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8 notable people who are neurodivergent

Words by Cheyanne Bryan

Throughout history, there has been a negative stigma attached to people who are neurodivergent. However modern society is more celebratory about the differences in how our brains function and more inclined to be accommodating of differences. 

Neurodiversity refers to the wide range of ways that people’s brains work and denounces the idea that there is a ‘correct’ way in which our minds should function. Common types of neurodivergence include Autism, Dyslexia and ADHD, along with many others.

One way to show that neurodiversity exists on a spectrum is by celebrities and other public figures talking about their own neurological differences. So, here are 8 public figures you may not know are neurodivergent. 


Known around the world for her headstrong environmental activist, Greta Thunberg has Asperger syndrome - a condition on the autism spectrum that affects how people socialise and communicate. She has described her diagnosis as a ‘superpower’ and says it helped her get the support that she needed. 


Diagnosed with Tourettes at age 11, singer Billie Eilish has said in an interview that she does not want the conduction to define her. Billie has made astonishing contributions to music and her accomplishments include winning 9 Grammy awards. 


His most notable works include ‘Beetlejuice’ and ‘Corpse Bride’, which have cemented Tim Burton’s place within the film industry. The famous director believes himself to have Asperger syndrome and has spoken openly about his experiences in various interviews and many note his unique perspective as the key to his creativity as a director.


Lizzie came to our attention in 2021 when she competed on the popular TV show Great British Bake Off. The Liverpool native was diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age and wants to use her platform to create a positive neurodiverse community and educate others. You can read our interview with Lizzie here, on the Smiley News website.


Growing up before an audience as the lead in the Harry Potter film series, Daniel Radcliff has opened up about living with OCD and dyspraxia - a condition that affects movement and coordination. When talking about his conditions, he encourages others to seek professional help if you need assistance with living with any neurological conditions. 


Jesse McNamara, better known online as Plumbella has over 700,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. This gaming content creator is known for their Middlesbrough accent and content on life simulation game The Sims. In a video from 2022, they went in-depth about their experience and journey with autism. 


British business magnate Sir Richard Branson has been open about his difficulties at school and has shared that he does not see his dyslexia and ADHD as a ‘disability’. Dropping out of school at 15 and starting his first company at 16, Richard has achieved many great feats across various industries. 


Easily one of the biggest household names, former professional footballer, David Beckham has OCD and Tourette syndrome. He has commented in many interviews that he finds OCD “tiring” but he cannot help it. His Tourette’s Syndrome also came about through his OCD. 

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

British Dyslexia Association. This charity aims to influence government and other institutions to promote a dyslexia-friendly society. They also offer a free and confidential helpline. Learn more here.

OCD-UK. This is a recovery-focused charity offering information, advice and support to those affected by OCD. Find out more here.

ADHD Foundation. This charity advocates for and actively improves the life chances of those living with, and impacted by neurological conditions. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Reduced Inequalities, Good Health and Wellbeing. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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