Michael Fitzgerald (psychiatrist)

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Michael Fitzgerald is an Irish psychiatrist and professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, in Ireland.[1] As of 2005, he said he had diagnosed over 900 individuals with Asperger syndrome.[2] He is the husband of Frances Fitzgerald, the Irish Minister for Justice and Equality.[3]

Views on autism[edit]

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Fitzgerald shared his views on autism:

"Psychiatric disorders can also have positive dimensions. I'm arguing the genes for autism/Asperger's, and creativity are essentially the same. We don't know which genes they are yet or how many there are, but we are talking about multiple genes of small effect. Every case is unique because people have varying numbers of the genes involved. These produce people who are highly focused, don't fit into the school system, and who often have poor social relationships and eye contact. They can be quite paranoid and oppositional, and usually highly moral and ethical. They can persist with a topic for 20–30 years without being distracted by what other people think. And they can produce in one lifetime the work of three or four other people."[4]

In 2004's Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link Between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability?,[5] Fitzgerald says that Lewis Carroll, Éamon de Valera, Sir Keith Joseph, Ramanujan, Ludwig Wittgenstein and W.B. Yeats may have been autistic.

In 2005's The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts,[6] he identifies the following historical figures as possibly having been autistic:

In 2006's Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger's Syndrome,[8] he discusses Daisy Bates, Samuel Beckett, Robert Boyle, Éamon de Valera, Robert Emmet, William Rowan Hamilton, James Joyce, Padraig Pearse and W.B. Yeats.

Speculation about diagnoses in historical individuals is, by necessity, based on behaviour as reported by others and anecdotal evidence rather than any clinical observation of the individual. Retrospective diagnoses are often controversial (Oliver Sacks wrote that many of these claims seem "very thin at best",[9] and Fred Volkmar of the Yale Child Study Center has remarked that "there is unfortunately a sort of cottage industry of finding that everyone has Asperger's".[10]) Fitzgerald's work was described in a British Journal of Psychiatry book review of Autism and Creativity as "fudged pseudoscience"[11] and in Mark Osteen's Autism and Representation as "frankly absurd".[12]


  • Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link Between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability? – November 2003 (ISBN 978-1583912133, Routledge)
  • Succeeding in College With Asperger Syndrome (with John Harpur and Maria Lawlor) – January 2004 (ISBN 978-1843102014, Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
  • The Genesis of Artistic Creativity: Asperger's Syndrome and the Arts – July 2005 (ISBN 978-1843103349, Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
  • Asperger Syndrome: A Gift or a Curse? (with Viktoria Lyons) – December 2005 (ISBN 978-1594543876, Nova Science Publishers)
  • Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger's Syndrome (with Antoinette Walker) – December 2006 (ISBN 978-1905483037, Liberties Press)
  • Genius Genes: How Asperger Talents Changed the World (with Brendan O'Brien) – 2007 (ISBN 978-1931282444, Autism Asperger Publishing Company)
  • Handbook of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (editor with Mark Bellgrove and Michael Gill) – June 2007 (ISBN 978-0470014448, Wiley)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Creativity, Novelty Seeking, and Risk – February 2009 (ISBN 978-1604568554, Nova Science Publishers)
  • Young, Violent, and Dangerous to Know – July 2010 (ISBN 978-1608769520, Nova Science Publishers)


  1. ^ "Professor Michael Fitzgerald". ProfessorMichaelFitzgerald.eu. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Iggulden, Amy (11 June 2005). "'Missing link' between madness and genius". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Fleming, Nic (21 February 2008). "Albert Einstein 'found genius through autism'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Fitzgerald, Michael (2004). Autism and creativity: is there a link between autism in men and exceptional ability?. East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-213-4. 
  6. ^ Fitzgerald, Michael (2005). The genesis of artistic creativity: Asperger's syndrome and the arts. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1-84310-334-6. 
  7. ^ Fitzgerald, M. "Did Ludwig Wittgenstein have Asperger's syndrome?", European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, volume 9, number 1, pp. 61–65. doi:10.1007/s007870050117
  8. ^ Walker, Antoinette; Michael Fitzgerald (2006). Unstoppable Brilliance: Irish Geniuses and Asperger's Syndrome. Liberties Press. ISBN 1-905483-03-1. 
  9. ^ Sacks O (2001). "Henry Cavendish: an early case of Asperger's syndrome?". Neurology 57 (7): 1347. doi:10.1212/wnl.57.7.1347. PMID 11591871. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2007. 
  10. ^ Goode, Erica (9 October 2001). "CASES; A Disorder Far Beyond Eccentricity". New York Times. Retrieved 26 November 2007. 
  11. ^ Dosani, Sabina. "Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability?". BJPsych. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Osteen, Mark (2007). "Autism and Representation: A Comprehensive Introduction". Autism and Representation. New York: Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 0415956447. 

External links[edit]