Elon Musk has Asperger's Syndrome. Know all about it
Elon Musk's revelation of living with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) has shocked the world. The tech billionaire disclosed the details while hosting the US comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) and went on to add that he is the "first person with AS to host SNL." Environmental activist Greta Thunberg is another public figure who has AS. So what exactly is AS all about?
Asperger's Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder that falls on the milder end of the autism spectrum disorders. AS is characterized by difficulty in social interaction, engaging in repetitive actions, and other traits that often lead to anxiety and confusion in the individual. It is also understood that individuals with AS find it hard to read facial expressions, body language and recognize other people's feelings.
No single reason can be attributed to the development of AS, and it is believed that several causes, both genetic and environmental, are responsible for the disorder. Research and studies are being conducted to identify the involvement of factors such as infections, medications or complications during pregnancy. However, one common observation is that boys are at a higher risk of AS than girls.
There is no specific test to confirm the disorder and hence narrowing down on the condition is often a challenge. Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome often do not display any intellectual impairment, thereby making it hard for the parents to understand that the child may be suffering from a disorder. However, they may exhibit social isolation, restrictive behavior, delayed motor development, etc.
There is no complete cure for AS, but, if diagnosed on time, the child can be helped in many ways to help him/her face the challenges that come along with AS. This includes social interaction therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, speech therapy, etc. Furthermore, as a parent, it is important to consult a pediatrician if you observe any behavioral changes in your child.
The taboo associated with AS is changing, with more celebrities opening up about their condition. Academy Award winner Sir Anthony Hopkins was one of the firsts to reveal that he has AS. With other personalities such as comedian Dan Aykroyd and business magnate Bill Gates also disclosing their condition, it is safe to assume that intellectual capabilities are not compromised in most cases.