Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates and relates to others. It alters world view. As it is a spectrum condition, all sufferers share certain traits, but there is a range of different ways that these traits are expressed and experienced.
People with Autism are found across all groups of society, and indeed some people with autism have risen to become true successes in their chosen field, through their own talents and from the support and encouragement of those around them. Famous people with autism have made their mark in many fields of influence.
9. Matthew Laborteaux
Matthew was best known for his role of Albert Quinn Ingalls in the hit NBC series Little House on the Prairie from 1978 to 1983. He had been solidly working from the age of seven in commercials and guest appearances in television shows and film, his most prominent film role being that in Deadly Friend in 1986.
Still active in acting now, he does voice acting work for video games, animation and advertisements.He battled a congenital heart disorder at a young age, and recovered from that whilst still being diagnosed with autism. In 1992 he and his brother created a charity, called the Youth Rescue Fund, designed to open up youth shelters across the US.
8. Richard Borcherds
Richard Borcherds is an award-winning English mathematician, famed for his work in infinite-dimensional algebras, group theory, and number theory. Although not officially diagnosed, he is considered by many to suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome which falls in the Autism Spectrum.
Coming from a family where the father was a physicist and his siblings also becoming mathematicians, from an early age he showed proficiency in math and chess, even eschewing a chance to become a Grand Master at chess because it became ‘more about the completion rather than playing for fun’. With such a rare intellect he studied and taught at Cambridge University, and at Berkley.
7. Daryl Hannah
Most will recognize the name of this actress from such films as Kill Bill, Splash, and Blade Runner. One of the most famous autistic people, she was diagnosed as a child with ‘borderline autism’, and credits her interest in acting as starting at an early age when she watched movies whilst suffering from insomnia.
She is also an accomplished theater actor and cinematographer, as well as being an ardent supporter of environmental issues, centering around self-sufficiency. She is so committed to these causes she has been arrested a number of times and even jailed for taking part in demonstrations.
6. Dan Ackroyd
The Canadian comic actor, famous for a host of films, Saturday Night Live, and The Blues Brothers has stated he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. His career has been long and varied, focusing mostly on comedy and music. He has appeared on many television shows and starred in films such as Ghostbusters.
Apart from a broad resume of acting roles, he has also written many of the productions he starred in, and his passion for blues music is never far from the surface. He helped start Blue Line Foundation, which aims to rebuild 400 flood damaged properties in New Orleans, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
5. Satoshi Tajiri
This Japanese video game designer, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, is most famous as the creator of Pokemon – the ubiquitous video game, card game, entertainment, and merchandising juggernaut.
His success at Nintendo was inspired from a young edge by his love of collecting insects. When he got older, he developed a passion for arcade games, going on to edit a ‘fanzine’. Even though he had a less than stellar academic career, when he acquired the inspiration for linked handheld consoles, he revived the flagging market for Nintendo.
4. Gary Numan
The British singer and songwriter was only recently diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger’s. He had wondered why he had always had such trouble interacting with people. Throughout a long career, he has had many memorable hits with different bands and as a solo artist. His commitment to his specific type of music, which mixes electronic tones with that of punk, is widely acclaimed and imitated.
3. Stephen Wiltshire
Stephen is an amazing architectural artist who is able to reproduce real life buildings in a drawing from his own memory. He can recreate the the smallest detail from memory after only seeing the subject once. In his early years Stephen was mute, but when he started school he managed to convey an enthusiasm for art, and with the support and encouragement of his teachers began to flourish, demonstrating the uncanny talent he is now known.
Now he has a permanent gallery, has had numerous exhibitions and released books of his art that have been best sellers. He has also received an MBE for Services to Art in Britain.
2. Hikari Oe
This Japanese composer is classed as high-functioning autistic. When he was born he was severely developmentally disabled, but he became motivated by music after hearing a bird call, and imitating it. His parents saw the spark of interest, and encouraged him via music tutoring and piano lessons. As such, even though he rarely talks, he communicates using his music. As an adult, he composes chamber music and has sold millions of copies of his first CD in the first few years of release.
1. Tito Mukhopadhyay
Tito was diagnosed in early childhood with severe or low functioning non-verbal autism. He has been able to provide real insight into dealing with autism to scientists and the world media through writing, which, along with reading was taught to him by his mother.
Together with his mother, he traveled to the US to teach these methods of communication which are known as the Rapid Prompting method. An accomplished author, Tito has released a collection of prose, poetry, and philosophy giving a keen insight into the world as it is seen through an autistic person’s eyes.