From Messi to SAP: the world discovers the potential of autism

by Ivano Abbadessa - 2013.10.15
From Messi to SAP: the world discovers the potential of autism
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Whatsapp
  • Print

The captain of Argentina's national football team and Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi, is autistic. More precisely, he has Asperger's syndrome, exactly like the great Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. The news was broken in recent weeks by former Brazilian footballer Romàrio on his Twitter account, before it spread quickly across the globe. News of his condition could go some way to explaining Messi's exceptional talent.

The revelation from Romàrio, together with other news and debate in recent months, therefore begs the question: have we finally discovered that people on the autistic spectrum are more talented?

Only a few months ago, the German multinational company SAP, a leader in the field of computer science, announced its intention to employ more people with autism. It said this is because of this group's specific ability to concentrate and to identify problems and errors. Its aim is to find workers who 'think differently'. It's a decision that, if forecasts are correct, will mean that by 2020, 1% of the current 65,000 SAP employees will be autistic.

These numbers add to those released recently in Spain by the project Juntos Somos Capaces. The initiative has, to date, enabled hundreds of individuals with mental disabilities to find work with equal opportunities. The project was able to demonstrate that companies benefit from taking on people with intellectually disabilities, both socially and economically.

Now the announcement that Lionel Messi is a footballing genius because of a mild form of autism seems to confirm the idea behind our question. This is backed by Roberto Amado, the Brazilian journalist who was first to speak about Messi's condition.

West interviewed Amado, who said that the purpose of his article “was to reveal this unknown feature of Messi and show that autism is not a cause of social exclusion, that autistic people can be very productive”. Because the revelation caused waves around the world, Amado wanted to contribute to the cause of fighting social prejudice, which, in his opinion, continue to be widespread, even in football.

Published in Autism.
  • The activist who destroys the false myths about autism

    Jason Love is a Los Angeles activist who is struggling to break down the stereotypes surrounding autism. One such myth is that children with autism have no capacity for invention. Jason reveals that, on the contrary, how his autistic son creates imaginary scenarios where he plays out his fantasies. In Read More.

  • Even if my daughter has Down’s syndrome and autism I won’t give up

    “Help her call me mother”. With these words, French woman Justine Durmont begins her story of her little 4-year-old daughter, Ava, who has both Down’s Syndrome and autism. And who is totally dependent for her day-to-day needs and unable to speak or communicate. This double pathology has created difficulties not only for the Read More.

  • Italy’s Supreme Court declares no link between vaccines and autism

    Italy’s Supreme Court has dealt another blow to the vaccine-autism hypothesis, with its recent decision that to not admit a case based on that claim. In this particular context, the Court refused to hear an appeal of two earlier sentences that had rejected the request of indemnity from a minor Read More.

  • Slight autism risk link to antidepressants in pregnancy

    Children exposed to antidepressants during their mothers' pregnancies seem to have a slightly higher risk of autism. But publishing their findings on the British Medical Journal researchers said the results should not cause alarm, since the absolute risk of a child developing autism remains very small. More than 95% of Read More.

  • In this zoo children with autism won’t be scared

    The city of Akron (Ohio) has inaugurated its first autism-friendly zoo, the second one in the United States. After the successful experience of the zoological garden in Birmingham (Alabama), the state of Ohio has decided to give the same possibility to its little citizens with special needs. The zoo is, Read More.

  • Autistic girls have more difficulty with daily routines

    It has been revealed by an American study, published in the journal Autism Research that autistic girls have more difficulties than boys in performing common daily activities. From the data collected from a sample of parents, who were asked to assess the degree of independence of those with the spectrum Read More.