Did you see Autistic Pride Day trending yesterday? This day is a celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum. It started in 2005 by Aspies for Freedom to recognize the potential in every person with autism.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella diagnosis for a group of complex disorders of brain development. The disorders are characterized by varying degrees of difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.
They used to be recognized as distinct sub-types, such as autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome.
Now, ASD is used to cover the entire autism spectrum. It can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math, and art.
Autism Creates Uniqueness
Autistic Pride Day was created to celebrate the unique individuals who prove ASD does not mean the end of the world. It is difficult, but there are resources and treatments that can help improve a child’s quality of life and chance at success. Check out these famous, inspiring names!
1. Carly Fleischmann
She has a talk-less talk show. You can find her first episode here: (Speechless with Carly Fleischmann). Her first guest? CHANNING TATUM. It is incredibly magical to watch this interview. Read more about her story here.
2. Matt Savage
He is an autistic musical savant, who has toured the world and performed on Late Night with David Letterman.
3. Marty Balin
Best known for being in Jefferson Airplane, a band from the 1960s and 70s.
4. James Hobley
An autistic dancer, who was a finalist on “Britain’s Got Talent”.
The following are believed or suspected to be on the spectrum, either by scrutinizing historical records of their behaviors or other means:
5. Jerry Seinfeld
He told Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News he believes he is on the spectrum. “I think, on a very drawn-out scale, I think I’m on the spectrum. Basic social engagement is really a struggle. I’m very literal, when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don’t know what they’re saying,” Seinfeld said. “But I don’t see it as dysfunctional, I just think of it as an alternate mindset.”
6. Andy Warhol
Experts believe that Andy Warhol’s social ineptitude, use of minimal words in speech and difficulty recognizing friends are all signs that the pop artist was autistic.
7. Albert Einstein
Known for his development of the general theory of relativity, he was thought to have autism because he experienced delayed language development and educational slowness.
8. Charles Darwin
Known for his theory of evolution of natural selection (survival of the fittest), leading psychiatrists believe that Charles Darwin had autism, because of his great attention to detail and his difficulties with social interactions.
9. Isaac Newton
Known for the advancement of mathematics (he developed calculus), he was thought to have autism because of his extreme focus on his work and his lack of friends. He also had many eccentricities and he would teach to an empty classroom if no one showed up for a lesson.
10. Emily Dickinson
A famous poet. She was very reclusive, and it is suspected that her epilepsy coincided with an autism diagnosis.
“The time has come for Autistic Pride,” says Kat Humble, chair of Autistic UK, to The Independent. “Being part of a neurological minority group does not mean that you have a medical condition. Homosexuality used to be regarded as a ‘perversion’ and was later defined as a psychiatric illness. That has changed, and attitudes towards people with minority neurotypes need to change too.”