Inspiring Individuals to Learn About
There are so many reasons to celebrate diversity and inclusion. Every person out there, no matter what background they come from, has a special gift that they can offer the people around them. Whether it be kindness, humor, artistic abilities, intelligence, or athleticism, everyone has something awesome to share! In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to highlight a few influential members of the autism community.
Breanna Clark is a 28 year old American Paralympic athlete who was diagnosed with autism at four years old. Breanna’s mom, who is a former Olympic athlete, paved the way for Breanna at a very young age. Breanna began competing in track and field and became a star at it. Since then, Breanna has competed at the Paralympic Games, World Championships, and Parapan American Games, helping the US win the gold medal in the 4X400 relay each time.
Tom Wiggins, also known as “Blind Tom” was a blind Black man on the autism spectrum who was sold into slavery as a baby. His musical skills helped him rise to international fame. At 11 years old, Tom was the first African American artist to perform at the White House in 1860 for president James Buchanan. Tom had learned 7,000 pieces of music and could hear a song once and perfectly play it on the piano.
Stephen Wiltshire is a 48 year old, world-renowned, autistic architectural artist from the United Kingdom. He’s famously known for being able to perfectly draw entire skylines from memory after seeing it just once. In 2009, Stephen took a 20 minute helicopter ride above New York and was able to draw a 19 foot panorama of the city solely from memory. Check out his creations on his website here.
Dr. Lamar Hardwick, also known as “The Autism Pastor”, was diagnosed with autism when he was 36 years old. Since his diagnosis, he’s dedicated his life to mentoring young adults on the spectrum and provides support through workshops, seminars, and more. You can learn more about Dr. Lamar on his website here.
Alonzo Clemons is a 65 year old sculptor from Colorado. At 3 years old, Alonzo suffered a severe brain injury from falling which resulted in a developmental disability. He could barely speak, and was unable to read and write after the falling incident. Alonzo took a liking to clay and began sculpting figures. He’s now known for creating amazing animal sculptures by memory. To learn more about Alonzo and see his awesome work, check out his website here.
We hope you enjoyed learning about these inspiring individuals from the autism and black communities. Remember to embrace and celebrate diversity- you’ll never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn!