Susan Boyle Reveals She Has Asperger’s

The British singer says the diagnosis was a relief

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David Cheskin / AP

Locals gather at a community center in Blackburn, Scotland, to watch Susan Boyle on TV during the final of Britain's Got Talent on May 30, 2009

British singer Susan Boyle said her diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, was a relief.

The 52-year-old, who rose to fame for her rendition of Les Misérables’s “I Dreamed a Dream” on Britain’s Got Talent, told the Observer newspaper that she found out a year ago that she had Asperger’s and an above-average IQ, the Associated Press reports.

“I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me,” Boyle said. “Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”

Boyle, who struggled in school as a child, was treated for nervous exhaustion after her famous performance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. She said she was happy to have a better understanding of the hurdles she faces.

[AP]

12 comments
Sarah_A
Sarah_A

@ reno.brett


I'm afraid Ms. Dachel isn't "insinuating" anything - she is a major contributor to the anti-vaccine website "Age of Autism," whose  raison d'etre is to promote the discredited idea that autism is caused by vaccines. The "evidence" for this  is supposed to be the dramatic increase in diagnoses since 1980, which supposedly coincides with the increase in the number of vaccines children receive (needless to say, they completely ignore the fact that autism wasn't even included in the DSM until 1980, and that the criteria have been expanded with each subsequent revision.)  Since their entire argument rests on the assumption that the increase in diagnoses reflects a genuine increase in incidence, naturally they have to attack anybody who presents evidence that autism existed before the 1980s, including the increasing number of adults on the spectrum.  Since they don't have any facts to back up their claims, the attacks tend to take the form of "[autistic adult] doesn't have real autism, [self-pitying tirade] is real autism.  Unfortunately, you can look forward to many more comments of this kind, since Ms. Dachel linked this article over at AoA this morning.  They will then attempt to use this orchestrated attack by a "loud little handful" as evidence that thousands, tens of thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands (depending on who you ask) of parents believe that vaccines cause autism.

Jillba
Jillba

You obviously have no idea what it is like to have a real autistic child. There is a HUGE difference between being a little socially awkward versus having a real diagnosis of autism in which the person will never be able to function independently for the rest of their life. Not only does my son have seizures, GI problems, cannot communicate verbally, stims, runs out of the house into danger, etc., he is also a danger to the public (he attacks people - esp. babies) and destroys property. My son has been banned from the YMCA. This is the real picture of Autism. Less than 9 percent of the children diagnosed with autism have Aspergers. Truly autistic people also have extreme behavioral issues. I do not see Susan sprinting out of her house to the nearest lake or body of water or masturbating in public. I do not know Susan's situation but I am willing to bet her mother was able to go to the bathroom, do laundry or cook dinner in peace while she was raising her. I still cannot do this things unless I have someone watching my son.

lilady
lilady

Too bad Anne Dachel cannot spin recent announcements by older people that they have been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.  As you all know Ms. Dachel claims she never saw an autistic child when she was growing up...so it must be true that we are experiencing an "autistic epidemic" or an "autism tsunami".  It must be those d@mn vaccines, according to Anne and her colleagues at Age of Autism....not the broadening of the DSM Diagnostic Criteria, diagnostic substitution or the ability to detect autism at an earlier age.


What a coincidence then, that Anne's own child wasn't diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome until after the DSM III was published...


http://www.unstrange.com/dsm1.html



AnneDachel1
AnneDachel1

In Sept, actress Daryl Hannah (also 52) announced that she has autism.http://www.starpulse.com/news/Noelle_Talmon/2013/09/28/daryl_hannah_reveals_she_has_autism_sa

If you search for the Susan Boyle story on the internet news, you'll see that most of the major outlets are covering this. It's interesting that they're quick to tell us that it's a "mild form of autism." This must be proof that all the autism affecting our kids is really just better diagnosing of a condition that's always been around. After all, if Daryl Hannah and Susan Boyle have it, there are older people with autism.

Actually, in the latest manual for diagnosing autism, Asperger's has been eliminated, so they're technically not on the spectrum. And even if Asperger's were still included in the definition of autism, these two prove nothing. These are accomplished women. They live independently and have achieved a lot of success. Many of us in the autism community are still waiting for someone to find the 50 year olds who are non-verbal, in diapers, and requiring constant supervision because their behavior makes them a danger to themselves and to others. We'd also like to see the middle aged people who were born healthy and were developing normally until they suddenly and dramatically lost learned skills and regressed into autism. So far, no one has ever been able to show significant numbers of these people. The fact that the autism rate is always based on studies of children should be scaring everyone.

Anne Dachel, Media editor: Age of Autism

Gib
Gib

I've studied autism and I've worked with autistic children. While in its extremity it can be harmful (almost akin to a form of retardation), in moderate levels, like Asperger's syndrome, it can be helpful with learning and artistic endeavors. Many people in Silicon Valley fit into this category-they were probably "nerdy" in high school, yet I assume most of them make a pretty good income. 


It can lead to social difficulties, but those can be overcome. Really, it bothers me that our society automatically classifies anyone on the spectrum as having a disorder. I read one report that said as many as 1 in 50 kids may have autism. If it's that prevalent, maybe it's not a disorder, but just a certain personality type or trait. Can we say people with type-A personalities have a disorder? Technically speaking no-a disorder is considered something that affects your ability to function in society, but in a slang sense, why not?


And this article is a perfect example that you can be very successful even with this "disorder." We should get over this stigma of autism. It's all a matter of context as seen in the Silicon Valley setting. Likewise, I'd venture to say there are many mildly autistic people who have used it to benefit them. A fixation on a given field, an obsession with perfecting certain techniques, and increased brain power-these could be very helpful in the right work environment/career

lilady
lilady

@JillbaI know exactly what "real autism" (whatever that is), is like.  My child was born in 1976 with a rare genetic disorder.  He was diagnosed as Profoundly Mentally Retarded, Physically Impaired (Spastic Quadriplegia) and Health Impaired (Grand Mal Seizure Disorder, Immune Suppressed with a bleed disorder)...leukopenia, ITP, platelet aggragation and adhesion disorder.  He also displayed "autistic-like behaviors"...not autism (DSM II Diagnostic Criteria).

So do you have a point?  You do realize don't you, that ASDs are a spectrum with children and adults having varying degrees of intellectual, physical, behavioral and social impairments?

BTW, Ms. Dachel's child was originally diagnosed as "Learning Disabled" and not diagnosed with an ASD until age seven.  He, like most children diagnosed with an ASD made a whole lot of progress.  Ms. Dachel's son plays the organ, has a motorboat and drives his own car.  He is also listed as the "technical advisor" on the video shoot at the 2013 Autism One-Generation Rescue Conference.  



aspie1957
aspie1957

The DSM 5 recommends that those previously diagnosed as Aspergers Syndrome still be diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder. The DSM 5 is a guideline, clinicians are not bound by it. The position of the National Institute of Mental Heath is that the DSM 5 will good years from now, the preferred manuals are the DSM IV or the ICD 10.


As for my fellow 50 something Autistics who are severely affected they either died decades ago in the street or are institutionalized under a misdiagnoses

nrdavis
nrdavis

@AnneDachel1AnneDachel1 posted misinformation.


She wrote: "Actually, in the latest manual for diagnosing autism, Asperger's has been eliminated, so [people like Susan Boyle are] technically not on the spectrum." Anyone who can read plain English will understand that Dachel is flat-out wrong. It's strange that Dachel again chooses to post such easily-falsified nonsense.


Dachel also indicated that she refuses to believe that signficant numbers of adults with autism exist, despite the fact that she certainly knows that the only meaningful attempt to establish the prevalence of ASD among adults living in the community (that, is, people who like Susan Boyle had some difficulty, but were able to live as adults either independently or, like Boyle, with their parents) found that that prevalence was comparable to the prevalence of ASD among children. 


Dachel is apparently motivated by her unswerving belief that vaccines caused an epidemic of autism, so she simply rejects all the data that argue against such an epidemic, data that clearly show that thimerosal obviously cannot be responsible for any such epidemic, data that clearly show that MMR clearly cannot be responsible for any such epidemic, data that demonstrate that children who regress into autism have followed abnormal brain growth trajectories since long before they received the vaccines that Dachel has repetitively blamed for their autism, data that show that children who develop autism have accumulated fluid in their brains in a pattern that has been shown to begin before birth, etc. Dachel rejects all of the evidence that real experts have accumulated since, as a former schoolteacher with an internet connection. she can consider herself an expert.

reno.brett
reno.brett

@AnneDachel1

If sounds like you're trying to insinuate that autism is on the rise for another reason, perhaps vaccines. I'd like to remind the public that the scientific medical community has come to a near consensus (over 95%) that they do not, and failing to vaccinate your children is a risky move.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257990/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22521285

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/new-study-finds-no-link-between-too-many-vaccines-autism-1C9139290?franchiseSlug=healthmain

http://jpeds.com/content/JPEDSDeStefano

Jillba
Jillba

@lilady @Jillba The point is that there are more children now with severe disabilities and the media is presenting Autism as nothing to worry about - That the high rate of children being diagnosed is not a problem - we always had large number of children that were socially awkward but they were just not diagnosed in the past. It is difficult now but it is going to be a lot worse when us parents age and we can no longer care for them. We are not prepared to take care of these children when the parents age or die. We need to work on finding out what is the environmental cause of this catastrophe and to prevent this from happening to other children. We also need to work on finding a way to be able to provide for all of these children when the parents age or are deceased. The need will be even greater when the schools no longer have to provide support. In my state alone, there are thousands of parents still waiting to get Medicaid Waivers so that they can get help for their children (and adults). This has always been a problem but now it is even bigger with more children being disabled. That is wonderful that Ms. Dachel's son is doing so well. Perhaps that is why she has more time to advocate for us. Many of us parents are just lucky to make it through the day.

Jillba
Jillba

@lilady @Jillba The research in Autism has now switched over from genetics to environment in the last year or two. Many of us were focused on genetics (my family is in the AGRE research program) but because of the updated twin study, the large number of children with severe Autism and since the genetic research has come up short in finding answers, the research is starting to change direction. I am not sure if you aware of this but 1 out of 29 boys born in the year 2000 in NJ have a diagnosis of Autism. Eighty percent of those boys have the severe form of Autism. It is imperative that we find the cause to prevent this from happening to our children and to work on finding ways to provide services now to these kids and in the future. I cringe when I think of my son's future. 



lilady
lilady

@Jillba@lilady 

Anne Dachel does not advocate for autistic children and adults. She's a retired history teacher and on the payroll at Age of Autism, who Spams every website with her inane comments and who knows absolutely nothing about the genetics of autism.