While those who suffer from autism are often stigmatized by the rest of society, many people affected with autism who have gone on to change society and world history.
Here are some inspiring men and women who did not let autism stand in the way of greatness.
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Perhaps the greatest composer of all time, Mozart had over 600 works that are still considered some of the best pieces ever written.
At the tender age of six, he began writing music. Even from a young age, Mozart created complicated compositions that wowed all those in his parents’ circle. By 8, he was composing symphonies. While he displayed many unusual social behaviors, he did not let this impact his musical genius.
2. Emily Dickinson
Regarded as one of the most iconic American poets, Emily, and her works are popular across the globe. People from all walks of life read her works.
During Emily Dickinson’s time, women are typically more difficult to diagnose than men. While she was likely not diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum during her lifetime, many believed that she had autism.
3. Anthony Ianni
Anthony was the first person with autism to play in college basketball’s highest division.
Today, he is one of the leading inspirational speakers for those with autism in the country. He proved all of those who doubted him wrong that he has what it takes by earning a spot on the Michigan State Spartans basketball team. He even went on to win an NCAA Championship while playing with Coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans.
4. Daryl Hannah
This bombshell actress who enjoyed peak fame during the 1980s has gone public about the impact that an Asperger’s diagnosis had on her promising career.
Some people thought she was able to play the role of a shy actor on screen exceptionally well. However, she always had a difficult time being the center of attention. Fortunately, she overcame her insecurities and starred in the Kill Bill movie series.
5. Dan Aykroyd
This famous actor was diagnosed with Asperger’s at a young age. But Dan Aykroyd has come out to say that being on the spectrum helped him be so successful when making the Ghostbusters film series.
6. Vernon Smith
This Nobel Prize-winning economist has had a significant influence on the experimental economics field during his career.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002, and he credits a large portion of his success to autism. His condition allowed him not to focus as much on how society viewed his contributions and his thoughts on how markets operated. This openness allowed Dr. Smith to see problems from a different lens. Apparently, his views were revolutionary enough for one of the top academic honors in the world.
7. Susan Boyle
The singer took the music world by storm after her first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009. As fans learned her sad life backstory, more details about her past began to emerge.
In 2013, She went public with her diagnosis of autism. According to her, going public with her condition put her mind at ease.
Susan had a difficult time communicating with people. This is probably one of the contributing factors to her difficulty breaking into the music scene despite her beautiful voice. Thankfully, the judges on the show were captivated by her abilities and launched her successful career.
8. Clay Marzo
Life on water has always been easier for Marzo than life on land due to the social anxieties caused by his Asperger’s Syndrome.
The surfer has difficulty holding conversations with fans. But he continued to push on and documented his struggles in the film Clay Marzo: Just Add Water. The National Champion surfer is giving back to the community by mentoring younger children with autism.
Autism is not a disease that condemns one to a life of sorrow. These fascinating individuals prove that those on the spectrum can live very fulfilling lives and make a tremendous impact on society.