Today’s Autistic Child Is Tomorrow’s Genius

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We aspire great things for our children.  As birthdays start creeping up we remember back when they were infants with fertile minds just waiting to be cultivated.  After receiving that devastating diagnosis of Autism, we let that potential slip away a bit, to focus on what our children need now, not so much what they could become one day.  When my son tells me he wants to be the world’s best paleontologist, and the world’s best chef, and the best zoo keeper, that potential rises again and we say “why not?”  Who’s to say my son can’t be all those things and more?  Certainly not Autism.  The only thing that will prevent him is denial of the opportunity to learn and grow everyday.  So with that, I came upon this article of Famous People with Autism and Asperger’s.  Hopefully one day my child and yours will be on this list.  Onward and upward! -Ed

Famous Autistic People


While a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can be a stressful event, parents should take heart in the fact that some of the world’s most talented, knowledgeable, and successful individuals are known or suspected of being among the ranks of famous autistic people. From the world’s most celebrated composers to heralded scientists, inventors, and mathematical geniuses, individuals with autism spectrum disorders or autistic traits have distinguished themselves throughout history with amazing levels of creativity and ability. In the words of Dr. Hans Asperger, a pioneer in the field of autism, “It seems that for success in science and art a dash of autism is essential.”

Famous People with Autism Under Speculation

Although autism was first given its name in the 1940s, it seems to have been present in the population throughout history. Many people who are said to have displayed the symptoms of autism lived and died before the means were available to definitively diagnose them as having an autism spectrum disorder. Still others who became prominent after autism was officially recognized were never tested. Consequently, while descriptions of these individuals may lead to the conclusion that autism was part of their lives, in many cases this theory can never be proven.

Autism in the Creative Arts

Among the ranks of those widely considered as famous autistic people are a number of world renowned musical composers. These include:

Famous writers make the list of celebrated personalities suspected of having autism as well. Among these are:

  • W. B. Yeats
  • George Orwell
  • Keith Joseph
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Hans Christian Andersen
  • Emily Dickinson

Suspected Autism in Science and Politics


A number of world famous scientists are thought to have been autistic, such as:

  • Albert Einstein
  • Henry Cavendish
  • Charles Darwin
  • Isaac Newton
  • Charles Richter
  • Alan Turing

Politicians, presidents, and world leaders, both famous and infamous are suspected of being on the autism spectrum, including well known names like:

Suspected Famous People with Asperger’s

In addition to those famous people who are believed to be autistic, there are also those who shows signs of Asperger’s syndrome. They include the following:

  • Dan Aykroyd-comedian and actor who stated he has Asperger’s, but many believe he was only trying to be funny.
  • Craig Nicholls-frontman of the band The Vines
  • Gary Numan-British singer and songwriter
  • Vernon L. Smith-Nobel Laureate in Economics
  • Satoshi Tajiri-creator of Pokémon

Confirmed Famous People with Autism

Darryl Hannah was diagnosed as borderline autistic.

As autism awareness and understanding reaches unprecedented levels, prominent people are less hesitant to proclaim their status on the autism spectrum. Among those celebrated personalities who have been diagnosed with varying forms of autism are a number of well known names such as:

  • Actor Matthew Laborteaux
  • Actress Daryl Hannah
  • Singer and songwriter Gary Numan
  • Musician Peter Tork
  • Composer Hikari Ōe
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author Tim Page
  • Author Elisabeth Hughes
  • U.S. autistic jazz prodigy Matt Savage
  • Singer Sarah Lonsert
  • American Idol frontrunner James Durbin

The list of famous autistic people goes on and on, lending credence to the theory held by many that the genes that contribute to autism are closely related to those that create genius. While it is true that autism can be very debilitating to many who must live with it, the intense or even obsessive interests that are among the most prominent of autistic traits have been at the root of many of the world’s most innovative inventions and amazing discoveries.


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