Autistic people face more challenges and barriers in everyday life than most other people. And this is why autism is classed as a disability.

Even autistic people who say autism is their ‘superpower’, or who may be described by others as ‘high functioning’ will face regular difficulties. Despite the challenges, it is still completely possible to live a happy and successful life as an autistic person – including being successful in work. This is true for autistic people who are different from most people in obvious ways, such as people who are non-speaking, or may have an unusual gait or noticeable stims. It is also true for people that you walk past in the street everyday who have no obvious outward signs of autism – and you would never know are autistic, unless you got to know them. There are many famous people who have successful careers and fulfilling lives, despite being autistic. And there is a growing number of autistic people who are becoming well known for their writing, speaking, advocacy and campaigning on autism – who help give us insight into how autistic people can tackle challenges, play to their strengths, and lead rewarding lives. Of course, you don’t have to be famous to be a happy, successful autistic person – but it can be encouraging to know about those people who are. Many famous autistic people help to bust myths – such as all autistic people are shy and retiring, or lack empathy, creativity and imagination.

Some autistic people from the UK, successful and /or famous in their fields

Where they have their own websites, we have shared links to more information about these people. Although we make every effort to ensure these links are accurate, up to date and relevant, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.
Anne Hegerty

aka ‘The Governess’, TV personality, professional quizzer on TV show ‘The Chase’

Click here to read about Anne in relation to autism in this BBC article.

Click here to go to Anne’s website.

Anthony Hopkins
Autistamatic - aka Quinn

Website host on a mission to learn and share more about the lives, challenges and successes of autistic people, to create a better understanding of each other.

Find Quinn’s website here: https://www.autistamatic.com/

Chris Packham

Naturalist, conservationist, TV presenter – including programmes in relation to autism, such as: Inside Our Autistic Minds; Chris Packham – Aspergers and Me, author of such books as Fingers in the Sparkle Jar – his memoir, including reflections on how autism has affected his thinking and behaviour

Watch Inside Our Autistic Minds here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f2cxgn

Find Chris’s website here: https://www.chrispackham.co.uk/home

Christine McGuinness

TV presenter – including BBC Documentary Unmasking my Autism

Listen to Christine talk about autism here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001k31t

Dr Pooky Knightsmith

Autistic advocate, podcaster and author of books such as How to Support Your Autistic Child with Food, Eating and Mealtimes: A practical Guide for Parents, Carers and Other Supporting Adults

Click here to listen to Pooky interview autistic author Pete Wharmby on the topic ‘Is autism a blessing or a curse’. (Note: This video was not produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and may contain adverts.) Find Pooky’s website here: https://www.pookyknightsmith.com/

Elle McNichol

Author of A Kind of Spark A fictional book with neuro-diversity affirmative characters/storyline (for older children), which has been adapted to a drama series on CBBC

Watch A Kind of Spark here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p0f7q3rv/a-kind-of-spark

Click here to go to Elle’s website.

Fern Brady

Comedian and author of Strong Female Character – her autism related autobiography

Watch a video narrated by Fern, about autism and anxiety: https://www.autistica.org.uk/get-involved/anxiety-breakthroughs

Gary Numan

Watch this interview where Gary talks about his life in relation to autism: https://news.sky.com/video/gary-numan-on-the-positives-of-his-autism-11048011

Find Gary’s website here: https://garynuman.com/

Guy Martin

British motorcycle racer, heavy vehicle mechanic, TV presenter

Find Guy’s website here: https://www.guymartinracing.co.uk/

Holly Smale

Author of best-selling children’s book series, Geek Girl

Read and listen to Holly’s BBC interview about her autism diagnosis here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5qDF2bM3LQpvKhpdZP5Vspr/holly-smale-i-was-diagnosed-as-autistic-at-39

Joe Wells

Comedian

Hear Joe talk about his vision for an autistic future, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Jvx_umysik (Note: This video was not produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and may contain adverts.)

Find Joe’s website here: https://www.joewells.org.uk/

Katherine May

Podcaster and author – including her memoir about her midlife autism diagnosis The Electricity of Every Living Thing

Watch Katherine talk to other women about autism, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWprLO4u-aA (Note: This video was not produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and may contain adverts.)

Find Katherine’s website here: https://katherine-may.co.uk/

Melanie Sykes

Former TV presenter and author of Illuminated: Autism and All the Things I’ve Left Unsaid

Watch Melanie talk on BBC Woman’s Hour about her autism diagnosis, here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b5mh1q

Pete Wharmby

Autistic advocate, very active on social media and author of books such as ‘Untypical: How the World isn’t Built for Autistic People and What We Should All Do About it’ and ‘What I Want To Talk About – How Autistic Special Interests Shape a Life’

Watch Pete’s interview about autistic special interests here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOcx_5L3kbo (Note: This video was not produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and may contain adverts.)

Find Pete’s website here: https://petewharmby.com/

Purple Ella

Autistic advocate and vlogger.

Watch Ella Talk about autistic meltdowns here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7a3xm9fqz0 (Note: This video was not produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and may contain adverts.)

Find Ella’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/purplemumify 

Rebecca Burgess

Illustrator, comic strip creator, author of books such as ‘Speak up!’ a coming of age graphic novel about an autistic girl

Find Rebecca’s website here: https://www.rebeccaburgess.co.uk/

Sam Holness

aka SuperSam, Ironman triathlete

Find Sam’s website here: https://www.samholness.com/

Sara Gibbs

Comedy script writer, author of Drama Queen – her memoirs in relation to being autistic

See Sara’s short BBC animation here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/ideas/videos/theres-no-one-way-to-be-autistic/p0fqdsrd

Siena Castellon

Award winning author, advocate and campaigner – At age 16, she wrote The Spectrum Girls Survival Guide  Since age 13 she has hosted a website to help support young neurodivergent people

Find Siena’s website here: https://www.qlmentoring.com/organisation-and-time-management

Sophie Baverstock

Winner of BBC Glow up make-up artist competition, 2022

Read about how autism has impacted on Sophie’s life and work here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/b558b2ac-cf17-4b4f-af06-083d368543b2

Stephen Wiltshire

Architectural artist

Find Stephen’s website here: https://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk/

Susan Boyle

Singer

Watch Susan talk about herself in relation to autism, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFceNpw3APk (Note: This video was not produced by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and may contain adverts.)

Tzipporah Johnston

Artist/craftsperson, illustrator, writer/blogger.

See Tzipporah’s comics to illustrate the Double Empathy Problem, The Autistic Brain and Autistic Burnout here: https://www.tzipporahjohnston.com/comics

Find Tzipporah’s website here: https://www.tzipporahjohnston.com/

Some autistic people from around the world, successful and /or famous in their fields:

Anthony Ianni – Basketball champion – USA
Clay Marzo – Surfer
Courtney Love – Musician
Dan Ackroyd – Actor
Dan Harman – Musician, aka Owl City
Dani Bowman – Animator, autistic advocate/speaker
Daryl Hannah – Actor
Dr Devon Price – Social Psychologist, blogger and author of books such as: ‘Unmasking Autism – The Power of Embracing our Hidden Neurodiversity’; ‘Laziness Does Not Exist’
Dr Temple Grandin – Professor of animal science, autistic writer and advocate/speaker
Eminem – Musician
Greta Thunberg – Political activist
Hannah Gadsby – Comedian
Marty Balin – Musician: Jefferson Airplane
Naoki Higashida – Non-speaking author of ‘The Reason I Jump’ – which is now also a Netflix film.
Satoshi Tajiri – Inventor of Pokemon
Tony Del Blois – Musician – autistic and also blind
Wentworth Miller – Actor

 

 

 

 

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