See also:    Autobiography    Parent Accounts of Autism   

The following pages and links lead to information about historic and living individuals whose personal characteristics are consistent with current definitions of autism and Asperger Syndrome. Some have an official diagnosis; many do not. I offer this material in order to provoke consideration of the persistence and role of autistic characteristics in society past and present.

Andre Marie Ampere, Mathematician
Dan Aykroyd, Comedian & Actor
Syd Barrett, Musician
Jeremy Bentham, Philosopher
Richard Borcherds, Mathematician
Tim Burton, Filmmaker
Steve Carlton, Baseball Player
Henry Cavendish, British Scientist
Bram Cohen, Software Developer
Joseph Cornell, Artist
Henry Darger, Artist
Tony DeBlois, Pianist
Nick Drake, Singer-Songwriter
Glenn Gould, Pianist & Composer
Temple Grandin, Livestock Handling Designer
Kaspar Hauser
Oliver Heaviside, Mathematician & Physicist
Paul Laffoley, Painter & Architect
L.S. Lowry, Artist
Helen Martins, Artist
Moondog (Louis Hardin), Composer
Moe Norman, Golfer
Gary Numan, Musician
William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, Fifth Duke of Portland
William James Sidis, Polymath
Vernon Smith, Economist
Stephen Spielberg, Filmmaker
Richard Stallman, Software Engineer
Nikola Tesla, Inventor
Alan Turing, Mathematician & Codebreaker
Andy Warhol, Artist
Blind Tom Wiggins, Pianist & Composer
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher

Internet Resources

Millers football fans have probably seen Ben. He is the young man who stands by the gate as the Millers run on to the field, slapping their shoulder pads and helmets, wishing them good luck. He does the same at halftime, and, when the time clock shows exactly 2:00 remaining, he gets up from his seat and gets back down to the field as the game ends. After the game, as the Millers hold their helmets high and sing the NHS fight song, Ben stands near the team and holds up his black and gold No. 1 Fan cap with them.
Bob Hansen, Noblesville Daily Times
He's only 4 feet tall and 8 years old. But Aidan Gold is already a veteran mountaineer who's left tracks on peaks in the Cascades, the Alps and the Himalayas. "This glacier here is higher than Mount Rainier, even though there are plants," Gold told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at the family home in north suburban Bothell, pointing out a dark line in a photo of the Himalayas' Island Peak. "The top of this is way higher than that." Aidan climbed 20,300-foot mountain with his father and several guides in November. His father, Warren Gold, said members of the Nepal Mountaineering Association told him Aidan is likely the youngest person to make the summit.
Associated Press
Adam Goucher, 12, of Gray Street in Clowne, took the exam at the same time as 15 and 16 year olds across the country -- and teachers now expect Adam to take his A-levels early, too. Staff at the Clowne school have described Adam's talent as 'exceptional', and this is the first time anyone at the school has taken a GCSE in year seven. "This is absolutely rare -- very, very rare. I have been teaching for 30 years and I have never come across this," said headteacher Don Spencer.
Worksop Today
We will address the frequency and ease with which Goldsmith's practice evokes the language and aura of psychological disorder, especially the wavelength of the spectrum of autism syndromes now identified as Asperger's Disorder.
Raymond McDaniel
Blackstock knows the world differently from most of us; if you are too correct to admit this, you miss the way his work compels, presses, argues, soars.
Emily Hall
It is difficult to imagine Mary-Minn Sirag without words. At 51, she talks incessantly, in a rich, low, singsong voice. Her command of the language is impressive, her vocabulary prodigious - a byproduct, perhaps, of the shelves and stacks of books lining the walls of almost every room of her River Road-area house. But at 1, 2, even 3 years old, she essentially was silent. Borderline catatonic as an infant, she didn't like to be held or touched. All of her milestones came late. She didn't sit up until she was 18 months old, didn't walk until after 2. As a toddler she would throw epic tantrums, hurling objects across the room. She had peculiar obsessions, such as the contents of women's handbags, and refused to use stairs.
Anne Williams, Register-Guard
"Mandy is what she is. She's beautiful. She's creative. She loves to go to college," said her father. The reality is, "she will probably always need some assistance," Becky Patton said. "But as parents, the biggest thing is to be an advocate for your child. You have to be an activist."
Jennifer Been, Fort Wayne News Sentinel
Both autistic, Mary Meinel-Newport and her husband Jerry stand with their cockatoo, whose characteristics exemplify those of an autistic child.
Nancy Motherway
An 18-year-old Asperger Syndrome (AS) patient, who exhibits autistic-like behavior and did not speak until he was 9 years old has been accepted by the prestigious National Taiwan University to study at its Department of Mathematics. Tsai Chun-cheng, who will be an NTU freshman this fall, is a typical AS patient and exhibits exceptional talent in math, thanks to his mother's encouragement and guidance.
CAN News (Taiwan)
To begin to answer these and many more questions, this paper shall look at three aspects of autistic autobiographical production and consumption. It will outline the history of autistic autobiography, it will demarcate this projects' definition of autistic autobiography - what texts are being included and excluded and why, it will examine the relationship between the individual experience and the collective experience in autobiography and it will look at how genre can be used in studying this field.
Irene Rose
This is a true story about Brooks Yanuchi, an autistic 7-year-old boy, who seems most at ease when he is with his family in the middle of winter at Denali National Park's Wonder Lake. The account, in the February issue of Backpacker Magazine, offers remarkable insight into the daily struggles of a Healy family that deals with Brooks' autism every day.
Kris Capps, News Miner
In fact, don't we all like to have other people address our interests? And don't we all - sooner or later - discover how irritatingly distracting other people and their talk can be? In this respect us typicals are the slow learners.
Dinah Murray
About Paul DeSavino, diagnosed with autism as a child, practices at his piano at a group home where he lives in New Milford, N.J. DeSavino, who turns 35 soon, is preparing for a performance for autism research.
Associated Press
Dena Gassner knew her son was going to be different after he was diagnosed with autism and learning disabilities. But the mother of two said she works hard to make sure that Patrick, 17, is different in positive ways. When Patrick learned that his church, Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, was organizing a mission trip to Nicaragua to repair and paint a school in Managua, he decided he would collect the toys in fast-food restaurants' kids meals and donate them.
Bartleby (the Scrivener, by Melville) in every way fits the pattern of a reasonably successful, coping, autistic adult, whose tragedy is that he almost succeeded in finding the structured environment and understanding personal supervisor he needed.
William Sullivan
This country has turned out its fair share of "original characters," as eccentrics were know in the 19th century. Daniel Boone made his own coffin and kept it under his bed. In Pennsylvania during the 1800s, a relatively young shopkeeper named Bishop Moffit made his own coffin. One day a man named Warren Snow, who Moffit didn't care for, entered his place of business. Seeing the coffin hanging over the checkout counter, Snow dared to inquire as why it had been made so far in advance of his likely death. Moffit looked up and replied: "I want everything dry and light so I can go over Hell just a-flying, so I won't have to stop down and see you."
George Ellison
Historical figures including Socrates, Charles Darwin, and Andy Warhol probably had a form of autism, says a leading specialist. He said: 'Asperger's syndrome provides a plus - it makes people more creative.'
British Broadcasting Corporation
If cars represented mathematical ability, Bobby Jacobs would whiz by too fast to determine his make and model. The 11-year-old weaves in and out of labyrinthine logic problems with the dexterity of a speedway champion. He rattles off prime numbers as if singing the lyrics to his favorite song on a Sunday drive. It's nothing for this lanky boy, who wears his favorite prime numbers -- 2477 and 5113 are two of them -- on his chest and never uses scratch paper, to crunch behemoth 18-digit numbers at a glance.
Penelope Carrington, Times-Dispatch
A seventh-grader at Cooperstown Central School confidently spelled his way to first place at the fourth annual Daily Star regional spelling bee Saturday. Michael Leonardo correctly spelled "condiment" to win the bee at the State University College at Oneonta's Goodrich Theatre. As the winner of the spelling bee, Michael will compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington in May.
Oneonta Daily Star
Kyle Lamare walked quietly up to the platform, placing his feet in the appropriate positions and grabbing the support bar behind his back. A serious calmness marked the 16-year-old's demeanor, his body poised like an athlete at the ready. Then the music kicked in, blasting from the speakers as the Plattsburgh High School student followed the arrows on the screen and stepped once, twice, three times, spinning around and stepping rapidly four, five, six and seven times, jump, spin and more pumping.
Steven Bartlett, Press Republican
I've got a quiet voice," says Daniel Tammet, in his gentle monotone. "I think it's because as a child I didn't speak very much. I used to put my fingers in my ears to feel the silence, which was like a lovely trickling motion in my head." His eyelids flutter at the memory. "It was hard for me to find my voice because I was, for so long, absorbed in my own world."
He was told that if he got a job at a fast-food restaurant, he'd be reaching his potential. But Craig didn't listen. In fact, he has far exceeded expectations.
Amy Oakes
He demonstrates a qualitative impairment in social interaction and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. It can be concluded that he met criteria for Asperger's disorder DSM-IV.
Michael Fitzgerald, Indian Journal of Psychiatry
Gordon presents as an enigma to historians. He found normal social interaction difficult. He did not relate well to his peer group; fellow officers found him difficult, and he could often be tactless.
Paul Mersh
'WB Yeats for example did very poorly at school. He failed to get into Trinity College and was described by his teachers as 'pedestrian and demoralised'. His parents were told he would never amount to anything,' said Professor Fitzgerald.
Deborah Condon
Was Don Quixote mad? In other words, should he really be considered a mental patient? I realise that the character, Alonso Quijano, and particularly his alter ego, Don Quixote, has been regarded as a model of illness, is a suitable subject for scientific study.
Núria Pérez
Simon Docking has seen more than his fair share of talented musicians over the years, but none of them prepared him for the enormous talent of an eight-year-old boy he met about six months ago. As a concert pianist, Sydney-born Docking has played on stages around the world. Between performances he also teaches piano in his adopted home city of Halifax, capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It was in this capacity that he met Tom*, a young boy who has composing skills that few adults can match.
Sydney Morning Herald
Sir George's other interests were varied, but his main passion was for the past. He was so devoted to his research that he maintained no fewer than seven studies, each littered with notes and books. Specific subjects were assigned to specially-made boxes. Some of his proposed antiquarian works had intriguing titles such as Wool-Gathering in Medieval Times and Since, Lepers' Squints, Domestic Manners in Sheffield in the Year 1250 and Acorns as an Article of Medieval Diet.
Everybody else understands what is necessary, and they all bend their energies to doing it. It is only Ewald who doesn't understand this, and therefore the men must keep coming and talking to him.
Jens Bjørneboe
It is illuminating to learn of people with similar characteristics to ourselves, especially when those people are successful or well-known.
I have listed here some well-known people who have shown some autistic or AS traits. Some may have autism or AS, in their mild or severe forms. Others may be elsewhere on the autistic continuum. And others listed may just be unusual individuals.
Richard G.
As much information as possible is provided including the name, birth and death dates, disability, and a description of some of their accomplishments.
Michael Scott's parents were told he "wouldn't get far" in the education system. But the 20-year-old Clayton West student has defied all the odds and been awarded a first class honours degree from Leeds University. Michael, of Dearne Park, has a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome. It affects his social interaction and his ability to interpret the body language and emotions which the majority of people take for granted.
Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Down a gravel road lined with blackberry bushes that devour discarded soda cans, no trespassing signs and the occasional old car, lives a woman who thinks in pictures and sound and would prefer not to meet you. Musician TR Kelley might like to know you, but the initial meeting might cause her to convulse, rock and crane her neck to avoid eye contact. She doesn't know how to take a phone message, but she can play along with a Thelonious Monk record. "I mainly stay away from society," she says. "I always have a pen and paper in case I get flustered."
Hinman is also a sculptor and teacher. And he's a person living with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. ''I always felt like I was different," said Hinman, 42, who was diagnosed three years ago. ''On one hand, I could do things, but on the other hand, I wasn't fitting in. People would take me like I was stupid." Having a name for his disability, Hinman said, ''takes off the pressure of having to be normal." And, it has allowed him to blossom as a blacksmith, toolmaker, sculptor, historical reenactor, and teacher.
Wendy Killeen, Boston Globe
Alonzo can see a fleeting image on a television screen of any animal, and in less than 20 minutes sculpt a perfect replica of that animal in three-dimensional accuracy. The wax animal is correct in each and every detail -- every fiber and muscle.
Darold Treffert
Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant. He can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations at breakneck speeds. But unlike other savants, who can perform similar feats, Tammet can describe how he does it. He speaks seven languages and is even devising his own language. Now scientists are asking whether his exceptional abilities are the key to unlock the secrets of autism.
Richard Johnson, The Guardian
It was a chance viewing of Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance on TV that inspired Matthew's first steps. "He always preferred music and would respond better if things were sung to him. He saw Michael Flatley on telly and could copy him closely. That was when he started dance lessons five years ago and it's just gone on from there." When he dances, the involuntary ticks he suffers as part of Aspergers just disappear, says his mum.
This Is Bradford
Smiling girls sparkled inside the Virginia Beach Convention Center on Sunday, their beaded costumes reminiscent of Olympic ice skating. Only they were readying for Junior Olympic baton twirling. Richard Calkin shined, and it wasn't just because of the glossy aquamarine short set that his mother, Judi, insisted he wear, reasoning, "You'll stand out." The 14-year-old stands out thanks to a two-minute, 30-second baton routine that combines flair with skill. He stands out even more because he's a guy in a gym overrun with makeup, jewelry, hairbrushes and giggles. Girls dominate this sport. Guys? Through the glitter, you might find a few, but generally they're as casually dressed as the spectators. "I want to do what I do as a twirler and be an ambassador to this sport for boys," said Calkin, of Milltown, N.Y., a twirler since age 2. "I want to bring more boys into it."
Virginian Pilot
'People everywhere want to be loved for who they are,' (Dawn Prince-Hughes) observed. 'Yet we work so hard passing as something we're not.'
Candace Chase
I let my instinct have its way and named the boy 'Hikari' (Japanese for 'Light'). My instinct was right. His existence has since illuminated the dark, deep folds of my consciousness as well as the bright side.
Dick Sobsey
Lovecraft was a precocious youth: he was reciting poetry at age two, reading at age three, and writing at age six or seven. As a boy Lovecraft was somewhat lonely and suffered from frequent illnesses, many of them apparently psychological.
S.T. Joshi
"We're not trying to solve the puzzle of autism with these photos," said David. "We're just trying to illuminate it. People are afraid of the word of 'autism,' and there is a lot of misunderstanding about what autism is. She was a misunderstood child and what we're trying to show in this exhibit is that she was a typical child in the family and not some sort of strange creature." Dana adds: "We also wanted to give some people a sense that these kids do grow up and become adults, and I think that's hard for some parents, and grandparents, of children with autism. I think something like this would have helped us better understand Annie when she was younger, being able to think about what she might be like when she was 24."
Shay Totten, Vermont Guardian
The story of Rosemary Kennedy's life, gets a bit unclear to me when I try to piece together all of the tiny snippets that have been written about her. Rosemary was said (in the majority of the articles I've read) to be "mentally retarded" and was lobotomized when she was 23. What very few of these articles bring up is the fact that her father, Joseph Kennedy had this done secretly and afterward told the family that Rosemary had went to a monastery to live her life for God. Instead, he put her in an institution to live out the rest of her life. (Supposedly, even her own mother did not know until 20 years after the fact!)
Patti Shepard
He created the entire subject of chemical thermodynamics. He wrote vector analysis. He invented statistical mechanics and developed it as far as it would go before quantum mechanics could take it further.
John Lienhard
Gibbs was educated at the local Hopkins Grammar School where he was described as friendly but withdrawn. His total commitment to academic work together with rather delicate health meant that he was little involved with the social life of the school.
J.J. O'Connor, E F Robertson
"I do have a disability," Crooks said. "It was severe in the beginning. Nowadays I barely have anything at all. The only disabilities I have are certain messages, I mess it up a little bit and speech impediment and some social skills. "My disabilities are very, very small." Crooks held his forefinger and thumb close together when he said that. His creative mind, however, is very, very large. Besides puppets, Crooks has done some cartoon animation and even created a few short films. He calls it his "duty" to produce family entertainment.
David Pencek, Norwich Bulletin
So often, Jordan Ackerson finds himself being defined by what he cannot do and by his limitations. But that is not how he defines himself.
Alandra Johnson
Sir Keith Joseph, the father of Thatcherism whose free market principles are still followed to some extent by Tony Blair, had a form of autism that is reflected in his political philosophy, a psychiatrist believes. The former Conservative education secretary, who was Mrs Thatcher's mentor in the 1970s and 1980s, had Asperger's syndrome, a condition that renders sufferers unable to interpret social situations or to empathise with other people, according to Michael Fitzgerald, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin.
Jeremy Laurance, Independent
Inside a dimly lit restaurant, a woman swirls a glass of red wine. A couple gaze into each other's eyes as if no one and nothing else matters. A young man - only 17, but with a patch of gray already spreading through his black hair - walks past the tables and takes a seat at a piano in the corner. He says nothing. As usual, he makes no eye contact. Instead, Michael Miller concentrates solely on the row of keys under his hands. The look in his eyes intensifies. His lips purse with concentration. He curls his fingers and begins to play something that sounds vaguely classical.
So great was the bewilderment over Summers's lack of social skills that some in the Harvard community wondered if there might be a clinical reason for his behavior: a neurobiological disorder called Asperger's... To some campus observers, Summers regularly manifests all of these characteristics. No one on campus has raised the issue publicly, but to a number of faculty members -- who do not appear to have spoken to one another -- Asperger's explains virtually everything about Summers that seems otherwise inexplicable, including his now-famous dressing-down of Afro-American studies professor Cornel West. Half gossip, half scientific speculation, and fueled by an intense bewilderment over the president's behavior, the Asperger's theory has bubbled beneath the surface of Harvard life.
Richard Bradley, Boston Magazine
Two years ago, Tammet became famous for reciting pi to 22,514 decimal places with the same ease that the rest of us can reel off 3.142. Even more remarkably, he says he could still do it: his memory is not only extraordinarily capacious, it also retains everything.
Cassandra Jardine, Telegraph
I think of my brother, how similar we are, how much he suffers, how I might have been him, and I think, if any of this neuroscientific work can benefit him, then there is meaning and purpose.
Matthew Belmonte
An eccentric is someone whose behaviour, beliefs and/or hobbies deviates in significant way from the accepted norms that the rest of the society that defines that person recognizes as proper or as traditional.
What Jonathan, 13, has had to deal with is Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. In explaining autism, Dr. Elizabeth Allen, a pediatrician at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center who specializes in developmental delays, suggested imagining a curve with extroverts - cheerleaders came to her mind - at one end, most people in the middle, and introverts at the other end. Autism can be partly understood as a form of introversion. In extreme cases, a child may still not talk at the age of 6. People with Asperger's syndrome can communicate well. The characteristics they share with other people with autism include a tendency to focus on one thing to the exclusion of others and the need for routine.
Kim Underwood, Winston Salem Journal
Andrew worked hard on his friendships and schoolwork while pursuing his real passions: meteorology and sports broadcasting. He said he managed to deal with his disorder by following his father's advice - to never give up - and trying to meet his family's emphasis on excellence and charity.
Beth Quimby, Portland Press Herald
Colette, 54, now knows why she sometimes, as she puts it, enters "another planet". She was recently diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and has since discovered that her mother had the disorder and one of her daughters now has it too. Colette, who lives in Bridgend with her husband, Lee, 47, also has associated multiple sensory impairments and dyspraxia, which means she walks into walls and is excessively clumsy. She is also profoundly deaf. Despite these hurdles she has an impressive CV and is more intelligent than your average person.
Sally Williams, Western Mail
Tammet speaks ten languages; he can learn a new one in under a week. He can perform at lightning speed mathematical calculations involving the multiplication of three-digit figures in his head. And he can recite the number pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) to 22,000 places without getting a single digit wrong, a feat that takes five hours. Depending on how you look at it, Tammet represents either the untapped potential of the human mind, or merely a quirk of brain malfunction.
Just as there are many causes of autism, there are several treatments that can help autistic people become more aware of the world around them. Mark is an example of someone who has been able to break through some of the barriers of autism.
Helen Landalf
Eric Crooks began entertaining audiences with his puppet variety shows when he was 7 as a means of expressing himself without limitations. "Puppets can say anything," Crooks, 17, said. "For instance, I use my character, Herbie the Snitch, to say stuff that ordinarily I couldn't say. He's more to the point, no holding back." Crooks was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome early in his childhood, and his mother, Carol Lee Vanasse, said puppets became a way of helping Eric communicate with those around him.
Danielle Sherry
"I began painting keeping busy as powerless to communicate young child. Without art, wafting smell of earth's pleasures would kite away to land of inanimate objects, so it's past point of personal hobby." This documentary is filled with Larry Bissonnette's humorous yet poignant assessments of his life--growing up, his family, and creating art. Moving back and forth between speech, typing, and painting, Bissonnette's wit and insight punctuate a day in the life of this Outsider artist, and artfully illustrate the complexities of expression.
Larry Bissonnette
18 years old, TMH (30 - 40 IQ). Been in school 12 years. Never been served in any other setting other than elementary school. He has a number of years of individual instruction. He has learned a lot of things!
Preston Lewis
Matt Savage is 13, and he has already recorded four CDs. His latest, Cutting Loose, is full of twists, turns and complicated rhythms and harmonies. From waltzes to odd time signatures to unusual rhythmic combinations, he plays with a groove, accuracy and facility well beyond his years.
Rick Massimo, Providence Journal
Matt Savage
"When Mike's successful, it's like everyone's success," Claudia said. "We've been lucky. When he gets down I tell him, 'Everybody has something, and [Asperger's syndrome] is yours. You can't wallow. You never know what other people might be going through.' " One of the characteristics of Asperger's syndrome is problems with social situations. Nothing is more social than being a member of a team, however, which makes Mike's story even better. "Chris set it up perfectly," Mike said of the goal. "It felt wonderful. It means all the hard work finally paid off. The preseason, all the running, all the lunges, all the hills, all those tough exercises finally paid off." Kastelic said Mike "is a kid who will go out and give it his hardest in every game, every practice, no matter how little or how much he plays. It boosts the rest of us."
John Millea
Patty was diagnosed with autism about 1950, but was not told about it by her mother. In those days autism was supposed to be caused by bad mothering. Embarrassed by the diagnosis, her mother covered it up... She was a natural computer geek, with computer experience going back to the room-size Wang that she used to write articles on Guam. She lived with a Significant Other who is also a geek. He programs/and she did email and IRC chat. She was on email lists for 10 years, and on IRC chat for 5 years or more. She became a highly valued and beloved peer counselor for the IRC community. Patty died on July 17, 2005. She is survived by her two children, now age 28 and 31, living in Arizona, as well as two grandchildren.
Patricia S. Clark, Jared Radin
It is important to avoid making the mistake of expecting all aspies to have the same abilities and potential as those listed below! Jarry, Satie, Kubrick, Bartok, Hitchcock, Edison, Evgeny Kissin, Michelangelo, DaVinci, Turing, Gould, Shaw, Durrell
Ramon Casha
Stone's work, says Wilson, stands on its own. 'His gift is authenticity. He's connected to his inner vision by a lightning rod. He's not self-conscious; he's not responding to other artists' art.'
Mary Brown Malouf, Salt Lake Tribune
Prince-Hughes began her talk by telling the story of her birth and her difficult childhood. She struggled at school, she said, partly because of the sensitivities many autistic people, including Prince-Hughes ,have to sounds and smells. "It's so loud and so bright, and there's so much chaos," she said. "It makes it hard to select one focal point." Because some of her family members had similar characteristics and because she developed coping strategies to deal with her symptoms, Prince-Hughes said she did not know she had autism until doctors diagnosed her at the age of 36.
Laura Belzer
When Dawn Prince-Hughes finishes her book tour later this month, she'll be looking forward to returning to Bellingham, seeing her partner and their 5-year-old son - and lying on top of her clothes dryer while it runs.
Linda Dahlstrom
Daniel Tammet was born on a blue day -- January 31, 1979. He knows it was blue, because it was a Wednesday and Wednesdays are always blue -- like the number nine or the sound of loud voices arguing. "I like my birth date, because of the way I'm able to visualise the numbers in it as smooth and round shapes, like pebbles on a beach," says Tammet. "That's because 31 and 1979 are prime numbers. All my primes look smooth and round. That's just the way my brain works."
James Morgan, The Herald
Glass Half Empty, Glass Half Full: How Asperger's Syndrome Changed My Life is a candid, inspiring account of Chris's life and he is rightly proud to have his words in print. Chris wants to help raise awareness of Asperger's and help people understand it better. He said: "We pay attention to what's around us very differently in that when something's not written in stone, it's not apparent," he says.
Beth Neil, The Evening Chronicle
A 16-year-old San Diego high school student has reason to smile: He passed his high school exit exam on the first try. Shawn Howell just made the grade on his exams but what really makes the achievement something special is that he's in Special Ed and has a condition similar to Autism.
NBC San Diego
Johnson has been enthralled by belly dancing since watching the cafe scene in the James Bond movie, "Man With a Golden Gun." "She loves all James Bond movies," Granik said. "She has an almost photographic memory of each one - I bet she can tell you who the understudy was for each character, or even the understudy to the understudy." Granik got Johnson into master belly dance instructor Sandra Catena's class at the 14th St. YMCA two years ago. It was an instant match. "She walked into the class and said, 'Hi, I'm Simone Johnson,'" Catena recalls. "By the end of the first class, she was hugging me and telling me I was her best friend."
New York Daily News
His brain disorder is complicated and not considered to be severe enough by state doctors to warrant services. He is dependent on city mental health care and his ailing, elderly mother. Mostly, Stan has to navigate his disorder alone.
Adam Shemper
Stephen Wiltshire (born 1974) is an accomplished architectural artist who has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. Stephen's interests are: earthquakes, cars, and architecture, in that order.
Gihon said he was drawn to manufacturing technology by his machinist father, William. Gihon's teachers and his aide, David T. Malo, credit the father with Gihon's experience and knowledge. "He spent the time with Alan to explain his skill," Mazut said. "I am looking forward to a future in manufacturing technology," Gihon said. "I enjoy doing the 'hot' jobs. They are the ones that require repairs and making of new parts." "I like the lathe work the best. That involves turning, boring, cutting threads. Always something round. I like math too," Gihon said.
Ted LaBorde, The Republican
Megan said those of Larry's classmates who have made adjustments themselves, get along fine with him now. "Once we were told about Larry and why he does certain things, we could understand better," Megan said. "Now when things happen, we just say: 'Oh, that's just Larry.'"
Angie Jeffrey, News Times
Remember that weird kid in school, the awkward loner who rarely spoke up, and when he did, would say something so wildly inappropriate that the whole class would explode into laughter? He spent every lunch and recess by himself, either with his nose buried in a book or looking lost on the playground as other kids merrily played around him. Just about every school has its outcast - one kid who just can't fit in. They seem affable enough, but no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to connect with anyone. Edmonton's John Brine remembers those days all too well.
Andrew Hanon, Edmonton Sun
The notoriously absentminded Lord Dudley was in the habit of rehearsing conversations out loud, using two voices, one gruff and one shrill. On one occasion, Dudley was asked to present a country gentleman at court. As they were leaving the palace, their carriage became stuck in a traffic jam. Suddenly the country gentleman was startled to hear Dudley speaking to himself: "Now this tiresome country squire will be expecting me to ask him to dine," he muttered. "Shall I? Or shall I not? On the whole I think not. I think he might be a bore." The astonished squire muttered back a reply: "Now this tiresome old peer will of course be asking me to dine with him today. Shall I or not? No. I am pretty sure it would be a bore." Dudley, shocked out of his reverie, laughed and jovially asked the squire to join him for dinner.
Excerpt taken from Notes From A Small Island. A particularly unsympathetic description of an autistic person.
Bill Bryson
His doctor says Hunley can pick any career and succeed. He has absorbed himself in political science and psychology at Maple Woods Community College, pulling nearly perfect grades. He boned up on autism spectrum disorders and, as a YouthFriend, he mentors a middle-school boy with Asperger's. He has met with teachers to help them reach kids with attention issues.
Kansas City Star
Asked how he got into jazz, Matt says, "When I was younger I used to like numbers and stuff. I liked songs based on how long they were and liked the longer ones best. The first jazz album we got was Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue,' and the average song length was nine minutes. That's how I started in jazz." Giggly and well spoken, Matt says he likes a lot of music -- classical and rock 'n' roll included -- but his heart is in jazz. "It's the coolest music," he says.
Chad Jones, Inside Bay Area
Pitts wrote a large thesis on the properties of neural nets connected in three dimensions. Lettvin described him as "in no uncertain sense the genius of the group...when you asked him a question, you would get back a whole textbook."
Holmes' obsession with the Polyphonic Motets of Lassus is mentioned in The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans. And I'm sure that you can think of many more examples of rather odd Sherlockian fixations on obscure subjects.
A. Michael Maher
"The most important thing is that people with autism deserve the same rights as everyone else. I'd like people to know that if they have any form of disability, it does not mean that you can't set yourself high goals and reach them." ... (M)any people do not have autism as acutely as others... there is no known cure for the condition, so the focus must be on helping people manage and live with the anxieties. With the help of friends he has learned to do many things in life. One hurdle was going shopping. His fear was that he would forget to pay, get arrested and be taken away. He calls that a worry chain, a sequence of events which leads to the ultimate concern separation from loved ones, or being in a situation out of his control. His other fear was getting on the the Tube and getting across London. He can now use the whole Tube network, and his next objective is to get on the buses.
Jeremy Campbell, Bucks Free Press
While he is working, he rocks... His upper body rocks down to an almost 45 degree angle, rocks back up, rocks down again. They claim I started at an extremely young age, said Gates.
Philip Greenspun
Bobby Jacobs, 11, likes to be called “TIM AXOY” because in capital letters each letter is symmetrical on the vertical axis. He uses the name as his pen name, too, writing his own math books with problems he's created in his spare time. When Bobby was 4 or 5, his mother, Eileen Jacobs, recalls, he wanted to be called “Pi” because he knew at least 50 digits of pi by heart. He's also called himself various prime numbers.
Brandon Walters
"W.B. Yeats had tremendous difficulties at school," said Michael Fitzgerald, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Dublin's Trinity College. "He was bullied. He had problems in one-to-one relationships but he was brilliant in a crowd," added Fitzgerald, who believes the poet may have had Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. "His difficulties can be seen in his relationship with Maud Gonne," Fitzgerald told RTE state radio.
Due to his disorder, Will was playing sports in the Challenger program, Free-hold Township, which is an athletic league that incorporates a buddy system between regular education students and classified students. Carrie said participating in the Chal-lenger program gave Will the self-esteem and skills he needed to cope with playing Little League baseball.
Tali Israeli, News Transcript

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