Autism Spectrum Australia

Famous faces from Aspie cases

  • Posted: 10/04/2014
  • Author: Thomas Kuzma
  • Comments: Loading.. .

Hi ho readers! On Tuesday my peers and I went to the Aspect National Recognition Awards. There was fun to be had, and even though only some of us left with trophies, I like to feel that we all left as winners. It is truly amazing what people on the spectrum are capable of.

Which got me thinking about famous people throughout history who have autism. These aren’t in any particular order, but I’m sure there will be surprises along the way. Some of these people have had a diagnosis of autism, others haven’t, but from known sources have been said to be on the spectrum.

Temple Grandin

To kick off the list, we have the wonderfully talented Temple Grandin. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Temple’s mind works visually, in pictures. When she looks at something she can see how it works. She decided to pursue fascination with cows by going into the field of animal husbandry. Using her different thought patterns she was able to create her designs for a new dip for cattle, altering slaughterhouses and making the process easier for cows and more humane. She is now known for her work in the livestock industry and as an activist for autism rights. Her TED talk can be viewed on youtube [}.

John Elder Robison

Our second person on this list is also an autism rights activist. John Elder Robison isn’t just an activist; he is an inventor, an engineer, a public speaker and a memoirist. He created the signature guitars used by the band ‘KISS’- guitars that would illuminate, breathe fire and launch rockets. But his greatest achievement would be the work he has done for the autism community. John has written several books on autism including ‘Look me in the Eye’, Being Different’ and ‘Raising Cubby’. He has been to different countries talking about what it’s like being on the spectrum; I even met him at the Australia Pacific Autism Conference last year. His Blog can be viewed here.

Dan Harmon

If your funny bone is as much used as mine, you’ll have seen the show ‘Community’. During the show’s inception, Dan Harmon wanted to create a character called Abed who had Aspergers. During his research he realised he had a lot of traits of someone who is on the spectrum. Dan Harmon and John Elder Robison are both people who didn’t realise they might have the condition until they were adults. With Dan’s great intellect he was able to conceive the shows ‘Community’ and ‘Rick and Morty’. He also has a weekly podcast where he talks about his strange adventures. It’s called Harmontown and is not for the faint of heart.

Stephen Wiltshire

While we are in the realm of the creativity, let’s move on to Stephen Wiltshire. This man must be a superhero or something because there should be comic books about his fantastic pieces of art. Stephen Wiltshire was diagnosed at the age of three. Just like Temple Grandin he had delayed speech.  At the age of 11 he drew a perfect aerial view of London after one helicopter ride, right down to the finest of details including the number of windows per building. Now famous, Stephen has drawn famous cities around the world, from Rome to Sydney. One of his works of Sydney reside in our head office at Aspect.

Andy Warhol

I decided to finish with an historical Aspie. A man whom some might say has a love for Campbell’s soup. For those who don’t know about soup or Fauvism I am of course speaking of the talented Andy Warhol.

Now it’s hard to diagnose a deceased person, but by looking at the actions from his life, we paint a picture that shows us autistic tendencies. Andy Warhol had plenty of works that depicted repetition. He  became famous by using Fauvism and repetition with pictures of famous celebrities of that time, including Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. It was stated that he had problems socialising; that he would use a minimal amount of words when talking. He had an obsession with the uniformity of consumer goods and he had trouble trying to remember friends. These factors makes us believe that he was somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Well, this has been part 1 of a great list of people (or people believed to be) on the autism spectrum – look out for part 2 over the next few weeks. And feel free to send me your suggestions in the comments below – what talented people on the spectrum would be on your list?

So I guess that wraps it up for this week. I’m celebrating my birthday this weekend and for those who’ve seen ‘The Lego Movie’, I’m looking forward to Taco Tuesday! For those who aren’t celebrating birthdays or tacos, I say make this weekend your own, have fun and at the end of Sunday just make sure you called this weekend, your weekend.

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Famous faces from Aspie cases