When you think of the word Autism you probably think of a few different things. usually people think of Dustin Hoffmans character Ray in the Raim Man, or a sad quiet child sitting in the corner. If you are lucky enough to be related to someone with autism, you smile. Autism wears many different faces and hats. The symbol recognized world wide for autism is the puzzle peice because no two autism cases are ever the same. 



Autism was first diagnosed in 1943. The estimate of people withinin the United States having autism was 1 in 10,000. Today that number is 1 in every 85 children born. That is more than a 6000 percent increase in Autism. While the cause and treatments for autism vary one trait statnds out. People with Autism have talent! That’s right, talent!  They excel at art, music, science, anything that requires imagination. Let me show you a few examples of the Autism world at work. 


Temple Grandin is a very high functioning autistic who has changed the world not only for the people but animals too. Temple holds a PhD and is a professor of animal science at the Univerisity of Northern Colorado. HBO has release a film about her life. She invented a machine that has changed the cattle industry. Her book, Thinking in Pictures describes growing up with Autism. 


Andy Kaufman was a comedian. He had his own variety show on TV. He also played a mechanic on the popular tv show TAXI. Andy’s humor was often misunderstood. There is a movie and a song both named Man on the Moon written about him. 


Dr. Bug also known as Sotoshi Tajiri is the creator of Pokemon. He was called Dr. Bug by his friends when was a child due to his autism faschination with you guessed it, BUGS! His official diagnosis was Aspergers syndrom a type of highly evolved autism. Nintendo co-workers and officials describ him as a remarkably creative human. Pokemon is loved world-wide. 


And Warhol Artist, musician, and film makeer. Andy decided to make art using every day ordinary things as his muse. He painted soup cans, soda bottles, and cookie jars. His art was as obsessive and repetitive as he was. Once he began painting or collecting something he would paint it over and over again. He worked with large groups of people at a place they dubbed The Factory. They made movies, art, and music. In the late 1960’s  Andy’s paintings of famous people such as Marilyn Monroe made him a lot of money. He still lived with his mom and was shy. He said ” in the future everyone will b e famous for at least 15 minutes” Andy will be famous much longer than that. 


As Hans Asperger himself once stated “It is hard to have science or art without a touch of Autism”. It is my hope that these examples of outstanding people with Autism have given you and insiders glance in to this spectrum. The next time you seee a child or an adult with Autism, know that there is a light at the end of the Autism tunnel. It shines through their eyes every day. When one of these children draw something for you, hang on to it. It could be priceless in more ways that one! Now dear readyer, I leave it up to you, Autism or Awetism? YOU DECIDE! 


Written by Donnar Richards of Autism Family Circus. Counseling and coaching for the families and teachers of Autistic Children. Co-Author of My Brothers Keeper, a kindergartners View Of Autism.