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Famous people with ADHD or autism

Famous people you may know with ADHD

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is an Olympic swimmer that holds the record for winning the most Olympic events in history. He has 23 gold medals.

“Once I figured out how to swim, I felt so free. I could go fast in the pool, it turned out, in part because being in the pool slowed down my mind. In the water, I felt, for the first time, in control.”

Photograph of Michael Phelps

Simone Biles

Simone Biles is one of the most successful gymnasts in U.S. history. She won 19 World Championship and Olympic medals by the age of 20.

“Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing that I am afraid to let people know.”

Photograph of Simone Biles


Will.I.Am is a successful singer songwriter and has appeared on The Voice UK. Will.I.Am has been open about his ADHD diagnosis and his creativity.

“One thing I learned about ADHD is that it’s hard to keep your attention and you cannot sit still and you’re always moving and thinking about a whole bunch of things. But those traits work well for me in the studios and in meetings about creative ideas.”

Photograph of Will.I.Am

Emma Watson

Emma Watson is best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. She is also passionate about gender equality and has spoken at the U.N. She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 9 years old and has taken medicine to help with this. Emma has described how this has helped her focus.

“When I’m on it, I can focus a bit more and it helps me organise my day because I have so much going on.”

Photograph of Emma Watson

Famous people you may know with autism spectrum disorder (ASC)

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is a young climate activist who attributes her passion for preventing climate change to her autism. At just 18 years old, Greta has a long list of successes including being the TIME magazine’s youngest person of the year and being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice.

“It makes me see things from outside the box. I do not easily fall for lies, I can see through things. If I would have been like everyone else, I would not have started this school strike for instance.”

Photograph of Greta Thunberg

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX which makes electric cars and spacecrafts. Elon was diagnosed with autism and has have spoken about how some things have been hard for him, but his differences have helped him to become involved in technology and science.

Photograph of Elon Musk

Christine McGuiness

Christine McGuiness is a model and TV personality. She was diagnosed with autism as an adult, after her children were diagnosed. She has become an advocate for autistic people and she starred in a BBC documentary ‘Unmasking Autism’.

“To actually be told that I am autistic just made everything fall into place. I realised that basically what I’d been doing my whole life was acting. It is exhausting trying to juggle everything. I was extremely emotional, but relieved.”

Photograph of Christine McGuiness

Dr. Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin is a prominent scientist, academic and animal behaviourist. She is passionate about animals and her work has led to innovations in how animals are treated. She is diagnosed with autism and is an activist for the autistic community.

“I’m not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution – know that my life has meaning.”

Photograph of Dr. Temple Grandin

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: NDS29

Resource Type: Article

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