A disorder that left them socially impaired, gave them an ability that none could match. Find out about famous people with Asperger’s and what they achieved.
Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is mild autism, which results in low social capacity, but a high intellectual one. Thus, many who have been diagnosed with AS have made a name for themselves in their fields of expertise. Asperger Syndrome Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder, which is why they seem similar.
It causes repetitive patterns of behavior and impaired social interaction. The disorder has been named after Hans Asperger, who first recognized it in 1944. According to him many parents, especially fathers showed the same signs of behavior as that of the child suffering from it. He said that the disorder was genetic in nature and more prevalent in males.
Famous People with Asperger’s Syndrome
One of the greatest scientists who went on to prove theory of relativity could not speak fluently till the age of nine. Language delays, which are commonly seen in children with AS, was an emphasized impairment for Albert Einstein.
He was thrown out of school for displaying odd behavior and for being a social misfit. However, he challenged his condition and went on to do some incredible revolutionary work. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics for his work.
One of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin was a theorist, author, politician, scientist, activist, and diplomat. He was the first head of post office, which indicates his obsession with order. Extreme behavior, as seen with Bejamin Franklin, is another sign of Asperger’s syndrome in adults.
His arrogance and hatred towards his mother for marrying another man, his disobedience towards school rules, and his defiance towards authority all indicate a pronounced AS condition.
However, his sheer intelligence and his unwavering focus, led him on a path to be one of the noted physicists, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian. The world owes understanding of gravity on earth to his theory.
One of the wealthiest businessman in the world today, a philanthropist, founder of Microsoft, and the author of several books, Bill Gates has been long suspected to have AS. His failed peer relationships and general lack of dressing (this is also noted as a symptom of AS), are all indicative of his AS condition.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock
An iconic director, producer, and the Master of Suspense, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock created a unique style of filmmaking. In his career spanning over six decades, he directed 50 films that cover the genre of silent movies, black and white feature films, and Technicolor movies.
The streak of fear, anxiety, escape, and twisted endings to every story, reflect his innate human spirit dominated by AS.
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Emma are some of Jane Austen’s noted works.
Her ‘risqué experiments in writing’ which are seen through her bashing of the then societal practices, aristocratic hypocrisy and conformity to conventions without questioning, show that Austen must have had AS. Irrespective of that, she still remains one of the influential and noted authors of all time.
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen, who created the make-believe land with morals that hold true even today, never learned to spell correctly! An unbelievable truth, but it can only be attributed to his AS condition, as language difficulties are not new to this disorder.
His love life which records his refusal to have sexual relations and often falling in love with unattainable women, are also suggestive of his AS condition.
The Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer, excelled at every discipline he chose to experiment with. Surprisingly, Michelangelo held a low opinion about painting, but went on to create the most remarkable work in the history of world art.
The symphonies composed by Mozart remain a wonder to every musician and every listener. His inexplicable musical creations, which became his only form of expression are believed to be a result of his AS condition.
The quirky three-time Academy Award-winning film director, writer, actor, jazz musician, comedian, and playwright, Woody Allen owes much of his success to his Asperger’s syndrome.
His satirical films and sardonic humor have made him a world favorite. In an interview with Reuters, Woody Allen said, “I am a neurotic in a more benign way. I mean I have a lot of neurotic habits.”
The King of Pop who made the world moonwalk to his music, was most definitely living with an AS. He justifies his abnormal behavior by stating his troubled childhood. However, his siblings who received the same upbringing, are absolutely normal.
He made friends with few people who harbored interests similar to his. This made relating to them easy, as compared to those who didn’t have an acumen for rhythm.
Many children, who are diagnosed at a very young age with Asperger’s Syndrome have above average intelligence, but poor social skills. Their abnormality in behavior makes them antisocial.
Probably it is this disadvantage of the disorder, that has been an asset to the world. Though these children suffer at the altar of friendship, they find their true calling easier than their normal contemporaries do. Children with AS need parental support, encouragement, and guidance to materialize their intelligence.
Please Note: Asperger’s Syndrome was included in the World Health Organization’s diagnostic manual, International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) in 1992 and in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994.
It is a recently recognized condition and therefore some of the examples listed earlier are only of a speculative nature as they cannot be confirmed.