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Awareness About Autism: Success Stories

Autism is a pervasive developmental disability that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with other people.

According to WHO (2022), about one in 100 children has autism worldwide. As per studies, roughly 23 of every 10,000 children in India have autism.

These are striking figures and even more striking are the inspirational stories of people with Autism. 

Signs and Symptoms of High Functioning Autism

To measure the success of our societies, we should examine how well those with different abilities, including persons with autism, are integrated as full and valued members.

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Let us look at some people who defied this label of Autism and rose above this definition.

  1. Pranav Bakshi 

Pranav Bakshi from Delhi is India’s first model with autism. He started fashion modelling at the age of 19 and since then there has been no turning back. As a child, he experience regressed speech, hyperactivity and poor eye contact. He has a 40 percent disability and suffers from echolalia (repetition of speech) and anxiety, but with his never say never attitude and support from his mother and elder sister, he fought the struggles. He believes that Autism is his superpower and has a positive outlook on challenges. He is an inspiration to millennials looking to enter the field.

India's first autistic model Pranav Bakshi: Initial journey was very  lonely, had moments of doubt
  1. Susan Boyle

She is a popular Scottish singer who came to the forefront and rose to fame after her performance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She had shared in one of her interviews that she has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (a form of Autism Spectrum disorder). Susan’s debut studio album, I Dreamed a Dream, was released in November 2009 and it instantly became the UK’s best-selling debut album of all time. She grew up believing that she had brain damage but on finally knowing what she truly is going through, she feels relieved.

Susan Boyle said she was relieved to have been diagnosed
  1. Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd is a successful actor, comedian, producer, musician and writer. He is famous for his four seasons on Saturday Night Live (SNL) show and hit comedies such as The Blues Brothers (1980) and Ghostbusters (1984). He has Asperger’s Syndrome but it has not deterred him to work successfully. Aykroyd shared that one of his symptoms was his obsession with ghosts and law enforcement and he gives credit to this symptom of ASD as a catalyst for his movie, Ghostbusters.

Dan Aykroyd movies: 15 greatest films ranked from worst to best - GoldDerby
  1. David Byrne

He is a Scottish-American singer, songwriter, actor, writer, and filmmaker. He has received numerous accolades an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, a Tony Award, and a Golden Globe Award. David Byrne once said, “However we are, we don’t know how to be another way. That’s the way we are.” He has shared that he has mild Asperger’s and continues to inspire others.

David Byrne-Autistic People Who Got Famous

These are just a few names of the people who have moved beyond the diagnosis and made a name for themselves.

There are many amongst us living with Autism who continue to shine and inspire others. It is our responsibility as a collectivistic society to accept and include all the people irrespective of their different abilities. We should focus on equipping and supporting them in using their abilities in a way which is beneficial for them and society.

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