Elon Musk reveals he has Asperger's during "Saturday Night Live" monologue


CBS News 10 May, 2021 - 03:20pm 59 views

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While American psychiatrists no longer use Asperger's as a specific diagnosis, it is often used to describe a type of autism. 

People with Asperger's disorder often less severe symptoms of autism and the don't experience language delays, according to Autism Society.

"Children with autism are frequently viewed as aloof and uninterested in others," Autism Society says. "This is not the case with Asperger's Disorder. Individuals with Asperger's Disorder usually want to fit in and have interaction with others, but often they don't know how to do it." 

People with Asperger's may not understand conventional social rules or show a lack of empathy, and they may be proficient in knowledge of categories of information, often collecting categories of things, such as baseball statistics, the organization says.

The American Psychiatric Association announced in 2012 it would lump Asperger's and similar disorders together under autism spectrum disorder, "to help more accurately and consistently diagnose children with autism," association said in a statement.

Musk only mentioned his Asperger's briefly, and dedicated the end of of his monologue to his mother, model Maye Musk, on the eve of Mother's Day. Grimes, Musk's girlfriend and the mother of his seventh child, X Æ A-12, also appeared in a sketch during the show. 

As the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, the Boring company and several other businesses, Musk is one of the richest people in the world. His innovation has lead to the development of self-driving cars and space travel, and he's credited with influencing cryptocurrency trends – including the perplexing Doge coin, which was the subject of several "SNL" jokes on Saturday. 

The 49-year-old father of seven has a net worth of $163.3 billion and is the second richest person in the world, after Amazon's Jeff Bezos, according to Forbes.

Musk is certainly one of a few "SNL" hosts who differ from the show's typical headliners – actors, musicians and athletes. However, he is not the only person with Asperger's to appear on the show. Former cast member Dan Aykroyd, who was on the show from 1975 to 1979, hosted in 2003. Aykroyd revealed in a 2014 interview with The Guardian that he has "very mild Asperger's," which he said has helped creatively. 

"I sometimes hear a voice and think: 'That could be a character I could do,'" said Aykroyd. "Of course there are many different grades, right up to the autism spectrum, and I am nowhere near that. But I sympathize with children who have it."

Caitlin O'Kane is a digital content producer covering trending stories for CBS News and its good news brand, The Uplift.

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