7 of the Greatest Accomplishments of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
When people think of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), many people tend to focus on the developmental deficits rather than the gifts and talents that can come with the condition.
ASD certainly doesn’t prevent people from accomplishing great things, so we’d like to highlight some of the most impressive accomplishments of individuals with autism.
1. Stephen Wiltshere – Artist
Stephen Wiltshere, an artist from London, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. However, his autism left him with the impressive ability of a photographic-like memory. He channeled this gift into his art, becoming known for his ability to paint intricate city skylines from memory. He now has a permanent gallery on the Royal Opera Arcade in London – his work can be seen here.
2. Devin Ross – Swimmer
When Devin Ross was three years old, doctors diagnosed him with autism and told his mom he would never make it to college, live on his own, and would likely have to be institutionalized. Ross had other plans in mind. At age 23, he went on to prove doctors wrong by making it to the 2012 Olympic swimming trials in London. Ross tributes his success to his autism.
3. Daniel Tammet – Bestselling Author
Daniel Tammet, an English writer, wasn’t diagnosed with high-functioning autism until he was 25-years-old. That same year, Tammet set a European record for reciting the mathematical constant Pi from memory to 22,5013 decimal places. The recitation took 5 hours and 9 minutes. The year after, he began writing, and his first book, A Memoir of Asperger’s and an Extraordinary Mind, became a Sunday Times bestseller.
4. Temple Grandin – Professor and Activist Arguably the most well-known individual in the autism community, Temple Grandin was nonverbal until she was three and a half years old. Doctors said she would need to be institutionalized, but Grandin went on to be one of the most outspoken autism advocates in the world. She is known for developing corrals to improve the quality of life for cattle, and now teaches as a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State
5. James Hobley – Dancer
When James Hobley was just 11 years old, he won the hearts of Britain’s Got Talent judges with a stunning ballet performance. Hobley also has autism. Autism runs in his family, with his twin brother and elder brother also being on the spectrum. His ASD hasn’t held him back from making great accomplishments. At age 17, Hobley is now training at London’s prestigious English National Ballet School.
6. Jake Barnett – Math and Science Prodigy
Like seen in many cases of severe ASD, Jake Barnett regressed and lost his ability to speak and make eye contact at age 2. He was put in special education classes at school, but by 8 years old, he was getting straight A’s in college-level math and science classes. Barnett reportedly has an IQ of 170, which is higher than Einstein. Barnett is now a PhD candidate researching Loop Quantum Gravity and Quantum Foundations at Perimeter Institute for Advanced Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada.
7. Micah Miner – Gymnast
Nine-year-old Micah Miner’s diagnosis of ASD didn’t hold him back from shining in his gymnastics endeavors. In fact, this past June, he competed in the 2017 U.S. Tumbling and Trampoline Association National Championship in Madison, Wisconsin – his third time making it to nationals. According to Micah’s parents, his autism helped him improve at gymnastics in some ways.
I always enjoy having guest posts and offer my thanks to Kelly for submitting an excellent one.