Meet the Future Face of Technology - Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Technology FieldsMeet the Future Face of Technology - Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Technology Fields

Meet the "WOW" People

All of these individuals have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and have achieved national and international status in their chosen fields. Click on the image to see a video clip or follow the link to read about their achievements. We call them the WOW People because they have unbelievable skills, unique talents and will add a special innovation to businesses that hire them.

Iris Grace Halmshaw

Iris is 5 years old but her Monet influenced and inspired paintings are being auctioned for bids exceeding $ 6,000.

Iris Grace

Meet Britain's 5-year-old "mini-Monet"

Stephen Wiltshire
The Human Camera

Stephen Wiltshire


Stephen Wiltshire from London is a star among savants. His nickname is "the living camera."

Stephen is autistic. He lives in a world of his own. Communication is difficult for him. He didn't speak his first words, "pencil" and "paper", until he was five. Yet when he was eleven he drew a perfect aerial view of London after only one helicopter ride. Even the number of windows in all the major buildings in his drawing was correct.

For this film we're testing the "living camera" in Rome. Stephen has never seen the eternal city from above before. After only a 45 minute helicopter flight we'll ask him to draw a five and a half yard panoramic picture of the historic city center, without having a second glance at it. Stephen has three days.

In these three days, Stephen will have to keep thousands of details in his head. The innumerable copulas, the tiny winding streets, all the balconies and windows of the endless array of houses, and each and every column and window arch of Rome's major sites, from the Pantheon, to St. Peter's, to the Coliseum.

Five and a half yards of paper can look scarily empty. The amazing thing, Stephen starts the drawing as we would, with the church of St. Peter's. But he doesn't do any sketches, nor roughing out of the space for the drawing. It is as if the panorama already existed within his head. With all the proportions, all the roads, all the details – a little miracle.

At the end of the second day, Stephen is a good half way through his creation.

After three days of his drawing marathon even Stephen Wiltshire starts to tire. He has filled in more that five yards of paper in fine pencil. He has been restlessly aligning window to window. and house to house, because Stephen loves to be applauded for his art.

In the left corner he has finally reached the ruins of the Forum Romanum. Stephen's sister Annette is rejoicing with him. He's made it. Obviously, he's pleased with his work.

Yet our vexing question still remains. How precise is Stephen's ability to memorize? Is it really true that you can only see a single curve of the Tiber from above?

We started to compare the accuracy of the drawing with the real thing. Is Stephen's version of St. Peter's copula too dominant? Yet here again, like with the curve of the Tiber, Stephen is frighteningly right.

We wondered if the famous Roman hills should probably stand out more in Stephen's panorama. But again Stephen had seen it better. From a thousand feet up the hills are optically almost level. Checking the Pantheon, we did discovered some minor inaccuracies on the roof. But the number of columns at the portal is again absolutely correct.

And despite our doubts Stephen has drawn one of the most complex building the Coliseum so precise it is practically a blueprint of reality. Stephen was also accurate in the insistences we checked of nameless buildings and side streets. Had we had more time his sister Annette believes he would have put in even more detail.

Stephen has never trained for this feat of magic. The miracle simply happened when he started to draw. Yet none of would have bet that Stephen would be able to draw Rome just from memory.

"Some of the areas, all of the parts, lots of detail, many things, and some of the city, the neighborhoods and the villages. And then the easy part is St. Peters and the Forum and the Coliseum. And then memorize it by adding it by memory."

Jacob Barnett
Experts said boy would never be able to read but now he's brainier than Einstein

Jacob Barnett

Alonzo Clemons
Colorado Sculptor (External link)


Alonzo Clemons, from Boulder in Colorado, doesn't experienced stage fright either. He doesn't even know what it is. As long as you let him do what he can do best, he is the happiest man on Earth. Within only a few minutes he can mold perfect animal sculptures from any piece of clay, sand, or wax. Incidentally, we brought Alonzo to a horse farm in his neighborhood only to let us, and you, see how accurate his clay animals are.

Alonzo himself doesn't actually need a model – in this respect he is a genius. Alonzo shapes his figures without even glancing at the horses. But when it comes to shaping sentences Alonzo faces huge problems.

"What happened to Alonzo is when he was a young boy maybe two or three years old. He had a bad accident in which he fell on his head. That accident caused severe injury to his brain."

Alonzo's brain never really recovered from this accident. He can nether read nor write, nor can he calculate, and he will never drive a car. Only his friends can understand him when he speaks, and Alonzo doesn't speak much. But he has taken part in the Special Olympics as a weight lifter. After years of being institutionalized, Alonzo now has a part-time job and a flat of his own. And he shapes animal figures, thousands of them.  Each of them is absolutely perfect.

Alonzo knows most of these animals only from books. One of the most intriguing talents of some savants is their ability to immediately transform every photograph into a 3-D figure. Experts now believe that we all have similar talents, but that they have become overlaid by more complex abilities such as language.

"What kind of horse is it?"

"A wild horse... a mustang."

"It's a wild horse, a mustang."



"For the last year he has been very interested in doing sculptures that have both an animal and a person. What is fascinating to me about this is his savant chip, or wiring in his brain, that works so wonderfully when it comes to his animal sculptures, is simply not there for the human form."

Savant – there is no single theory that explains the amazing talents of all savants. Because not everybody with injuries to the left hemisphere develops similar magical skills as Alonzo's. He is one of only one hundred prodigious savants worldwide. He is not "able" to sculpt animals – he is compelled by his brain.

"With Alonzo Clemons, when he was in a residential facility, they took his clay away for a period of time and said, 'Now look, you've got to learn how to comb your hair and tie your shoes, and when you do that then we will give you your clay back.'"

"In the dorm where he lived there were windows that had panes of glass, and sometimes a pane would get broken. He was so observant he knew that pretty soon the maintenance man would be coming along, removing the broken glass, putting in new a new pane, and all around the edges of that he would be putting glazing or putty. As soon as the maintenance man was gone, there was Alonzo, scraping off that putty so he could use it to sculpt with."

Alonzo Clemens

Alonzo Clemens Video

Ping Lian
15 year old Artist from Malaysia

Ping Lian

Art by Ping Lian

Loc Tran
17 Year old with Autism and Blind on the Piano

Loc Tran

Dani Bowman

Dani Bowman is a 14 year old high school student in Los Angeles, California who created her own company, Powerlight Studios, and has been working on Toon Boom Studio since 2009. She has produced seven of her own animation series, and also creates animations for websites and marketing programs.

Dani Bowman Animation Art

Richard Wawro
Scottish Artist Works
in Oil Crayon

Richard Wawro

Wawro Painting

Peter Howson
Scottish Artist with
Asperger's Syndrome

Howson "Judas"

Caiseal Mór
Fantasy Novelist and Musician

Caiseal Mor
What Is Magic

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