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It is widely rumored that Bill Gates and Albert Einstein may be on the autistic spectrum. After reading a biography of Albert Einstein's childhood, his experiences seemed strikingly similar to that of an autistic child. People told me that Bill Gates is Asperger's/autistic. I personally like knowing this becuase it is proof that myself and other autistic people are capable of being smarter or more successful than they are taken for.

I think it is very possible Bill Gates is autistic/Asperger's. I will try to explain why I think they are probably are autistic. Remember though, that this is just my own personal opinion.

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Albert Einstein
Why I believe Albert Einstein was be autistic.
  • Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was four, and not fluently in his own language until he was eight or nine.
  • He did poorly in school and was a day dreamer.
  • He had tantrums as a child and couldn't express himself very well.
  • When he was a child, he was considered retarded even by his own parents.
  • Many people in the Einstein family are autistic.
  • An autistic brain has a cerebrum larger than normal, and a cerebellum smaller than normal. An autopsy of Einstein's brain showed that Einstein's cerebrum was indeed larger than normal (like an autistic brain). Unfortunately howerver, they did not reveal the size of his cerebellum.
  • Even as an adult, Albert Einstein couldn't take care of himself.
  • He never learned how to drive a car.
  • He was a visual thinker.


Claims made to challenge Albert Einstein being autistic.
  • Claim: Albert Einstein had good social skills.
  • My response: People claimed that Albert Einstein had good social skills. However, as I said above, he couldn't even take care of himself as an adult, which does not indicate good social skills. I myself may do well at some types of social interaction. It usually depends on who I interact with and what we are doing. If I'm in a group of people I know well, or the group is working on something I'm good at (like a project in math or computers) it would be easier to interact with them and appear "normal". It seems logical that Einstein probably handled certain social situations better than others. However, it's hard to say much about Einstein's supposed 'excellant social skills' since the people who claim Einstein had good social skills don't get into the specifics of what indicates good social skills; I've only heard generalizations.
  • Claim: Albert Einstein had too much abstract thinking abilities
  • My response: So? I can comprehend some abstract topics (such as abstract mathematics), and Einstein's abstract thoughts were in the area of abstract physics. My ability to think in pictures helps me comprehend abstract topics (and I know that Albert Einstein was a visual thinker). However, I have a lot of trouble communicating abstract topics. I beleive it is a myth that autistic people cannot comprehend abstract topics, and that it is only believed to be so because autistic people have more difficulty communicating knowledge of abstract topics.
  • Claim: Didn't Albert Einstein learn to speak earlier?
  • My response: The range of ages I've heard Einstein learned to speak at range from two to nine. However, four is the most common. It is none-the-less well known that he is a late speaker. I can't get anything certain, but I did find out that Einstein's sister said he spoke when he was 2 1/2, and Einstein himself said he wasn't certain when he learned to speak, but it definately wasn't before the age of 3 (which contradicts what is sister said). The reason different ages are given is probably because different sources most likely refer to the development of different language skills as the "age he learned to speak". For example, one source might list the age he learned to speak as the age he learned to form words. Another might list the age he spoke as the age learned to form sentences.


    Links:

    USENET Search for: autism Einstein
    The Life of Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton showed signs of autism
    Was Albert Einstein Autistic?
    Also, Albert Einstein may have also had: dyslexia, ADHD, Tourette's Syndrome, and OCD.



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Bill Gates
Reasons Bill Gates may be autistic/Asperger's
  • He has poor social skills and is shy.
  • He uses a trampoline, rocks, and has other "stimming"
  • It is alleged on the Internet Movie Database's trivia page for Bill Gates that he was diagnosed with Asperger's.
  • As a child, he was eccentric and curious.
  • He is left-handed
  • Click here for more explanations.

Claims made to challenge Bill Gates being autistic/Asperger's.
  • Claim: To be that successful, you need to be pretty social
  • My response: Asperger's/autism or not Bill Gates has poor social skills, so obviously good social skills are not required to successful. Although even if a person does have good social skills, it still doesn't mean they are not autistic/Asperger's. What some autistic people can do is learn social skills scientifically (by observing neurotypical behavior), what others can learn instinctively, and some can successfully emulate NT. I believe in rare situations, autism can enhance social skills.

  • Claim: Don't people just say he is autistic to make fun of him?
  • My response: Although people who like making fun of Bill Gates get a kick out of the allegations that Bill Gates might be autistic for some reason, claims from people knowledgeable about autism are serious.


Links:
USENET Search for: autism Bill Gates
Anthropologist on Mars
Bill Gates FAQ (scroll down to section 9)
The Geek Syndrome

The Pirates of Silicon Valley

The TNT film, "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" was based on the history of Apple and Microsoft. Bill Gates, played by Anthony Michael Hall, displayed many autistic traits throughout the film. Some of the traits were: he was oftan seen rocking, and was paranoid about minor things. He didn't always show eye contact. There was one incident when he was in the car talking about how excercize may be bad for the human body. He was calculating things such as how many times the heart would beat in an entire lifetime, and while he was trying to figure it out, he got extremely upset and desprite to find the answer, and even pulled over the car to try to figure out the answer. I can relate to his behavior in this situation, because I oftan feel the need to answer to trivial math problems, even when there is nothing useful for the solution.

I don't know what the intentions of the writers of this TNT movie were. They may have known Bill Gates had these tendancies and wanted to make the movie accurate, but they may have been trying to make fun of him. I believe it is likely that they based it on speculation about Bill Gates being autistic on the Internet, such as this webpage, since many things in the film seemed to be taken directly from other sources like The Triumph of the Nerds Documentary and an A&E biography.



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Questions generally asked to challenge people saying Bill Gates and Albert Einstein are autistic.
Arn't people looking for any little thing that could be autistic, which probably exist in anyone?

I don't beleive they do. If you look hard enough, you may indeed find traits in anybody which can be interpretted as 'autistic'. However, I do beleive the traits I just described are actual autistic traits. I'm not 100% either one is autistic, but I still think there is a high chance they are. I find Einstein's autistic traits and evidence he had autism (not speaking until the age of four, having tantrums as a child, incidence of autism in the family, cerebrum being larger than average, etc.) are too striking to just be "autistic traits found in anybody".

Each individual autistic trait found in Bill Gates or Albert Einstein, by itself, wouldn't indicate autism. However, it is the combination of autistic traits that they are probably on the autistic spectrum.




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Page created: 1999 March 6 (age 16)
Content updated: 2004 May 1 (age 22)
Links updated: 2004 May 1 (age 22)
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