Nonprofit Spotlight: Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati


celebrities who have autism

They all have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD and autism are general terms referring to complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by varying degrees of repetitive behaviors; and social interaction, nonverbal and verbal communication difficulties.


Darryl Hannah was diagnosed with autism as a child and felt isolated from others her age. Her experiences of isolation helped drive her love of old movies and interest in acting. Hannah’s acting career has spanned more than three decades. She has starred in dozens of films, including “Wall Street,” “Grumpy Old Men,” and the “Kill Bill” movies. Hannah is also an environmental activist. In an interview with People magazine, a friend remarked that when she “feels passionate about something, she loses all her fears.”

Known for surprising the judges and viewers with her incredible vocal skills on “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009, Susan Boyle has released five albums, been nominated for two Grammy Awards, and won the Radio Forth Award in 2013. As a child, Susan was diagnosed with brain damage, but she sought a better diagnosis as an adult. In 2012, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She has said the diagnosis was a relief because she has a “clearer understanding of what’s wrong.”

“Blues Brothers” and “Ghost Busters” star Dan Aykyroyd was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in the early 1980s after his wife convinced him to see a doctor. He’s said that he has an obsession with ghosts and law enforcement, which led to the creation of “Ghost Busters.” Dan’s career as an actor, writer, and producer has spanned 40 years.

Kids often love to see people “just like” them. While the path of every child with ASD will be different, seeing well-known successful people with ASD can help inspire children as well as give them someone to look up to.

Locally, an estimated 20,000 people are affected by autism (according to the Autism Society) and there are many wonderful resources for families including nonprofit, the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

About the Autism Society

The Autism Society is the first organization in our region dedicated to improving the quality of life for those with autism and their families. Founded in 1970 by local parents and professionals, one of the ways it supports families today is by maintaining a communications support system called Autism Connection, available to everyone seven days a week by phone or online. Live, certified specialists are trained and ready to help by providing current and relevant information. Within the quote by Temple GrandinAutism Connection are these programs:

Connect To Live Help is the first step for families to find helpful services is to talk with a trained certified specialist and Autism Society staff are available from 9 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week.

Neighbor 2 Neighbor that links a parent in your area to you as a special personal contact.

Autism Conversations are groups in neighborhoods led by professionals and parents offering parents opportunities to learn more about ASD and treatment approaches.

Adults With ASD Group Meetings are held on the second and fourth Sunday evenings at The Children’s Home (5050 Madison Rd), with a goal being to provide a place for adults identified with Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism and support each other.

Monthly Family Support Meetings are held on the second Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:30 P.M. at Kenwood Baptist Church at 8341 Kenwood Road.

For more on any of these programs, you can reach the Autism Society at: 513-561-2300 or

The Event To Connect

This Friday, October 23, is a big fundraiser for the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati.

The Event To Connect will include music and dinner by the Bite Open Bar. Plus, there will be a live auction and about 38 fabulous silent auction items including dinner at Ruby’s and cocktails at Ivy, sports memorabilia, a Belterra package, Disney items and a hopper pass, art from various local artists, several golf packages, holiday baskets, fine restaurant certificates, wine and other alcoholic beverages, entertainment tickets, and much more.
(Volunteer Terri Hogan has been volunteering countless hours to coordinate the silent auction.)

at The Transept on Washington Park
1205 Elm St; Cincinnati
from 7 to 11 pm
valet parking is available

There are a few seats still available. Tickets are $100 or a VIP ticket is $150. To register, please call 513-561-2300, email Carole Willenborg at; or register online here.

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