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Bob Richards wisely stated, “It may sound strange, but many champions are made by setbacks.” This means that although you may fail at something, how you come back up determines your strength. This quote relates to people with autism because many people with autism struggle with everyday occurrences and tasks. Autism is a brain-related development that can be applied to a spectrum ranging from high to low functioning. Autism affects the way people with autism interact with others and can cause people with autism may take things literally and demonstrate repetitive patterns. People with autism may also show strengths such as learning to read at an early age, memorizing and learning information quickly, and thinking and learning visually (Strength and abilities in autism; Mayo Clinic Staff). People with autism often face obstacles like everyone and often overcome these obstacles to achieve success despite adversity. This quote about overcoming obstacles, said by Bob Richards, has been demonstrated true by Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, by Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump, and by the life of Anthony Hopkins.

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Christopher struggles with many obstacles that he has to overcome to succeed. An obstacle Christopher encounters throughout the book is coming out of his comfort zone. This is clear when Christopher is looking for who killed Wellington and has to go around to the neighbors whom he does not know and talk to them. Christopher is coming out of his comfort zone because Christopher mentions, “I do not like strangers because I do not like people I have never met before.” (Haddon 34). Although Christopher does not like strangers, he pushes himself out of his comfort zone to come closer to finding out who killed Wellington. Furthermore, Christopher told himself “If you are going to do detective work you have to be brave, so I had no choice” (Haddon 35), Although Christopher was setback by having to push himself, Christopher got up and pushed through toward his goal. Another obstacle Christopher overcame in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is his lack of independence. At the start of the book, Christopher mostly relies on his father. As Christopher uncovers the mystery of his mother, he gains independence, which ultimately leads him on his trip to find his mother all by himself. This is apparent that Christopher is feeling more independent during his trip when he says to Mother, “I have to go to Swindon to take my A level” (Haddon 205). Christopher’s math test represents complete independence because if he does well he may get into college. Now that Christopher has tasted independence from going to his Mother’s house independently, he wants to be completely independent. This shows that Christopher overcame his challenge of being dependent on other people and can now be self-reliant to decide for himself and also have the confidence to do things on his own that are out of his comfort zone.

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Although the character Forrest Gump from Forrest Gump is not verified to be on the Autism spectrum, many people suspect him to be. Throughout the movie, Forest demonstrates certain characteristics that make people suspect he is on the spectrum, such as when Forrest can disassemble and reassemble an M-14 in record time and when he has a hard time reading social cues such as in the white house when he is told JFK he has to pee on national TV (Forrest Gump). Although Forrest had many setbacks in his life, he always came back stronger than before. An example of this would be when Forrest is shot in his rear and has to stay in the army clinic for a while and master ping-pong by keeping his eye on the ball. Soon he is discharged from the war and goes on to win gold in the Olympics in ping-pong (Forrest Gump). Even though Forrest was injured and could not fight in the war, he practiced ping-pong and refined his skills. This eventually led to him winning gold in the Olympics and overcoming his setbacks to become a literal champion. Another example of when Forrest overcame a setback is when his best friend Bubba is killed in battle, which makes Forrest sad. Although Forrest is sad, he eventually fulfills Bubba’s dream of owning a shrimping boat. In the process, Forest gets very rich from his business and investment in Apple (Forrest Gump). Not only did Forrest bring himself up by turning death into something positive but also helped others in the process. Forrest helped such as Bubba’s family by giving his mother a large sum of his money and his army lieutenant who lost his legs a new lease on life after he fell into a state of depression and alcoholism. From this Forrest has overcome his setbacks and has become a “champion” but also helped others in the process overcome their setbacks.

A real person who has overcome obstacles and thrived who is on the spectrum is Anthony Hopkins. Anthony is one of the many people who, after being diagnosed, were on the spectrum late into their lives. In an interview with Distractify, Anthony states, “I could never settle anywhere. I was troubled and caused trouble, especially in my early years … I don’t go to parties, I don’t have many friends.’ (Gatollari) also “Hopkins has been vocal about his struggles growing up in a ‘dysfunctional’ household and growing up being bullied.” (Gatollari) This could have been a setback to Anthony because he may have felt isolated from everyone else as they bullied him and did not understand him, which could have been the reason he did not have many friends or attend parties. Although Anthony had a rough childhood he did not let this stop him, becoming a very successful actor and gaining the respect of Steven Spielberg after “the actor was able to memorize a seven-page courtroom monologue and deliver the entire speech in a single take” (Gatollari). To exercise further that Anthony has overcome his setbacks and strived is how Anthony did not give up, even though his career had an extremely slow start. According to an article from Distractify “Then there’s the fact that even though he didn’t get his ‘big break’ until the 1991 release of Silence of the Lambs, when he was 54 years old, he began acting at 18.”(Gatollari). This illustrates that even though Anthony had a rough start to his career and did not have a big break for a while, he did not give up, which shows that although he had a setback, he did not let this stop him from being successful.

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder often face setbacks but often overcome them to achieve greatness. There are many examples of this such as Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nighttime when Christopher has to come out of his comfort zone to get closer to solving the mystery and achieving success. Another instance is when Forrest in Forrest Gump wins the gold medal in the Olympics after he was shot and hurt in battle and could not fight. Lastly, a real person who has overcome setbacks and achieved success is Anthony Hopkins. Anthony had trouble growing up and did not let this hold him back from becoming a very successful actor. Although people may be different doesn’t mean they can not achieve greatness and overcome setbacks.

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