Originally Posted By: Step to Progress
Autism Has Been Around for A While
The first person diagnosed with autism was Donald Triplett. He was diagnosed in 1943, 79 years ago. Donald is also the subject of the book In A Different Key, which has been made into a movie.

April was first designated as Autism Awareness Month by the Autism Society in 1970, 52 years ago. Autism was first recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Third Edition (DSM-III) in 1980, 42 years ago. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the prevalence of autism in 2021 was 1 in every 44 children.

“Disability” or “Differently Abled”?
Autism may be categorized as a “disability” but that term is useful only for purposes of obtaining appropriate support and accommodations in school, employment, or other environments, or to obtain government benefits. The term “disability” implies that the person is “less than” others. However, people with autism would be more appropriately characterized as “differently-abled” with different individuals requiring different types and degrees of support. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that skills and challenges vary with each individual.

People with autism may also have splinter skills, with exceptional strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. Stephen Wiltshire is an artist who can draw New York City from memory. Derek Paravicini is a musician with autism who can play music after hearing it once.

There any many famous people who are known to have autism or historical figures who are believed to have had autism. In many cases, their unique skills enabled them to invent or create in ways that resulted in their great contributions and fame. Some of those people include
- Dan Aykroyd, comedian;
- Daryl Hannah, actress;
- Jerry Seinfeld, comedian;
- Elon Musk, inventor;
- Albert Einstein, scientist and mathemetician;
- Leonardo DaVinci, artist and scientist;
- Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft;
- Emily Dickinson, poet;
- Michelangelo, artist;
- Charles Darwin, scientist;
- Anthony Hopkins, actor;
- Bobby Fischer, chess master; and
- Henry Cavendish, scientist.
What would our world be like without the contributions of these people with autism?

What Do Autistic Adults Have to Say?
Consider books written by adults with autism, including Different…Not Less, by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. and We’re Not Broken, Changing the Autism Conversation, by Eric Garcia. The titles alone are enough to convey their opinions about autism acceptance.

When Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism in 1947, doctors told her parents she should be institutionalized. However, due to her mother’s encouragement and Temple’s determination, she went on to earn a Ph.D. in Animal Science and become a college professor. Dr. Grandin wrote many books and was also the subject of the HBO movie, “Temple Grandin”.

In her writing, Dr. Grandin acknowledges that autism is a spectrum disorder and that people with autism can range from very intelligent people who are a bit quirky, to people who cannot speak and need more substantial support. She has also been open and transparent about her own needs for support in certain areas. Dr. Grandin is a frequent speaker to parents and people with autism and emphasizes getting children with autism off of electronics, teaching them practical skills, finding their strengths and interests, and exploring futures that follow those interests.

While research continues to look for causes of Autism, studies have found some early indicators of Autism.
Just as preeclampsia is associated with more than its share of child prodigies, so it is also significantly linked to the development of autism. The placenta, in fact, may be a ‘biomarker’ for autism. Researchers have found that the more abnormal folds a mother’s placenta has, the more likely the child will have autism and the more severe the condition. Such creases seem to be the placenta’s way of responding to a variety of stressors – placental folds are akin to a check-engine light, a marker of something somewhere being wrong.