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Autistic Celebrity collage: (left to right, top then bottom rows) Daryl Hannah, Darius McCollum, Dan Aykroyd, Julia (Sesame Street), Satoshi Tajiri (田尻 智), Hannah Gadsby, Susan Boyle, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Talia Grant and Greta Thunberg.

The pathology paradigm that dominates the way western society perceives neurodivergence would have us believe that successful people, especially those in the public eye, tend to be neurotypical.

This view is completely decimated by the reality of successful people with neurodivergences (see also famous people with bipolar). In the case of autism spectrum divergences, society's stereotypes of asociality tend to preclude many celebrities from being open about their diagnoses. Even comedians, who are often stereotyped as being on the spectrum, receive harsh backlash when they openly disclose that they believe they are autistic[1].

"Whenever someone says, “autism made me the success I am today,” in whatever way they mean, and in whatever field . . . we take a step toward recognizing that autism confers both gift and disability on us.  Society needs us, but we also need society – or at least its respect and resources.  For the broader public to see examples of autistic strength can only be good."

- John Elder Robison[1]

Confirmed Examples

Here we list examples of people who have confirmed that they are autistic or have an autism spectrum neurodivergence. We include only celebrities whose fame is not directly related to their autism advocacy (e.g. not Temple Grandin or John Elder Robison).

List form: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dan Aykroyd, Elon Musk, Daryl Hannah, Courtney Love, Gary Numan, Susan Boyle, Hannah Gadsby, Jim Jefferies, 田尻 智 Satoshi Tajiri, Roseanne Barr, David Byrne, Dan Harmon, Dr Dawn Prince-Hughes, Adam Young, Craig Nicholls, Pip "Ladyhawke" Brown, Greta Thunberg, Vernon L. Smith, Chris Packham, 東田 直樹 Higashida Naoki, Abz Love, Anne "The Governess" Hegerty, Clay Marzo, Heather Kuzmich, Alexis Wineman, Michael Burry, Darius McCollum, Annie Lederman, Talia Grant.

Trigger Warning: autistic m-rderers in collapsed (hidden) section beneath this line.

Hinted Cases

(16+ Content: This page contains adult discussions of Autistic Celebrities and should not be read by anyone below the ages of 16-18. CW: 'armchair diagnosis' of hinted cases of potentially autistic celebrities - unconfirmed speculations on neurodivergence)

Because of the stereotypes around autism, many celebrities do not openly state whether they are autistic, but have given signs to this effect.

  • Eminem AKA Marshall Mathers (describes having Asperger's in recent album)[32]
  • Tim Burton (diagnosed by wife, Helena Bonham-Carter)[4]
  • Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino (hinted an obsession with Asperger's-focused literature)[33]
  • Keanu Reeves (was dyslexic, has insomnia and is rumoured to have shown autistic signs as a child)[34]

Others have had hints or speculations made by others about them, in the case of living celebrities this is 'armchair diagnosis' and is discouraged, however in the case of popular figures who have passed away before a diagnosis could ever be made, this is less controversial. Here we include some of the latter:

Comorbid Associations

(see also Autism Comorbidities and |Wikipedia:/en/Conditions comorbid to autism spectrum disorders>)

Some neurological conditions are heavily comorbid with autism and hence the probability of people with these conditions also being autistic is greatly increased relative to the broader population.

  • Synaesthesia. Overall prevalence 0.1% to 7%[40], autistic prevalence ~19%[40].
  • Natal teeth. Overall 1/700 to 1/30,000[41], autistic prevalence ~44/54 (for specific gene)[42]
  • ADHD. Overall 3.4% to 7.1%, autistic prevalence 30-50%[5], 18% ADHD prevalence of autistic traits, compared to 0.87% for non-ADHD[6].
  • OCD. Overall 1.2-2.3%[43], autistic prevalence 'twice as likely'[44], prevalence of Autism in OCD 'four times as likely'[44].
  • Epilepsy. Overall 0.05%[45], autistic prevalence up to 40%[46] (16-54%)[47]

Due to these, certain celebrities can be identified as having a higher likelihood of being autistic than others.

Other synaesthetes are listed here, as well as some suspected ones (some listed below):

More people with epilepsy include those described below:

"Hugo Weaving, Sir Isaac Newton, Vincent Van Gogh, Napoleon Bonaparte, Neil Young, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Danny Glover, Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Alfred Nobel, Julius Caesar, Leonardo Da Vinci, Aristotle, Edgar Allen Poe, Alfred the Great, Theodore Roosevelt, Lewis Carrol, Bud Abbott, George Frederick Handel, Richard Burton, Charles V of Spain, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Hannibal, Pythagoras, James Madison, Lord Byron, Martin Luther, Peter Tchaikovsky, Sir Walter Scott, Truman Capote, Socrates and Chanda Gunn."[58]

Similar Diagnoses

Other diagnoses such as bipolar[59] are much more commonly given to adults who are seen as "functioning" in their daily lives, due to stereotypes surrounding autism. Hence, it is quite possible that many of the extensive list of celebrities with bipolar, may also be autistic. Some are included below:

Lily Allen, Russell Brand, Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears, Benga, Kurt Cobain, Sinead O'Connor, Chris Brown, Demi Lovato, Francis Ford Coppola ("manic depression" at the time), Carrie Fisher, Larry Flynt (Hustler magazine mogul), Stephen Fry, Sia (Australian musician), Mel Gibson, Halsey (US bisexual pop singer), Charles Hamilton (US rapper), Linda Hamilton (Terminator actress), Ernest Hemingway (US journalist/novelist), Vivien Leigh (Gone With The Wind actress), Ada Lovelace (first computer programmer and daughter of Lord Byron), Lou Reed, Nina Simone, Ted Turner, David Walliams (UK comedian), Catherine Zeta-Jones and Amy Winehouse.

Celebrities diagnosed with ADHD (as adults or children) include:

Michael Phelps (US olympic swimmer), Karina Smirnoff (US dancer), Howie Mandel (TV host and comedian), Adam Levine, Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, Simone Biles (US olympic gymnast), Solange Knowles[60], Jim Carey, Ty Pennington, James Carville, Pete Rose (US Baseballer), Michelle Rodriguez (US actress), Jamie Oliver[61], Channing Tatum, Lisa Ling (US journalist), will.i.am (US musician)[62], Loyle Carner (English musician), Bex Taylor-Klaus (US actress)[63], Terry Bradshaw (former NFL quarter-back)[64], Paul Orfalea (US Founder of Kinko's)[65], Caitlin Jenner (former US olympian)[66], Ryan Gosling[67].

Autism in Science

Popular scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has commented that he "suspect[s] as many as 10% of [his] scientific colleagues fall somewhere on the spectrum."[68]

It has also been shown that students studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) have significantly higher rates of autism in their families[69] as well as higher likelihood of being autistic themselves[70].

Historical Figures

Since psychoanalysis has only existed for the past century, making inferences about the neurodivergent traits of historical figures is difficult and imprecise, but there are several figures who have reasonable evidence to suggest they were autistic.

Links

|disabled-world.com://Famous People with Aspergers Syndrome

References

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