At the end of every year there are plenty of ‘Top 10’ lists.
Top 10 Songs
Top 10 Albums
Top 10 Toys
Top 10 Stories
Therichest.com is a website famous for creating these ‘Top’ lists. After reading, Day #44 – Word Girl a good friend of mine sent me a link to an article that listed the ‘Top 10 Celebrities’ with a spectrum diagnosis. I’ve seen lists like this – but there was something special about this list. I’ve seen the lists with Einstein and Beethoven and (my favorite) Andy Warhol. This list was different…and maybe it’s because many of these folks reported being ‘weird’ during their childhood – and were diagnosed as pre-teens or even adults.
Tucker and I dutifully read through this list and he was amazed – amazed at all of the things people can do, the difference that each of these people made.
We need more of this – you’re different, and it’s okay. These people were/are different too – and they, like you, were/are amazing!
Wondering who was on that list? The list is paraphrased from http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/most-influential/10-celebrities-with-autism/10/
#1: Stanley Kubrick. Although never truly identified (he was born in 1928 – long before autism even had a name). Dr. Michael Fitzgerald and co-writer Viktoria Lyons diagnosed Kubrick in retrospect, discussing him in their book Asperger Syndrome: A Gift or A Curse? Kubrick, fit the autism spectrum: He had poor social skills, narrow and obsessive interests, literal thinking, inflexibility and more. Asperger’s was clearly a gift to the artistic world in this case.
#2: Tim Burton. Although he has never had a formal diagnosis, believes he may have Asperger’s, or at least that he falls on the spectrum. His wife, Helena Bonham Carter was researching a role with ties to autism when she recognized traits shared by her husband. Once Burton was watching a documentary about autism and reported that was how he felt as a child. In fact, he claims Edward Scissorhands, his first film, is somewhat autobiographical, as it describes his life on the margins during his childhood.
#3:Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd has been diagnosed both with Tourette’s and Asperger’s. While diagnosed with Tourette’s at age 12, he did not receive the Asperger’s diagnosis until the early 1980’s. Three of his obsessions are ghosts, Hans Holzer (a ghost hunter), and policemen. It seems we have Asperger’s to thank for the film Ghostbusters.
#4: Courtney Love. In Courtney Love: The Real Story, Poppy Z. wrote that Love was diagnosed with a mild form of autism when she was nine. What does “mild” autism involve? It’s hard to say because of Love’s troubled life – but her lyrics certainly show a highly intelligent (although) troubled individual.
#5: Daryl Hannah. What? The mermaid? Yeah – that was my reaction as well. She received a childhood diagnosis of autism. She reports being intensely shy as a child and rocked to self-soothe (also admitted that she still does). She ultimately left the limelight because she was uncomfortable being the center of attention.
#6: Susan Boyle. The Britain’s Got Talent break-out superstar was told she had brain damage. Not so, it was Asperger’s. In an interview, she expressed relief at having a more specific diagnosis.
#7: Ladyhawke. An indie/new wave musician had many childhood health issues. Like Boyle, she received an Asperger’s diagnosis in recent years. She is not comfortable talking about it, but credits the syndrome with her success in music. As a child she was obsessed with music.
#8: James Durbin. Durbin was on season 10 of American Idol. He was diagnosed with Tourette’s and Asperger’s when he was 10. He was bullied in childhood, which led him to write the song ‘Screaming.’ He has a hyper-focus trait (like many people with Asperger’s) that helps him with his music.
#9: Matt Savage. According to the Autism Higher Education Foundation, this young prodigy was diagnosed as having Pervasive Developmental Disorder (high-functioning autism) when he was three. Many refer to him as a savant. As savant shows extreme proficiency in one area. He taught himself to read piano music at age six. He has traveled the world performing and has already released over nine albums.
#10: Matthew Labyorteaux. According to a self-named blog about Matthew Labyorteaux (credited on film as Matthew Laborteaux), the actor known best for his role as Albert on Little House on the Prairie he was adopted and originally could not be touched and slept standing in his crib. After a lot of love and added consistency, autism became a part of who he was rather than the thing that defined him.
Oh yeah…one more.
#11: Tucker. According to his mom and sister (who may or may not be biased) he has a general level of awesomeness rarely seen in 12-year olds. He has an obsession with Vikings Football and a hyper-focus with the NFL. He can report statistics, player positions and numbers, and team records on demand. He also has extreme interests in Coldplay, TobyMac, original Scooby Doo episodes, and juking around the house. He was originally diagnosed as having Sensory Integration Dysfunction, but now recognizes that he closely aligns with Asperger’s. He accepts himself and the diagnosis doesn’t really matter – because he is who is awesome.
He’s awesome and he’s mine.
(This is him…after he shared his ashes and blessed one of his 12 footballs.)