May 10, 2024
May 10, 2024
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Donald Triplett, a savant who was the first person diagnosed with autism, dies at 89

Donald Triplett, a savant who was the first person diagnosed with autism, dies at 89

Donald Triplett, the pioneer in receiving the first autism diagnosis, passed away at the age of 89 on Thursday.

As a child, Triplett was diagnosed by psychiatrist Leo Kanner from Johns Hopkins. Referred to as “Case 1”, Triplett displayed exceptional memory and musical recitation skills but struggled with social interactions and food preferences.

In 1938, at the age of 5, Triplett began his sessions with Kanner, who later extensively featured him in the 1943 paper titled “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact.”

For 65 years, Triplett worked at Bank of Forest, a bank where his father, Beamon, held a significant stake. Hailing from Mississippi, he completed his education at Millsaps College in 1958.

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“Don was truly exceptional,” remarked CEO Allen Breland to WLBT. “He brought a unique perspective to everything he did.”

Besides his musical talents, Triplett possessed remarkable mathematical abilities, earning him recognition in various publications, including medical journals and the book “In a Different Key”.

“He had a knack for numbers; give him two three-digit numbers, and he could multiply them quicker than a calculator,” Breland shared.

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Triplett’s passions extended to golf and exploring new destinations, often venturing to exotic locations, as per Breland.

Reflecting on his uncle’s impact, Oliver, Triplett’s nephew, shared with The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate that Triplett’s legacy offers hope to parents of autistic children.

“Seeing how the community embraced and supported Don, it gives parents of children on the spectrum hope for their children’s future,” Oliver expressed. “Forest, as a whole, embraced and celebrated him, showing that individuals on different levels of the spectrum can lead fulfilling lives.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Donald Triplett, a Savant Who Was the First Person Diagnosed with Autism, Dies at 89

Donald Triplett, who was known as the first person diagnosed with autism, passed away at the age of 89. His groundbreaking story and remarkable life have left a lasting impact on the field of autism research and awareness.

Who Was Donald Triplett?

Donald Triplett was born in 1933 in Forest, Mississippi. He was diagnosed with autism at a time when very little was known about the condition. Despite the challenges he faced, Donald went on to lead a full and independent life. He was known for his exceptional memory and ability to calculate calendar dates rapidly.

Donald Triplett’s Legacy

Donald Triplett’s story helped shine a light on autism and paved the way for further research into the condition. His life showed that individuals with autism can lead fulfilling lives and make valuable contributions to society. Donald’s legacy has inspired countless individuals and families affected by autism.

Benefits and Practical Tips

While each person with autism is unique, there are some practical tips that can help support individuals with the condition:

  • Provide clear and consistent communication
  • Create a predictable routine
  • Offer sensory support as needed
  • Encourage interests and talents
  • Seek professional guidance and support

Case Studies

There have been numerous case studies conducted on individuals with autism, each providing valuable insights into the condition. These studies have helped researchers better understand autism and develop effective interventions and support strategies.

Case Study Findings
Temple Grandin Renowned autism advocate and professor of animal science
Christopher Knowles Talented poet and playwright
Carly Fleischmann Communicates using assistive technology and social media

Firsthand Experience

As we reflect on the life of Donald Triplett, we are reminded of the importance of understanding and supporting individuals with autism. By listening to their stories and experiences, we can learn how to better accommodate their needs and celebrate their unique abilities.

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