Autism can be exhausting for the parent and the child. You may feel like your child has been robbed of a normal life, but who wants normal anyways? There are many people on the spectrum who have used their symptoms to their advantage, becoming huge successes. If you have a child with autism, finding someone who has the same interests as them and has found a future in using their strengths, they can be a great role model to remind your child that the possibilities are endless. Here are five successful people who are on the autism spectrum.
1. Susan Boyle- Singer
If you don’t know who Susan Boyle is, you need to watch her incredible performance of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables that got her so famous. While people on the spectrum can have a hard time with people around people or a lot of sensory triggers, this woman gets on stage in front of thousands of people singing her heart out. When she first started singing, she didn’t even know why she was different from everyone else. All she knew is that she wanted to sing. Susan Boyle explains how it was a relief to get the diagnosis of Asperger’s. She went from being labeled as brain damaged to someone who is high functioning on the spectrum. This correct diagnosis has made her feel more comfortable about herself. Susan didn’t win that year of Britain’s Got Talent, but she is on this season of America’s Got Talent Champions! So we get a whole new season of Susan!
2. Dan Aykroyd- Writer and Actor
Dan Aykroyd is a brilliant writer and actor who created the iconic movie Ghost Busters. Aykroyd has said that he believes that being on the spectrum is what helped him succeed in his writing. His condition caused him to be obsessed with law enforcement and ghosts, which is what gave him the idea of creating Ghostbusters. He has also made history in being a part of the original Saturday Night Live cast and worked with John Belushi to create the cult classic The Blues Brothers.
3. Tony Deblois- Jazz Musician
Tony Deblois is a graduate from Berklee College of Music who has impressed and wowed the world by being a musical savant. When Deblois was two years old, his mother brought him to a chord organ at a garage sale which then leads him to eventually learn how to play 14 instruments and 12 of them proficiently. The thing that makes this story so interesting is that he was not only on the autism spectrum, Tony Deblois is also blind.
4. Temple Grandin- Scientist
If anyone ever says that people with autism lack empathy, tell them about Temple Grandin. Growing up, she was slow to speak leaving tantrums and screaming to be her only forms of communication. Her parents were advised to institutionalize Grandin, but her mother wanted to keep her at home and work with her. The journey wasn’t easy, but Grandin went on to get her Ph.D. in Animal Science and pioneered humane ways to treat cattle. She says that if it weren’t for her being on the spectrum, she wouldn’t have been able to find this success.
5. Alexis Wineman- Beauty Queen
Alexis Wineman is the first person with autism ever to enter the Miss America Pageant. While Wineman didn’t win the pageant crown, she was voted America’s Choice. This platform gave Wineman the opportunity to become an advocate for the special needs community, showing people that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything.