Elon Musk, Asperger’s and Living with ASD

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Image: The Royal Society

There was a great deal of excitement leading up to Elon Musk’s appearance at hosting Saturday Night Live in May. The billionaire CEO of Tesla is known for being unpredictable, from his cannabis-laden appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast to giving his newest child an unpronounceable alphanumeric first name. Whereas other billionaire CEOs such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett offer a calmer, more staid public persona, Musk appears to take pride in being a bit more…eccentric.

Given his billionaire status, Musk’s unpredictability is not without consequence. Several months ago he made the bold move of publicly declaring his stock price overvalued – a declaration that would never appear on social media from any of his contemporaries. Musk’s appearance was also generating excitement in the growing cryptocurrency market – a cryptocurrency called Dogecoin skyrocketed in value after Musk had casually endorsed it, and investors were waiting on bated breath to see what he might say about it given a live national platform.

Yet when the episode did air, it was another revelation that may have been most surprising. Musk casually admitted to having autism spectrum disorder (“ASD”), or as he phrased it “I don’t always have a lot of intonation or variation in how I speak… which I’m told makes for great comedy…I’m actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger’s to host SNL.” The announcement was met with thunderous applause, but there are several facets that make it interesting.

The first is that while Musk’s status as the first person with Apserger’s to host SNL happens to be untrue (SNL alum and fellow Canadian Dan Ackroyd has been public about his Asperger’s), it is also impossible to prove. Even if Musk is one of the rare individuals to have publicly disclosed his diagnosis, the rates of ASD suggest that there have been several other hosts with the condition in the show’s 46-year history. With over 600 guest hosts, statistics indicate that a number of them would likely have been affected by a form of ASD.

Musk’s public disclosure, however, is truly novel. Even without his own colourful persona, it is newsworthy every time a celebrity or notable person publicly discloses their disability. Sometimes these are visible illnesses, other times they are mostly invisible, but every instance tells the public “it’s okay to talk about this, and it is possible to succeed in spite of your challenges.” Some celebrities become champions for fundraising and research, others rarely acknowledge their issues, but each time it happens it sends a message to someone in a similar boat that “this is okay to talk about.” 

The reality is that not everyone with ASD experiences their illness differently. Musk has managed to incorporate elements of his illness into his personality and continue working, but that is not true across the board. Many Canadians dealing with ASD have a difficult time with even simple functions, whether social or work-related. A mental health disability that has a major impact on your life may require taking time off of work to deal with your disability.

At Share Lawyers, we are here to help make that happen. Applying for disability benefits due to a mental health issue can be complicated, but our long term disability lawyers have decades of experience fighting disability claims with the insurance companies. Our job is to help take on your battles so that you can focus on improving your health. Nothing is more important than that. 

If you have had your claim for long-term disability denied, contact the long-term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long-term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.

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