Famous people with high-functioning autism

Temple Grandin

“I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.”

One of the most famous people with high-functioning autism, Dr. Temple Grandin has done a lot of work with livestock and making sure that they are treated right.  She has developed a number of machines that are used to reduce the stress on livestock.

Temple also has a huge voice in the autism community. She has written a number of books about her struggles and victories with autism and also wrote a book about her views on autism/Asperger’s syndrome in general. She provides advice to parents about how to raise an autistic child using examples from her own childhood.

Recently, Temple’s life was played out in film. In the HBO film Temple Grandin, actress Claire Danes plays a young Temple Grandin.

Temple’s life shows that having autism doesn’t have to be a curse and Temple has credited many of her successes in life to the fact that autism helps her see things differently than other people. Yes, she may be awkward at times, but she has done a great many things that a “normal” person could never do!

Jesse Saperstein

Jesse Saperstein is famous for his book Atypical and also for his devotion to charitable work.  In 2005, he completed his 2,000 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail, raising a great deal of money for the Joey Dipaolo AIDS Foundation’s Camp TLC, a summer camp for teens living with HIV/AIDS.

Jesse graduated cum laude at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. His first book Atypical, gave “neurotypicals” a fascinating and comedic look into the mind of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome. Actress Sigourney Weaver praised his book by saying, “Jesse Saperstein’s wise and compelling memoir lets us know how frustrating and strange life can be for a bright, resourceful young man with Asperger’s navigating the typical world. Funny, irreverent, and ultimately forgiving of all the damage we ‘well-adjusted’ typicals wreak on those who are a little different from us.”

John Elder Robison

Robison is the author of several popular books on Asperger’s syndrome including Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s, Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives, and Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers.  Robison is the brother of Augusten Burroughs, also a famous author (guess their talent for writing runs in the family!).

Since Asperger’s syndrome wasn’t recognized as a disorder until the 1990’s, Robison spent much of his life undiagnosed.  He wasn’t diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome until the age of 40!  His son also has the disorder – which asks the question whether Asperger’s comes from genetics…

Robison’s writings have let the public become more familiar with the disorder and his book Be Different is a great resource for kids with Asperger’s who would like some tips on how to navigate certain social situations!

Dr. Sheldon Cooper, from the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”

Even though Dr. Cooper isn’t an actual real person, his character’s behaviors suggest he might have Asperger’s syndrome.  Dr. Cooper is extremely smart and obsessively ponders physics.  He doesn’t recognize sarcasm and must have a routine all the time.  His social awkwardness is humorous and many people with Asperger’s syndrome can laugh at themselves a little bit when watching this show.