First person diagnosed with autism dies at age 89


FOREST, Ms. (AP) – The Mississippi man known as “Case 1,” the first person to be diagnosed with autism, has died.

Donald G. Triplett has been the subject of a book entitled “In a Different Key”, a PBS documentary, an episode of the BBC News Magazine and countless articles in medical journals.

But to Bank of Forest staff, in a small town about 40 miles east of Jackson, he was simply “Don,” WLBT-TV reported.

Triplett died Thursday, confirmed Lesa Davis, the bank’s senior vice president. He was 89.

triplet worked for 65 years at the bank where his father, Beamon Triplett, was the majority shareholder.

“Don was a remarkable person,” said CEO Allen Breland of Triplett, who was known as a fiercely independent scholar. “And he kept things interesting.”

Triplett, a graduate of Millsaps College in 1958, loved golf and travel, and frequently flew to exotic locations, 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 told the TV network.

Triplett’s autism diagnosis emerged from a detailed 22-page letter sent to a Johns Hopkins researcher in Baltimore, which included revealing observations from his parents about his abilities and behavior. The letter remains a primary reference document for those dealing with the disorder.

Oliver Triplett, Triplet’s nephew, said The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate that his uncle’s story gives hope to parents of children who are different.

“You can see Don and a community that has embraced him,” he said. “By and large, Forest has encouraged and accepted him. There are people who have children on different levels of the spectrum who have hope that their children can live happy and fulfilling lives.”

The funeral service for Triplet will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Forest Presbyterian Church.

Related Articles

Back to top button