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Elon Musk has Asperger’s Syndrome? A better understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD)


I love watching US drama series. There is a drama titled “The Good Doctor.” Dr. Shaun Murphy is the main cast in the series. He has been through struggles to become a surgeon because he has autism. After watching the drama, I wonder: “How well does the public know about autism?” 

Photo by Leeloo Thefirst, Pexels.

People with autism are a diverse group. Individuals with severe cognitive and social impairments to those with milder symptoms and higher functioning abilities are all possible. However, here are some common types of individuals with autism.

  1. Classic autism: This is the most severe form of autism, characterized by significant language delays, communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviors.
  1. Asperger’s syndrome: Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulties with social interaction and communication but typically have normal language development and average to above-average IQs. 
  1. High-functioning autism: People with high-functioning autism have relatively normal language development and IQs, but have significant difficulties with social interaction and communication.
  1. Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): PDD-NOS is a category used for individuals who have some symptoms of autism but do not meet the criteria for classic autism or Asperger’s syndrome. 
  1. Childhood disintegrative disorder: Childhood disintegrative disorder is a rare form of autism that occurs in children who have typical development until 2 or 3 but suddenly start to lose social, communication, and cognitive skills.

Autism spectrum disorder is a new DSM-5 disorder encompassing the previous DSM- IV autistic disorder (autism), Asperger’s, childhood disintegrative, Rett’s, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. It is characterized by deficits in two core domains: 

1) deficits in social communication and social interaction and 

2) restricted repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. 

Famous people with autism

After reading information about autism, I am keen to know whether there are real-life famous people diagnosed with autism. There have been many notable individuals who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or who are believed to have had autism based on their symptoms and behaviors. Here are a few examples:

  1. Temple Grandin: Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science and a bestselling author diagnosed with autism. She is known for her work in the field of animal behavior and her advocacy for individuals with autism.
  2. Satoshi Tajiri: Satoshi Tajiri is a Japanese video game designer and the creator of the popular Pokémon franchise. He is believed to have autism and described himself as a “shut-in” during childhood.
  3. Dan Aykroyd: Dan Aykroyd is a Canadian-American actor and comedian best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and in the film Ghostbusters. He has described himself as having “mild” autism and has advocated for autism awareness.
  4. Tim Burton: Tim Burton is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter known for his visually stunning and imaginative films, such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. He has said that his childhood experiences and isolation have influenced his work. He has been described as having autism by some sources.
  5. Elon Musk: Elon Musk is a famous businessman and investor. He announced he was on the autism spectrum while hosting ” Saturday Night Live” in May 2021. He is one of the world’s wealthiest people, with over $150 billion net worth.
Elon Musk Reveals He Has Asperger’s In ‘SNL’ Monologue -Access Hollywood

These are just a few famous individuals diagnosed with or are believed to have autism spectrum disorder. It’s important to note that autism is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals in different ways and degrees. The symptoms and behaviors of individuals can range widely. Just because someone is famous or successful does not mean they do not struggle with the challenges associated with autism.

Hence, it is crucial to understand and accept individuals with autism. They should be treated fairly. Autism is not something to be pitied or feared, but rather a unique aspect of a person’s identity that should be embraced and celebrated. 

“Autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is a tragedy.”

Kerry Magro

Thank you for reading this article.

I am Daniel, My Psychology KK’s intern.

With you, My Psychology KK.