By Aaradhana Anya Bharill, Blogger and Software Engineer
One of the smartest minds and richest businessmen on the planet, Elon Musk, recently revealed that he has Asperger’s.
Asperger’s is a mild form of autism, which causes people to struggle to communicate and socialise normally. It also causes people to have stereotyped, focussed interests. Focussed interests lead many with Asperger’s to be high-functioning and successful.
Some famous people in history who are conjectured to have had Aspergers include: 1. Lewis Carroll (author of Alice In The Wonderland), 2. Michelangelo (sculptor, painter, architect, poet), 3. Marie Curie (pioneer in radioactivity research), and 4. Albert Einstein.
Due to stigma and lack of mental health awareness in earlier times, there are not many confirmed examples even after 1943, when Autism came into practice as a diagnostic term.
Elon Musk did not get bogged down with stigma at all when he made his revelation casually on the famous American sketch comedy, Saturday Night Live (SNL) recently. He proudly said he was making history by being “the first person with Asperger’s hosting this TV show".
He has earlier defended his lack of social skills on Twitter from time to time. "To anyone who's been offended, I just want to say I reinvented electric cars [as CEO of Tesla Motors], and I'm sending people to Mars in a rocket ship [as founder and CEO of SpaceX]. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?"
Are Elon Musk’s achievements enough for you to appreciate the socially awkward Asperger’s standouts?
Here are some facts about Asperger’s Syndrome
- Asperger’s syndrome is named after Hans Asperger, an Austrian psychiatrist.
- Symptoms might be noticeable as early as at the age of one.
- More males are affected than females.
- Symptoms vary widely, but some of them are: obsession with routines or rituals, very focussed interests and poor coordination.
- Some might have odd speech (intonation, volume, or speed may be improper) and tend to take conversation too literally, being unable to understand jokes or sarcasm.
- Often they appear socially distant.
- People with Aspergers may be interested and excel in subjects related to logic, memory and structure, like mathematics and music.
- There is no prescribed medicine to treat this condition, but different types of therapies, learning to communicate better, and a supportive family can lead to a better quality of life.