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Amazing People with Autism



Temple Grandin, Doctor, author, advocate


An American doctor of animal science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the squeeze machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons. Grandin is listed in the 2010 Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world in the category “Heroes."


Clay Marzo, professional surfer


Clay is an accomplished professional surfer and aquatic athlete. He is sponsored by Quiksilver, Skullcandy, SPY Optic, Future, Creatures of Leisure, Vestal, and Rockstar Energy. Marzo was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. He is constantly seen rubbing his hands together at a rapid pace. Clay helps out with an organization called Surfers Healing Camp. Originated in Malibu, California, Surfers Healing is a foundation for taking children with autism surfing, in hopes to enrich their lives by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing.



Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon


 Referred to as a child as ‘Dr. Bug’ by friends because of his autistic fixation with bugs, Satoshi Tajiri later created one of the most popular video game franchises in the world, second only to Super Mario Brothers. based on his childhood fascination with bugs. Video games was another fixation Satoshi had and once when he saw two kids playing with their Game Boys linked -  he imagined a bug crawling across the link cable and thus the idea for Pokémon was born. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Satoshi Tajiri has been described by Nintendo officials as exceedingly creative but reclusive and eccentric.




  Jason McElwain, autistic high-school basketball wonder


A high school basketball player from Rochester, New York, Jason became known not technically as a basketball player for his local high school team, but for his involvement in the last game of their basketball season. Jason was known at school because of his autistic fixation for playing basketball. He was known to practice for hours on end all by himself. At the last four minutes of the last game of the season he was asked to play and scored an astonishing 20 points, some from a three point range, a number that often is not even scored through an entire game.




  Matt Savage, U.S. autistic jazz prodigy


Often times when doctors are not sure where on the spectrum a child or adult falls, but autism is believed to exist, that person will be diagnosed as having a PDD or Pervasive Development Disorder Unspecified. Matt Savage was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of three and later became a jazz prodigy. In Savage’s teens he become a professional jazz pianist with his own trio. He plays alongside the best adult musicians of our time and plays all over the world. He has recorded three audio CDs with the proceeds being donated to autism research and support. The legendary Dave Brubeck, known as ‘the jazz legend’ has coined Savage as the “Mozart of jazz.” Savage now attends the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Derek Paravicini


Derek Paravicini was born extremely prematurely, at 25 weeks. His blindness was caused by oxygen therapy given during his time in a neonatal intensive care unit. This also affected his developing brain, resulting in his severe learning disability. He also has autism. He began playing the piano by the age of two, and it was soon discovered he had "perfect pitch," the rare ability to name or reproduce a tone without reference to an external standard, which means he can play any music after hearing it once. In 1989, at the age of nine, Paravicini had his first major public concert at the Barbican Hall in London when he played with the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra. In that year he appeared on Wogan and was the main subject of a documentary called Musical Savants. Aged ten he was presented with a Barnardo's Children's Champion Award by Diana, Princess of Wales. More opportunities followed, including playing at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. Derek has played in venues across the UK, including Ronnie Scott's and the Barbican Halls in London, in Europe and the U.S. and he has appeared in the news media across the world. His first commercial CD "Echoes of the Sounds to Be" has just been released internationally.