UK Celebrities coming out opens discussion adult diagnosis

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20 Nov 2021, 9:46 am

Melanie Sykes and Christine McGuinness praised for openness about autism diagnosis - BBC

Autism campaigners and charities have said it is "brilliant that more and more people in the public eye" are talking openly about being diagnosed as adults.

It comes after the TV presenter Melanie Sykes confirmed she has been diagnosed with the developmental condition at the age of 51. Christine McGuinness, 33, the wife of Top Gear star Paddy, said on Monday she has also been diagnosed as autistic.

Carly Jones was told she was autistic at the age of 32. She tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme she sent flowers to her doctor when she was diagnosed to say "thanks for the first day of the rest of my life".
"That's completely how it felt. It just kind of felt I could draw a line in the sand and start again with better understanding," she says, adding it better explained "lots of social issues I had" as well as negative experiences she had blamed herself solely for before.

"You give yourself a sense of self forgiveness and a foundation to do better as you move on," she adds.

Christine McGuinness said on Monday the diagnosis of her three children with autism encouraged her to have an assessment, which showed she was high on the autistic spectrum herself.

"I have never been very social, I don't really have a lot of friends," she told ITV's Loose Women. "I think I come across as quite confident and I can speak to anybody.

"I can hold a conversation like this, but then actually building a friendship - like if someone said shall we go for lunch after - I'd be like 'God, no'."

Melanie Sykes said on Instagram that it was "such a positive diagnosis for me because it makes sense of my life".
"There's a sense of relief about it but there's also a sense of mourning… I wish I'd known sooner," she added.
Arran Linton-Smith was 57 when he was diagnosed with autism, having believed he was different for most of his life.
He says it is important those who receive a diagnosis in adulthood take the time and space to discover who they are - and that people remember everyone with autism is different.

Campaigners say the knowledge of autism over the past 70 years has been dominated by male presentations of the condition.

"Women present in a very different way," says Sarah Wild, headteacher at Limpsfield Grange School, the UK's only school solely for autistic girls.

The advice for women who feel they may have autism is to read about other people's experiences, advises Ms Wild.
"Go and talk to your doctor as well and actually tell them how you're experiencing your life," she adds. "Being autistic can be a really positive thing. People like Melanie Sykes and Christine McGuinness - it is absolutely fantastic they are being really open about their diagnosis as it really shows you how fantastic and positive it can be."
Ms Jones says their example shows how far society has come in accepting autism - but there is more progress to be made.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman