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Celebrities with Autism: A Comprehensive List

Who knew?

Sometimes it feels as though celebrities are super human! But like us all, they have their quirks and differences.

But which famous people have autism? 

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a condition that affects the nervous system.Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviours.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with this may find difficulty in social relationships and in communicating.

Around 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with autism, that’s 1.79% of the population. 

Here are six famous people with autism or Asperger syndome:

1. Darryl Hannah

Daryl Hannah attends a red carpet for the Netflix launch at Palazzo Del Ghiaccio on October 22, 2015 (Credit: Getty.)

American actress Daryl Hannah spoke out publicly in 2013 about the fact that she was diagnosed with autism as a child. Born on December 3 1960, Hannah rose to fame in the 1980s in films such as Steel Magnolias, Wall Street and Splash.

‘I was a little odd and incredibly introverted and withdrawn when I was young,’ said Hannah of her childhood social skills.

She didn’t let her autism stop her though and after a difficult time at school, she went on to become a successful actress in Hollywood and a proud part of the autism community, proving that autism isn’t a barrier to success.

2. Dan Aykroyd

Dan Ackroyd and wife Donna Dixon arrive at the premiere of the Lizzie Mcguire Movie May 2, 2003. (Credit: Getty.)

American-Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd, born July 1 1952, found fame on the comedy show Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. He then went on to star in The Blue Brothers and Ghostbusters.

In 2004, he told NPR host Terry Gross that he’d been diagnosed with both Tourette syndrome and Asperger syndrome.

‘I was diagnosed with Tourette’s at 12. I had physical tics, nervousness and made grunting noises and it affected how outgoing I was. I had therapy which really worked and by 14 my symptoms eased,’ Akroyd told the Daily Mail in 2013.

His Asperger’s was diagnosed later in life after his wife encouraged him to see a doctor due to his obsessions. 

‘One of my symptoms included my obsession with ghosts and law enforcement — I carry around a police badge with me, for example. I became obsessed by Hans Holzer, the greatest ghost hunter ever. That’s when the idea of my film Ghostbusters was born,’ added Aykroyd.

So without autism the world wouldn’t have got the Ghostbusters!

3. Courtney Love

Courtney Love arrives at The Daily Front Row’s 5th Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at Beverly Hills Hotel on March 17, 2019 (Credit: Getty)

Singer, songwriter and actress Courtney Love, born July 9 1964, was part of the punk and grunge scene in the 1990s. She became famous as the frontwoman of the band Hole. She was also known for her private life as the wife of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. 

Love was diagnosed with autism by a therapist when she was nine years old. She struggled with bad behaviour and was expelled from school and arrested for shoplifting. 

‘When I talk about being introverted, I was diagnosed autistic. At an early age, I would not speak. Then I simply bloomed,’ Love told Rolling Stone in 1994.

Today Love has re-invented herself as a fashion designer and actress.

4. Susan Boyle

Susan Boyle arrives at America’s Got Talent: The Champions Finale at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on October 17, 2018 (Credit: Getty.)

When Susan Boyle took to the stage of Britain’s Got Talent in 2008, her unassuming demeanor hid an incredible voice. When the series aired in April 2009, an incredible 10 million people watched her sing I Dreamed a Dream and Boyle catapulted to fame.

Born in Scotland on April 1 1961, the youngest of four brothers and five sisters, she was raised believing that she’d suffered from a lack of oxygen during birth and had a mild learning difficulty. 

However, in 2012 she was told that she actually had Asperger syndrome and had a higher than average IQ. 

‘I went to seek a diagnosis from a Scottish specialist,’ Boyle told the Observer. ‘Nobody told me to. I thought I had a more serious illness and couldn’t function properly.’

Boyle added that the diagnosis didn’t define or confine her.

‘It will not make any difference to my life. It’s just a condition that I have to live with and work through.’

5. Albert Einstein

German-born American physicist Albert Einstein. (Credit: Getty)

Albert Einstein was a physicist who developed the theory of relativity. In 1921 he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics ‘for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.’

Born in Germany on March 14 1879, he struggled to develop language but excelled at maths and physics from a young age. By 1908, he was recognized as a leading scientist and worked as a lecturer at the University of Bern. In 1933 he moved to the USA and became possibly the world’s most influential people. 

In 2015, a study by researchers at the Ohio State University confirmed a potential chromosomal link between genius and autism and it’s thought Albert Einstein displayed many of the obsessive behaviours of a person with Asperger syndrome. 

6. Jerry Seinfeld

erry Seinfeld attends the Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State Opening Night at the Minetta Lane Theatre on January 22, 2019 (Credit: Getty.)

Stand-up comedian, actor, producer and director Jerry Seinfeld is best known for playing a semi-fictionalised version of himself in the show Seinfeld, which he created and wrote with Larry David.

Born April 29 1954, Seinfeld is one of the richest comedians in the world and is estimated to be worth $950 million. 

In 2014 he spoke to Brian Williamson Thursday’s Nightly News about being on the autism spectrum and believing he had a mild form os the syndrome. 

‘I’m very literal. When people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don’t know what they’re saying. But I don’t see it as dysfunctional. I just think of it as an alternate mindset,’ explained Seinfeld. 

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