FAMOUS CASES OF ASPERGER'S
syndrome is sometimes viewed as a syndrome with both advantages
and disadvantages, and notable adults with Asperger's syndrome or
autism have achieved success in
their fields. Prominent Aspergers syndrome-diagnosed individuals
include Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith, electropop rocker
Gary Numan, Vines frontman Craig Nicholls, and Satoshi Tajiri, the
creator of Pokémon.
Colorado State University professor and author,
Grandin, was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and has used
her autism to her advantage in her profession as an animal behaviorist
specializing in livestock handling. Other cases include:
• Dan Aykroyd, comedian and actor: he stated he
has Asperger's, but some feel he was joking
• William Cottrell, student who was imprisoned
for fire-bombing SUV dealerships
• Dawn Prince-Hughes, PhD, primate anthropologist, ethologist, and
• Judy Singer, Australian disability rights activist
• Liane Holliday Willey, author of various Asperger books and an
• Luke Jackson, author of Freaks, Geeks and Aspergers Syndrome
• Bram Cohen, inventor of BitTorrent, claims to have diagnosed himself
Well known adults with unspecified types of autism
• Daryl Hannah, American actress (Splash,
Blade Runner and Kill Bill)
• Christopher Knowles, American poet
• Matthew Laborteaux, actor on Little House on the Prairie
• Katherine McCarron, autistic child murdered at the age of three
by her mother.
• 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
• Birger Sellin, author from Germany.
Speculation on others who may have had Asperger's
Some Aspergers syndrome researchers speculate
that well-known figures, including Albert
Einstein, Isaac Newton, Glenn Gould, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and
Stanley Kubrick, had Asperger syndrome because they showed some
Aspergers syndrome-related tendencies or behaviors, such as intense
interest in one subject, or social problems.
Einstein's brain was investigated after his death.
Einstein did not start talking until he was three and he frequently
repeated sentences obsessively up to the age of seven. As an adult
his lectures were notoriously confusing. Further abnormalities in
the Sylvian fissure could possibly be associated with autism.
During his education Einstein was very successful
at Physics and mathematics but did less well in some other subjects.
At 16 he failed history and language examinations for the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology. This can demonstrate science ability
with poorer language skills. Isaac Newton showed similar genius
and similar difficulties to Einstein. Suggesting similar causes
is speculative as there is no knowledge of the physiology of Newton’s
brain. Some have considered a post-mortem diagnosis
of autism for Einstein.
Autistic rights activists use such speculative
diagnoses to argue that it would be a loss to society if people
with Aspergers syndrome were cured. Speculative diagnoses, especially
posthumous ones, remain controversial, however.
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