• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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Celebrities With Asperger’s Syndrome

celebritiesMany parents are dismayed when they receive the news—their child has an autism spectrum disorder. Take heart, many famous and successful people have navigated the world despite, or maybe successful because of their Autism. In recent years some noted celebrities have shared their own autism diagnoses with the public.

Tim Burton, Hollywood Director

Hollywood director and film producer Tim Burton, together with his wife Helena Bohman-Carter, had one of those “a-ha moments” when watching a documentary film about Autism. Burton, although, not officially diagnosed, identifies himself as a self-diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Dan Aykroid, Actor

Actor Dan Aykroid has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. In an interview Aykroid stated that he was diagnosed as a preteen in the 1960’s. Some believe that he was joking, although, he stated he was not. This is a speculative statement considering Asperger’s Syndrome did not exist as a formal diagnosis in the United States until 1994. Whether Aykroid sees himself as autistic, or was diagnosed later than his previous statement is uncertain.

Darryl Hannah, Actress

Actress Daryl Hannah is best known for her performances in the films Splash, Blade Runner, Roxanne, Steel Magnolias, and Kill Bill. The socially awkward actress was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and is said to have avoided talk shows, and movie premiers to the point where she was blacklisted in Hollywood from being invited to certain events, due to the overwhelming sensory issues and social awkwardness which stemmed from her Autism.

James Durbin, Singer

James Durbin, singer and American Idol hopeful, competed on the popular television show during Season 10. Durbin was open about his Tourette’s and Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis. Durbin released his first album in 2011.

Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokemon

Satoshi Tajiri, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a child, and went on to create the most popular video game franchises in the world; Pokemon. Pokemon is said to be born of his childhood obsession, or “special interest” of bugs and video games.

The celebrities here have either shared their official diagnoses with the public, or their private thoughts and own “self-diagnosis”, where they recognize themselves in the symptoms and traits of the disorder. The public identify with and acknowledge being autistic. There are others famous people in the past that are thought to have autism spectrum disorders, of course of these we can only speculate. Other famous people with autism may include; Albert Einstein; Amadeus Mozart; Sir Isaac Newton; Charles Darwin; Thomas Jefferson; Michelangelo; Hans Christian Andersen; and Emily Dickinson.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.

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