When compiling a list of 10 famous people with autism, the result can be varied as there have been many who have suffered from this disease. Autism is a nerve related condition that seems to originate in childhood and is exhibited to cause the victim to have extreme single-minded focus on various subjects. The individual can exhibit areas of genius such as in mathematics, music or some other rather difficult activities. The level of the genius activity is many times far above levels even conceived as genius. The following individuals all displayed classic symptoms of autistic behavior.
10. Albert Einstein
One notable person who deserves a place on our list of 10 famous people with autism is Albert Einstein. He was not able to read early in his childhood. He had difficulty in social situations and had lots of learning difficulties in school. He did not care much about how he looked or dressed or what he ate. His difficulties in school can probably be traced to the fact that there were no teaching techniques for autistics when he was young so he had no skills to learn the pattern that was taught then. Einstein’s almost un-natural focus on his work early in life led him to outdistance everyone in his study of physics and the development of his mathematical breakthroughs and the theory of relativity.
9. Amadeus Mozart
Amadeus Mozart one of the most gifted of composers in musical history may have been autistic. He had great difficulty negotiating normal social situations. His hearing was very sensitive and loud noises made him physically ill. He constantly was observed making facial expressions and was always actively moving his feet and his hands. He was literally unable to carry on an intellectual conversation. It is said that one day he became bored and jumped over tables in the room and meowed like a cat while doing somersaults. His overachieving genius in the field of music far outdistanced his contemporaries and was off the scale in the depth and enormity of his work.
8. Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton was not very adept at social small talk or even conversations that most people would have. He many times forgot to eat because he was so focused on his work. He was not ever able to make any close associations with people because he apparently did not know how, nor was he interested at all in people. He relied a great deal on routines, which he used to order his life. For example if he were scheduled to present a lecture, the lecture would occur even if there were no one present to hear it. Of course Newton became one of most famous and renowned physicists in history.
7. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin was as a child very solitary. As he grew he avoided contact with people, preferring to write letter rather than communicate directly. He eventually focused on things and gadgets. His nearly total focus on natural items led to this theory of evolution, which occupied almost all of his time. He was very fixated and was a visual thinker, a trait common to autistics.
6. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was shy, did not like public speaking, and did not relate with other people well. He was very eccentric and would attend important meetings wearing slippers always with a mocking bird sitting on his shoulder. His obsession with writing letters and a passion for always remodeling his home are autistic charistics. He also had difficulty with finances and died having considerable debts. His genius and focus gave us the third presidency of the United States, Declaration of Independence, and the Louisiana Purchase.
Michelangelo had genius as an artist that ranged far beyond genius and may have been a symptom of an autistic person. He would become lost in his work to the detriment of eating and caring for his personal hygiene. He had no real feel for relationships with people and was very brusque and rude at times. He was very obsessive and followed very strict routines and regimentation. The result of his work such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Pieta has graced the rest of us mightily.
4. Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice In Wonderland was a person who had a severe lack of social skills. He was very skilled in mathematics and was a minor inventor. He did not interact well with adults, but enjoyed the company of children instead. His writings took us to strange, mythical places that only his imagination could concoct.
3. Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was known for his fairy tales for children such as the “Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid”. As a child he was awkward and had difficulty socially. He had difficulty cultivating any social skills and was fixated upon his writing. He exhibited signs of deep inner turmoil, which is reflected, in his writing.
2. James Joyce
James Joyce was an author noted for the difficulty that readers had in negotiating his works such as “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake”. He was extremely intelligent had had strange habits and phobias. He was very self-centered and exhibited a certain disdain for others. Critics claimed that is writings were made purposely difficult in order to maintain a certain distance between him and his readers. His difficulty of maintaining any close relationships and fanatic focus on his work were autistic in nature.
1. Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was an inventor and engineer noted for his expertise in electricity and energy. His intelligence and knowledge is said to have far surpassed Thomas Edison who is said to have “borrowed” some of Tesla’s ideas. Tesla was very eccentric and did associate well with people. He maintained his celibacy and would not enter a room if the room number was not divisible by 3. He was a recluse totally focused on his work and had many autistic behavioral patterns.
While there are certainly many more famous people who were probably autistic and deserve a place on the 10 famous people with autism list, this is a good cross section of people that illustrate some of the classic autistic behaviors, yet had unique genius which contributed mightily to the world around them and the world in general.