Huffington Post just unveiled a short list of people in the public eye who have spoken out about their Asperger’s and autism diagnosis – helping to shed a positive light on it. Some of those on the list are not surprising – like Temple Grandin (who has professor, advocate and author as three of her many titles) – but most, I think you’llfind, are people you may not have known about. Although you may have recently heard that Daryl Hannah (actress from the movie Splash!) talked about her Asperger’s diagnosis – and singer Susan Boyle was also diagnosed with Asperger’s–you may be surprised to know that Dan Aykroyd– yes, that Dan Aykroyd from SNL, Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, and about a million other movies) – has been diagnosed with both Tourette syndrome and Asperger’s. In fact, his Asperger’s actually inspired the movie Ghostbusters – he said that one of his symptoms was an obsession with ghosts and law enforcement and that he “became obsessed by Hans Holzer, the greatest ghost hunter ever. That’s when the ideal of my film Ghostbusters was born.
Some others include Alexis Wineman – who served as Miss. Montana, the first Miss. America contestant with autism; James Durbin, a past American Idol contestant who found music to be a therapy; and, Heather Kuzmich, a former contestant on America’s Top Model. (Check out the full list and article here.)
Interesting list, and noted that the majority of those listed have an Asperger’s diagnosis. Granted that these members of the autism community are on the more high-functioning side, and recognizing that the spectrum is broad; however, I’m glad that all of these people have come forward to talk about their diagnosis because this can only continue to help increase awareness, and maybe even more acceptance of it as well. Whether it’s talking about the obstacles they’ve had to overcome (and/or continue to deal with), the therapies they’ve found, or even serving as a role model, utilizing their platform to share their experiences is, I’d agree, inspiring.
Lynsey, Community Manager