Fact sheet on famous cases of Asperger's syndrome


Aspergers syndrome is sometimes viewed as a syndrome with both advantages and disadvantages, and notable adults with Asperger's syndrome or autism have achieved success in their fields. Prominent Aspergers syndrome-diagnosed individuals include Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon Smith, electropop rocker Gary Numan, Vines frontman Craig Nicholls, and Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon.


Colorado State University professor and author, Temple Grandin, was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and has used her autism to her advantage in her profession as an animal behaviorist specializing in livestock handling. Other cases include:

• Dan Aykroyd, comedian and actor: he stated he has Asperger's, but some feel he was joking

• William Cottrell, student who was imprisoned for fire-bombing SUV dealerships
• Dawn Prince-Hughes, PhD, primate anthropologist, ethologist, and author
• Judy Singer, Australian disability rights activist
• Liane Holliday Willey, author of various Asperger books and an education professor
• Luke Jackson, author of Freaks, Geeks and Aspergers Syndrome
• Bram Cohen, inventor of BitTorrent, claims to have diagnosed himself with Asperger's.


Well known adults with unspecified types of autism

• Daryl Hannah, American actress (Splash, Blade Runner and Kill Bill)
• Christopher Knowles, American poet
• Matthew Laborteaux, actor on Little House on the Prairie
• Katherine McCarron, autistic child murdered at the age of three by her mother.
• Jason McElwain, high school basketball player
• Michael Moon, adopted son of author Elizabeth Moon
• Jasmine O'Neill, author of Through the Eyes of Aliens
• Sue Rubin, subject of documentary Autism Is a World
• Birger Sellin, author from Germany.


Speculation on others who may have had Asperger's

Some Aspergers syndrome researchers speculate that well-known figures, including Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Glenn Gould, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Stanley Kubrick, had Asperger syndrome because they showed some Aspergers syndrome-related tendencies or behaviors, such as intense interest in one subject, or social problems.


Einstein's brain was investigated after his death. Einstein did not start talking until he was three and he frequently repeated sentences obsessively up to the age of seven. As an adult his lectures were notoriously confusing. Further abnormalities in the Sylvian fissure could possibly be associated with autism.


During his education Einstein was very successful at Physics and mathematics but did less well in some other subjects. At 16 he failed history and language examinations for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. This can demonstrate science ability with poorer language skills. Isaac Newton showed similar genius and similar difficulties to Einstein. Suggesting similar causes is speculative as there is no knowledge of the physiology of Newton’s brain. Some have considered a post-mortem diagnosis of autism for Einstein.


Autistic rights activists use such speculative diagnoses to argue that it would be a loss to society if people with Aspergers syndrome were cured. Speculative diagnoses, especially posthumous ones, remain controversial, however.


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Albert Einstein is a possible case of a famour person with Asperger's syndrome, one of the Autism Spectrum Disorders