Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability which can affect a person’s social and communicative abilities and behaviours. Autism is classed as a disability in the UK and alters the way a person’s brain processes, understands and perceives the world around them. Autism can be diagnosed at any age, however being diagnosed in adulthood can prove more challenging as it means a person has to adapt to living with the diagnosis. There has been a lack of education around the condition in society which means that neurotypical people often don’t understand autistic behaviours. This is why it is so important for celebrities with autism to speak out about the disability on their platforms to educate and raise awareness of autism. If you are an autistic person or are interested in learning more about the disability, here are a few influencers and celebrities with autism which you can add to your social media to consume their valuable content.
Ella Willis @_ellawillis
Ella Willis is a Digital Creator from Newcastle Upon Tyne who makes content on their TikTok and Instagram pages, focusing on autism, queerness and fashion. Willis was diagnosed with autism just over a year ago which took them two and a half years to obtain due to waiting lists and other barriers faced in the diagnosis process. Willis first began to question that they were autistic during their time at university in 2019 and requested a referral for autism assessment in early 2020.
“I had always felt different to everyone around me. A little strange, like my brain was wired differently and I couldn’t understand why people didn’t see the world the way I did”. Willis recently reflected on their first year of living with an autism diagnosis in a recent post on LinkedIn. They spoke about recognising when they were ‘masking’ in certain situations that they weren’t aware of before and that identifying as a disabled person explained why they were facing obstacles in situations that weren’t supporting their needs.
Ella Willis is educating and raising awareness about autism on their social platforms where they post content covering all areas of the condition. Their goal for this is to normalise autistic behaviours in society, educate neurotypical people on how autistic people experience situations and provide relatable content to fellow autistic users online. Ella Willis has recently illustrated a book, The Autistic Guide to Adventure, written by autistic author Allie Mason. Willis’ collaboration on this work shows they are using their platform and passion to further raise awareness and educate others about autism. The book is a great guide for early teens and young adults to help them find more ways to get out of their comfort zones in autism-friendly methods. If you are an autistic person or are interested in learning more about the disability to support neurodivergent friends and family, Ella Willis is one of the most engaging, relatable and informative celebrities with autism to add to your social network.
Cheryl is a recent nursing graduate who makes videos on her TikTok and Instagram accounts @_thislineismine documenting her experiences as an autistic student at university and finding the positives in life. Cheryl was diagnosed with autism at the age of 22 after carrying out research on the disability following her own suspicions that she may be autistic. They create content that they wish they had been exposed to when they were younger, focusing on positive awareness of autism and honest experiences of living as an autistic young person. Cheryl has shared videos relating to her experience with applying for Disabled Students’ Allowance and the forms of support that were available to her for her autism diagnosis.
Areas of living with autism and adapting to live more comfortably in social environments which Cheryl covers in her videos includes wearing the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard in public spaces such as shops and airports. She has documented her experience of flying with different airlines as an autistic person. These types of videos can help autistic people to feel more comfortable in facing these situations themselves. Cheryl has also collaborated with brands that support autistic users such as Loop earplugs. She discusses how their noise-cancelling earplugs can help to cope with sensory overload.
As a now qualified paediatric nurse, Cheryl wants to show her followers that you can follow your dreams while living with autism and that the disability doesn’t have to hold you back, you just have to approach life differently.
Greta Thunberg @gretathunberg
Greta Thunberg is a 20 year old Swedish activist who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (formerly Aspergers) in primary school at the age of 11. Being one of many celebrities with autism, Thunberg’s diagnosis has played a significant role in her environmental activism work as she has spoken out about how she considers autism to be her ‘superpower’. Thunberg’s autism diagnosis enables her to channel specific behaviours that benefit her activism, such as hyperfocusing on specific topics such as climate change. Additionally she has an above-average intelligence level and is straightforward and honest with her opinions and actions in relation to what she believes is right.
As one of the most influential voices of the younger generation, being open about her experiences of living with ASD is showing society that being autistic does not need to hold you back from achieving change and success. You can look at the symptoms of autism as powers to use to your advantage.
BlindBoy is an incredible writer, podcaster, artist and comedian, among many other talents. He was recently diagnosed with autism, and has documented his personal journey on his podcast along with his personal experiences with mental health.
BlindBoy notes that being autistic is different for everybody, but that for him it helps him become immersed in ideas and contributes to an all-encompassing curiosity that allows him to deep dive into subjects and helps him find the most interesting stories out of the most mundane starting points. Listen to his podcasts on the colour purple, the KFC Colonel and… cereal to see what I mean!
Daniel Jones @theaspieworld
Daniel Jones is a content creator, author and one of many celebrities with autism who advocates for the disability via his social brand The Aspie World. Jones aims to help adults to navigate life with autism by sharing informative and relatable videos on the Youtube Channel The Aspie World, covering topics such as recognising autistic signs and symptoms in adulthood and providing tips and hacks to make living with autism easier.
Jones has written a book, Autism for Adults, which is a great resource for people who have been diagnosed with autism later in life to learn how to adapt to living with the condition. On his website, TinyTaw, followers can access his additional ebook, Autism Life Hacks, which is free to download online. Jones also shares a range of sensory tools and equipment links on his website which autistic adults may benefit from such as a fidget computer mouse. Daniel Jones shares quick, informative clips on Instagram reels in a life coaching style format to support autistic people with navigating aspects of life such as change.
“Change can be super difficult for autistic people, but there are ways to manage this transition and change”. Following and engaging with Jones’ content online can benefit autistic users as they can learn ways to enhance their experiences of living with autism.
Furthermore, it is helpful to know that autistic students are eligible to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if attending university in the UK. For support with starting your DSA application, you can join the Jamworks DSA Community to get in touch with DSA experts and fellow disabled and neurodivergent students who are going through the same experiences.
Autistic students can use the Jamworks app to support their learning at university – click here to get started with a Jamworks Pro subscription today!