentrates.
Based on their argument, it is highly likely that the tech billionaire is autistic.
On top of being on the spectrum, Tony is also blind. He got the two conditions because of getting too much oxygen after premature birth. By the time he was two years, he was already good with the piano. Many people quickly noticed that he was not your average toddler. Today, he has really excelled at music, playing more than 20 different musical instruments.
On top of that, Tony is also able to perform over 8,000 pieces by memory. Today, he travels worldwide performing in sold-out concerts. He shares his gifts with folks of all nationalities.
If you are an indie musician, you know Ladyhawke. Born as Phillipa Brown, this New Zealand musician suffered from different medical ailments as a child. The syndrome had not been detected until recently. Although she found it challenging to accept the harsh reality, she admits that it was the condition that made her seek music as therapy.
She opines that among her many obsessions during her childhood, music was one of them. Apparently, she did a great job of turning into a fulfilling and lucrative career.
He was a kid sensation that became a marvel when it comes to Jazz. By the time he was 6 years, he had already learned how to read and implement piano music. By the age of 8, Matta was already performing for the popular Jazz master, Dave Brubeck.
Doctors claimed that his autism was at abnormal levels. Later on, his disorder was diagnosed as pervasive development disorder. The syndrome never got in the way of Matt being popular. Actually, chances are high that it is exactly what helped him function at optimum levels in particular areas of his life.
Just like Matt Savage, Wineman was also diagnosed with PDD, the highest form of autism. Despite all this, she functioned normally in life. This beauty took part in the Miss Montana beauty pageant and emerged tops. She went on to represent her state at the nationals, earning the accolade of being the first female participant in the competition.
Due to the societal nervousness and pressure related to the luxurious pageant show, the condition can be made worse. However, that was not the case with Alexis as she managed herself superbly. The beauty’s composure was out of this world. Alexis is a solid testament that even folks with the syndrome can lead normal lives and be highly successful at whatever they set their mind on.
This man has experienced challenges adjusting to some happenings and things in life. For instance, he had challenges being sociable. Stanley evidenced countless traits associated with autism.
Not long ago, his doctor shared his diagnosis posthumously. This is after they examined the deceased behaviors and routine. Just like Alex, his success is proof that even with the condition, one can attain whatever he or she puts his efforts on.
Today, Stanley is one of the most respected and well-known filmmakers in the business.