20 Famous People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | Behavioral Innovations - ABA Therapy for Kids with Autism (2022)

20 Famous People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) | Behavioral Innovations - ABA Therapy for Kids with Autism (1)

Autism can be challenging but there are many people on the spectrum who have achieved great heights.

Autism spectrum disorder is a diagnosis that is characterized by differences from the general population in the area of social skills, communication skills, as well as the presence of certain behaviors which may look atypical from other people. These behaviors are known as restrictive or repetitive behaviors.

ASD Traits Can Contribute to Accomplishing Great Things

No matter what traits of autism you or your loved one may have, a person with autism has their own unique strengths and abilities. There are many famous people with autism spectrum disorder who have used their strengths and abilities to achieve success, fame, or to accomplish amazing things.

Strong Interests Support Success

One example of a trait of autism is called restricted interests. This is a type of restrictive behavior. Restricted interests have to do with how the person with ASD has an intense passion for a certain topic. Whereas people without autism often have a range of interests and can easily switch focus from one topic or activity to another and may not commit to excelling at one particular thing, people with autism may have a limited and narrow range of interests.

This characteristic may contribute to the success that many people with ASD experience in life. By being able to focus and maintain one core interest for years or even for most of one’s life, the person with ASD can use this interest to accomplish great things.

The ASD Social Way of Being

Additionally, the way in which a person with autism experiences social interactions and their general social way of being may also contribute to their success. Although social skills vary widely from one person with ASD to another, in general, social skills for people with ASD may include things like having few (if any) friends, getting overwhelmed by too much social interaction, and limited tendency to share one’s interests, thoughts, and feelings with others.

The way a person with autism approaches social experiences can support their success in life. For instance, having only a few close friends can support the person’s well-being. Their friends may have similar interests and may be truly supportive of the person’s goals.

Needing alone time and space from others can help the person with ASD to have a clearer and more focused mind. Not spending so much time socializing and on small talk and being more straightforward and logical in the way the person communicates with others can help them stay focused on their goals and reaching the next step for success.

(Video) Autism Spectrum Disorder: 10 things you should know

This way of living can contribute not only to the person’s success but also to their overall life satisfaction.

Famous People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

We’ve reviewed some of the factors that may contribute to success and accomplishments in the life of a person with autism spectrum disorder. Let’s now introduce some famous people who many people believe to have ASD.

Some of the people we discuss have an official diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder or what was previously known as Asperger’s Disorder. Others may not have an official diagnosis but may have self-diagnosed as autistic. And for some of the people we’ll mention, many people speculate that these individuals would likely qualify as having an autism spectrum disorder.

1. Dan Aykroyd - Actor and Film Writer

Aykroyd is a comedic actor famous for his acting role and writing of the movie Ghostbusters released in 1984. His restricted interests have included ghosts and law enforcement.

2. Albert Einstein - Scientist & Mathematician

There’s no way to know for sure, but many people believe that Albert Einstein would qualify as having autism spectrum disorder today.

3. Daryl Hannah - Actress & Environmental Activist

Daryl Hannah is known for her roles in films such as Splash, Blade Runner, and Steel Magnolias. She received an autism diagnosis as a child. She was extremely shy around other people and continued to be very fearful of the spotlight as an adult. One of her special interests was watching movies which supported her career as an actress.

4. Anthony Hopkins - Actor

Anthony Hopkins is an award winning actor. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a child. Some of his traits of ASD include obsessive thinking, difficulty maintaining friendships, and looking at people with a unique perspective.

5. Heather Kuzmich - Reality TV Contestant & Model

Heather Kuzmich participated in America’s Next Top Model in 2007. Some of her traits of ASD include not understanding jokes, difficulty understanding social dialogue about others, and challenges with eye contact.

6. Tim Burton – Movie Director

It is still under speculation whether Tim Burton has autism; However, his long-time partner, Helena Bonham Carter, believes that he does. He has a unique perspective and gets intensely focused on his work sometimes to the extent that he no longer hears what is going on around him.

(Video) What is autism and how does ABA therapy work?

7. Henry Cavendish – Scientist

Cavendish is an renowned scientist. He was born in 1731 and passed away in 1810. He is most known for discovering hydrogen. Traits of ASD experienced by Cavendish included avoiding company and difficulty with eye contact. He would communicate with his servants in writing instead of verbally. He ordered his meals by leaving a note on the table. He had a private staircase built on the back of his house so he could avoid the housekeeper, as well.

8. Charles Darwin – Naturalist, Geologist, and Biologist

Charles Darwin is believed to have autism spectrum disorder. Darwin was a very quiet person who avoided social interactions. He also preferred to communicate by writing rather than verbally and was very focused on his work.

9. Emily Dickinson – Poet

Many believe that Emily Dickinson, a classical poet (1830-1886), would qualify as having autism. She was reserved around people. She had a basic and consistent way of dressing and she was better at interacting with children than adults.

10. Bobby Fischer – Chess Grandmaster

Fischer is known as a chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion. He did not like unstructured experiences and did not interact well with others.

11. Bill Gates – Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation

Bill Gates is thought to have autism. He displays a rocking motion, a monotoned speech pattern, and avoids eye contact with others.

12. Barbara McClintock – Scientist and Cytogeneticist

McClintock was a notable scientist who made important breakthroughs in the study of chromosomes and how they change during the reproduction process. She is thought to be autistic. She was able to focus for great lengths on her interests, specifically her work, and she found social attention very aversive, so much so that she almost refused the Nobel Prize.

13. Michelangelo – Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Poet

Michelangelo, a famous artist, was born in 1475. He is thought to have had an extreme fixation on his work. He had difficulty with emotional regulation, had trouble with social interactions, and thrived on strict routines.

14. Sir Isaac Newton – Mathematician, Astronomer, & Physicist

Newton is another example of a historical figure who attempted to isolate himself from others as much as possible. He did not enjoy social interactions and was thought to be awkward in conversations with others.

15. Jerry Seinfeld – Comedian

Jerry Seinfeld is thought to be one of the most popular comedians of all time. He openly recognizes himself as having autism spectrum disorder due to his history of social challenges and unique way of thinking literally.

(Video) A Closer Look at ABA Therapy for Autism - Behavioral Innovations

16. Satoshi Tajiri – Creator of Pokémon

Tajiri was fascinated with bugs as a child and expanded upon his interest in adulthood by creating Pokemon.

17. Nikola Tesla – Inventor

It is believed that Tesla had many phobias and that he was very sensitive to light and sound. He also preferred to be alone and is thought to have been obsessed with the number three.

18. Elon Musk - Entrepreneur

Elon Musk announced that he was on the autism spectrum while hosting the show, “Saturday Night Live,” in May 2021. More specifically, he stated that he was “the first person with Asperger’s” to host the show. Musk is one of the world’s richest people with a net worth of more than $150 billion.

19. Clay Marzo - Professional Surfer

Marzo is a professional competitive surfer from Hawaii. He was diagnosed with autism as a child. He won many surfing competitions and had many accomplishments including two Perfect 10s during a National Scholastic Surfing Association at age 15.

20. Dr. Vernon Smith - Professor

Smith is a professor of economics at Chapman University. He is thought to have basically invented the field of experimental economics which led to winning a Nobel Prize. He feels that his ASD has helped him, because he doesn’t feel social pressures to do things the way other people do them, so he is able to approach his work in a different way by being more open-minded and coming up with new ideas.

More Famous People with Autism

  • Leonardo da Vinci - Artist
  • Vincent van Gogh - Artist
  • Steven Spielberg - Director
  • Alfred Hitchcock - Director
  • Thomas Edison - Inventor
  • Alexander Graham Bell - Inventor
  • Benjamin Franklin - Inventor
  • Henry Ford - Inventor
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Musician
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Musician
  • Bob Dylan - Musician
  • James Taylor - Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist
  • John Denver - Singer-Songwriter & Record Producer
  • Charles Darwin - Naturalist & Geologist
  • Carl Jung - Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist
  • Lionel Messi - Football Player
  • Samuel Clemens - Writer
  • George Orwell - Writer
  • Jane Austen - Writer
  • Charles M. Schulz - Cartoonist

Embracing Who You Are (with ASD)

The people we have mentioned have been recognized for the amazing things they have accomplished in this world. They have touched the lives of so many people in a positive way. Autism spectrum disorder looks different in every person with the condition.

Although it’s important to remember that many people with autism will need much more support than others, each person with ASD has their own strengths and abilities.

People with autism can live a fulfilling life especially when they embrace who they are as unique and amazing human beings.


(Video) Once a non-verbal child with autism, Ava hopes her story will help other kids with special needs

20 Incredibly Successful People on the Autism Spectrum. ABA Degree Programs. (2021, April 13). https://www.abadegreeprograms.net/successful-people-on-the-autism-spectrum/.

Article by: Katie Hurley. (2020, August 14). 7 Famous People With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Psycom.net - Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1996. https://www.psycom.net/autism-famous-people.

Cascio, C. J., Foss-Feig, J. H., Heacock, J., Schauder, K. B., Loring, W. A., Rogers, B. P., Pryweller, J. R., Newsom, C. R., Cockhren, J., Cao, A., & Bolton, S. (2014). Affective neural response to restricted interests in autism spectrum disorders. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 55(2), 162–171. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12147

Famous - with Autism. AUTISM COMMUNITY NETWORK (ACN). (2013). https://www.autismcommunity.org.au/famous---with-autism.html.

Frye R. E. (2018). Social Skills Deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Potential Biological Origins and Progress in Developing Therapeutic Agents. CNS drugs, 32(8), 713–734. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-018-0556-y

History's 30 Most Inspiring People on the Autism Spectrum. Applied Behavior Analysis Programs Guide. (2017, September 22).

Kettler, S. (2019, August 20). Matthew Labyorteaux. Biography.com. https://www.biography.com/actor/matthew-labyorteaux.

Moore, C. (2021, June 8). 7 Famous People With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Healthgrades. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/autism/7-famous-people-with-autism-spectrum-disorder.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, July 11). Ghostbusters. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostbusters.

(Video) 5 Signs You DO NOT Have Autism


Is Sheldon Cooper autistic in the show? ›

This is ironic because according to the producers of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper isn't actually autistic. And yet my autism is constantly compared – and seemingly failing to live up – to this fictional character.

Who is the oldest person with autism? ›

Donald Gray Triplett (born September 8, 1933) is an American man known for being the first person diagnosed with autism. He was first diagnosed by Leo Kanner, and was labeled as "Case 1".

What celebrity has a child with autism? ›

Jacqueline Laurita

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita has a son with autism. Laurita and her husband noticed developmental delays when their son was young. He was officially diagnosed when he was two years old. Laurita has become very open about her family's journey and experiences with autism.

What actress has autism? ›

Daryl Hannah — the beautiful star of films like Splash, Blade Runner, and Steel Magnolias — only came out about her experiences on the autism spectrum about five years ago. Since then, Hannah has been nothing but inspirational as she's told the honest truth about her challenges with Asperger's Syndrome.

Can autistic people drive? ›

Note, there are no laws against driving with autism, but safety is key. Driving can be stressful and challenging in many ways; Autistic people may struggle more to adapt to the rapid change. Consider the some of the important factors and skills that are involved with driving: Social judgment.

Are autistic brains different? ›

Specifically, in autistic brains there is significantly more folding in the left parietal and temporal lobes as well as in the right frontal and temporal regions. “These alterations are often correlated with modifications in neuronal network connectivity,” Dr. Culotta says.

Did Sheldon and Amy have a baby? ›

George Cooper Sr. Leonard Cooper is the son of Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler. He does not have a physical appearance in the series, only being mentioned by his father.

What is Sheldon's IQ? ›

He has a genius-level IQ of 187. (In The Big Bang Theory, it is said that his and Leonard's IQs add up to 360, and Leonard says his is 173. In Young Sheldon, his mother says that he has the same IQ as Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.)

Is Super asymmetry a thing? ›

“Super-asymmetry” is not a thing; it is scientifically meaningless (but not unfunny) word salad.

What actors are autistic? ›

Rather than see neurodivergence as a hindrance, these seven famous faces instead often credit their autism as the driving force behind their success.
  • Elon Musk. ...
  • Dan Aykroyd. ...
  • Susan Boyle. ...
  • Temple Grandin. ...
  • Daryl Hannah. ...
  • Anthony Hopkins. ...
  • Dan Harmon.

Are people with autism more intelligent? ›

A suite of recent studies has reported positive genetic correlations between autism risk and measures of mental ability. These findings indicate that alleles for autism overlap broadly with alleles for high intelligence, which appears paradoxical given that autism is characterized, overall, by below-average IQ.

What jobs are good for high functioning autism? ›

Here are seven examples of such jobs that may be attractive to those with high-functioning autism:
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist.
  • Computer Programmer.
  • Reference Librarian.
  • Taxi Driver.
  • Telemarketer.
  • Artist/Designer.
  • Information Technology.

How old do autistic people live till? ›

In this cohort, 6.4% died during the 20-year follow-up period, and the average age at death was 39 years.

How long do autistic children live for? ›

Autism itself does not affect life expectancy, however research has shown that the mortality risk among individuals with autism is twice as high as the general population, in large part due to drowning and other accidents.

Can autistic people live alone? ›

The simple answer to this question is yes, a person with autism spectrum disorder can live independently as an adult. However, not all individuals achieve the same level of independence.

Which NFL player has autistic child? ›

Curt Warner was a star Seattle Seahawks runningback. He and his wife Ana withdrew from the public eye after he retired to focus on their family. They've shared their story in a book called “The Warner Boys.” It details their sons' struggles with severe autism.

What singer has an autistic son? ›

Faith Evans Is on a Mission to Ensure Her Autistic Son Is Given a Fair Chance. The Grammy-winning singer talks to Shondaland about fighting to make sure her son, Ryder, gets the services he needs and how she's helping others do the same.

Which NFL quarterback has an autistic son? ›

Former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete opens up about how his football career affected how he handled his son's autism diagnosis.

Who famous has Asperger's syndrome? ›

Dan Aykroyd

According to The Guardian, a psychiatrist diagnosed the Saturday Night Live star with Asperger's after he consulted him about tics and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. “My very mild Asperger's has helped me creatively,” Akroyd told The Guardian.

Is Seinfeld autistic? ›

To be fair, Seinfeld never actually said: I am autistic. "I think on a very drawn-out scale, I'm on the spectrum," he told NBC's Brian Williams. "Basic social engagement is really a struggle.

Who is the most famous person with Aspergers? ›

One of the most famous people with Aspergers is Bobby Fischer. Bobby Fisher, the chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion, is said to have had Asperger's Syndrome. He was also suspected to have paranoid schizophrenia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Who is a famous person with a disability? ›

Michael J. Fox. One of the most famous people with a well-known disability. The protaganist of "Back to the Future" was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991 when he was only 29 years old and his career was in full success.

What musicians have Aspergers? ›

According seysey, Erik Grove and former band member Joel Hagen have Asperger's Syndrome. According seysey, Erik Grove and former band member Joel Hagen have Asperger's Syndrome.

Are autistic brains different? ›

Specifically, in autistic brains there is significantly more folding in the left parietal and temporal lobes as well as in the right frontal and temporal regions. “These alterations are often correlated with modifications in neuronal network connectivity,” Dr. Culotta says.

What jobs are good for high functioning autism? ›

Here are seven examples of such jobs that may be attractive to those with high-functioning autism:
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist.
  • Computer Programmer.
  • Reference Librarian.
  • Taxi Driver.
  • Telemarketer.
  • Artist/Designer.
  • Information Technology.

Are the actors in as we see it autistic? ›

Many of the actors, writers and crew members have Autism including three of the show's lead actors, Rick Glassman, Albert Rutecki, and Sue Ann Pien. We speak with Rick, Albert, and Sue Ann about their experiences in front of the camera and beyond.

Can I be self diagnosed autistic? ›

There are actually many valid reasons to seek a medical diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder, but there may also be a case for self diagnosis; especially for those who simply cannot afford a formal medical diagnosis, or find an appropriately trained doctor willing to diagnose adults who suspect they may be on the ...

Is John autistic on life and Beth? ›

Trivia (11) There is no mention of John having autism in "Life & Beth," but Schumer says "he's most likely on the spectrum." The role of John was based on Schumer's real-life husband Chris Fischer, who was diagnosed a few years ago at age 39. Amy Schumer said Michael Cera was her "dream" castmate.

What are the symptoms of autism in a child? ›

Signs of autism in children
  • not responding to their name.
  • avoiding eye contact.
  • not smiling when you smile at them.
  • getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound.
  • repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body.
  • not talking as much as other children.

Has there ever been a NFL player with autism? ›

Former NFL player Joe Barksdale and his college sweetheart and now wife, Bri, are sharing their personal story after he was diagnosed with adult autism.

Do any athletes have autism? ›

There are plenty of world-class athletes in different sports who are on the autistic spectrum. Jessica-Jane Applegate is a British swimmer with 24 gold medals in the Paralympics.

Are there any athletes with autism? ›

British swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate, 18, is a decorated athlete, boasting a whopping 24 gold medals in Paralympic events. She holds 11 British records and a world record for the 100-meter butterfly. She also has Asperger's.


1. Identifying Signs of Autism - Behavioral Innovations
(Behavioral Innovations)
2. Behavior Frontiers — Innovative Training & Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders
3. A Life-Changing Therapy For Children With Autism At The Child Study Center
(Yale Medicine)
4. Rogers Behavioral Health therapist provides tips to support children with autism spectrum disorder
(Rogers Behavioral Health)
5. Recent Advancements in Behavioral Treatments for Children with ASD
6. A Treatment Approach For Children With Autistic Spectrum Disorder
(IWK Health)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 11/27/2022

Views: 5946

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.