Tuesday, 28 May, 2024
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First person diagnosed with autism dies in the US  

The Mississippi man known as “Case 1”, the first person to be diagnosed with autism and who was known as a fiercely independent savant, has died at 89 in the small town of Forest, USA.

Donald G Triplett, who was the subject of a book titled In a Different Key, a documentary film, a BBC news magazine instalment and countless medical journal articles, worked at the Bank of Forest for 65 years, where his father Beamon Triplett was a primary shareholder, reports AP News.

“He was a remarkable individual,” bank CEO Allen Breland said, “and he kept things interesting.”

Triplett, a 1958 graduate of Millsaps College, enjoyed golf and travel and was frequently flying to exotic locales, Breland said.

“He was in his own world, but if you gave him two, three-digit numbers, he could multiply them faster than you could get the answer on a calculator,” he said.

Triplett’s autism diagnosis arose from a detailed 22-page letter sent to a Johns Hopkins researcher in Baltimore containing telling observations by his parents about his aptitudes and behaviour. The letter remains a primary reference document for those who study the disorder.

Oliver Triplett, Triplett’s nephew, said his uncle’s story offered hope to parents of children who are different.

“They can see Don and a community that embraced him,” he said. “As a whole, Forest encouraged him and accepted him. It gives people – who have children on different levels of the spectrum – hope that their children can live happy and full lives.”


AP News article – Donald Triplett, the 1st person diagnosed with autism, dies at 89 (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


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Early autism signs can detected by routine prenatal ultrasound – Israeli study


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