Asperger’s syndrome is a high-functioning developmental disorder that is part of the autism spectrum. Symptoms, such as difficulty with social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and trouble making eye contact, vary widely among affected individuals. Asperger’s may go unrecognized until a child or adult begins to experience difficulties in school, work, or other social settings. But Asperger’s often bestows unique gifts, too. Some of the most inspiring and influential people we know and love have Asperger’s. Here are seven famous people living with Asperger’s.
Susan Boyle shocked the world in her 2009 Britain’s Got Talent audition when she sang a perfect rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the Broadway show Les Misérables. The artist sold millions of record-breaking albums, toured the world, and gained a following by producing music that brings listeners to tears.
Boyle, 47, didn’t realize she had Asperger’s syndrome, though the clues — trouble with eye contact, anxiety, and sudden and emotional withdrawal in uncomfortable situations — were everywhere. It made sense when Boyle’s doctor told her she had the disorder.
Boyle was anything but thrown by the diagnosis. “Asperger’s doesn’t define me,” she told The Guardian. “It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”