Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Another possibly autistic Prime Minister to be added to my MASSIVE list
In early August I wrote about the former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in relation to the autistic spectrum. I received a comment on the piece from Socrates (who has a blog The New Republic), drawing my attention to another former PM of the UK, Sir Edward Heath. I was aware that there has been a bit of comment on the net about Heath's possible place on the spectrum, but I could only find one published document discussing this, and it was only a letter to the editor of a UK newspaper, with another letter in reply arguing against it. I didn't think this was quite enough documentary evidence to justify adding Heath to my gigantic list of famous autists.
The next day I dropped by my favourite charity secondhand goods shop, an outlet of Save The Children, for a rummage around. There on the shelf was an ancient book about British Prime Ministers, which I would otherwise not have given a second glance. It included a brief chapter about Heath. As I scanned through it, lots of well-known words jumped out at me, as if daubed with a pink highlighter pen "cool", "withdrawn”, “a loner”, “stiff", "awkward", "outspoken", "efficient and unpopular”, “bloody bad-tempered", and “extraordinarily self-sufficient”. I later read more about Heath and discovered that he never married but was most likely not gay, had a very sharp mind and he was also very good at nursing a grudge. I believe that Sir Edward Heath belongs on my list, and as soon as I get a chance I will be updating it, bringing the total of famous names on it to 174.
So kiddies, just because you are a bit of an odd one, a natural loner, or maybe even have an autism/Asperger syndrome diagnosis, that doesn't necessarily mean you could never be a Prime Minister. Many grown-ups don't like to admit it, but your innate level of intelligence is of huge importance in attaining your ambitions. Brains (or lack of brains) really do matter. Autists appear to be over-represented among the intellectual elite. Why this is so we do not know, and autism researchers do not appear to be the least bit interested in finding the answer to this question. Other factors that are very important in realizing career goals are your level of personal motivation and how much support others, including parents, teachers, professional mentors, friends, spouses and family are willing or able to give. Being a bit autistic is not necessarily the brick wall that so many people make it out to be, in fact, it could even be to your advantage.
A referenced list of 173 famous or important people diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition or subject of published speculation about whether they are or were on the autistic spectrum