Susan Boyle Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome

The odd behavior of Susan Boyle, Britain’s Got Talent sensation, is finally explained. She’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

Throughout her life, Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle has carried the label “brain damaged”. Now, in an exclusive interview with the Observer, the 52-year-old has revealed that she was misdiagnosed after complications at birth and has actually had Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism.

The singer, who has sold millions of records around the world since coming in second on BGT in 2009, was misdiagnosed as a kid. “It was the wrong diagnosis when I was a kid,” she said. “I was told I had brain damage. I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”

Boyle, who was called “Susie Simple” while growing up in her home town of Blackburn, West Lothian, was bullied as a child because she was “different” from her classmates. Now she can give that difference a name.

“I went to seek a diagnosis from a Scottish specialist,” she says. “Nobody told me to. I thought I had a more serious illness and couldn’t function properly.” Asperger’s often creates anxiety in sufferers because of their inability to deal with situations which others take in their stride, and Boyle admits to being nervous about the consultation. But she coped well with a series of simple tests that showed her intelligence levels were not connected to her condition:”I was told my IQ was above average.”

There have been reports of volatile behavior and outbursts from Susan. She’s cancelled appearances, exhibiting stage fright and a general inability to deal with stress. Now with the proper diagnosis, which she received a year ago, she can learn to cope.

She insists the new Asperger’s diagnosis neither defines nor confines her. “It will not make any difference to my life. It’s just a condition that I have to live with and work through.” She hopes, though, that it will lead to people showing greater empathy and understanding towards her and her condition.

“I think people will treat me better because they will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”

Recently, Susan filmed a cameo role in the holiday film, The Christmas Candle, while Fox Searchlight is interested in making a film of her life story with Oscar-winner Meryl Streep in the lead role.

Via The Guardian

  • No Thanks

    Is this diagnosis surprising to anyone?

  • Lexie O’Neill

    What’s interesting to me is that the diagnosis of Asperger’s was just phased out with the newest diagnostics manual that came out this summer. I actually think her example is a case for the diagnosis to be reinstated because she definitely doesn’t fit the broader concept of autism. Sorry, it’s part of an ongoing discussion.

    I hope it helps her to have a name for it.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    This explains a lot of past behavior. Good for Susan for revealing this information and I can understand how she feels better knowing about her condition.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Good for her. A realistic diagnosis has to make her experiences easier to handle.

  • Eric Ascher

    I also have aspergers and I’m glad she came forward with this information. The more people who share their story, the more role models for young people who also have this diagnosis.

  • standtotheright

    I hope this helps her going forward. I can’t imagine many people around her are surprised, but hopefully they’ll have better tools to work with her because of the diagnosis.

  • Kesia Monteith

    Not to me. I have always felt there was something a bit…off with her. Her awkwardness, if you will, reminds me of others I know with this form of Autism. That, and my own brother is autistic, so that also helps in picking up behaviour traits in others that I would notice.

  • milwlovesadam

    Yes. I believe the diagnosis manual ( ICD and whatever number it is now ) now just has “Autism Spectrum ” listed. It’s a very broad label for many many types of disorders.

    When Susan was a child, autism just wasn’t diagnosed the way it is now. If she were a child in this day and age, she would have had a lot of help available to her.

    I just hope she can move forward. She is quite talented ( not my cuppa, but, tons of fans love her ) and has a fanbase that will support her.

    I can totally see Streep in the movie. My question is, who will play Simon? LOLOLOL

  • Kesia Monteith

    I’m glad you brought this up, because it has been bothering me how often there have been changes in definitions to certain mental illnesses and disorders. What’s worse, is how much this could change the kind of help needed for those with disorders like Autism. I hate hearing stories of those not getting the proper help they need because of misdiagnoses.

  • tomr

    It’s unfortunate that mj used the word “odd’ to describe behaviors that would be better described as “different.” Having taught a child diagnosed with Asberger’s, I commend Susan for publicly disclosing her condition so others may benefit.

  • StickInTheMud

    I have aspergers (now lumped with autism) and I know how it feels to be different and not know why. Having a diagnosis of aspergers is better than being labelled “mentally deficient” or “crazy” and can lead to better understanding by yourself and others. I hope it helps her.

  • taylor

    Even though it is impossible to diagnose someone just from watching them on TV, I’ve thought this for years. I really figured she already had a diagnosis and they were just hiding it from the general public, either because they didn’t want to make it part of her story or she didn’t want to share her diagnosis with the world.

    I’m surprised, with all of her severe anxiety issues and “break-downs” (as the press labeled it), no one suggested she get a proper evaluation. I’m glad to hear that she finally got a diagnosis and an answer and it will help her move forward in every aspect of her life.

  • nyc57

    I don’t mind MJ’s use of the word odd and I have a grown son with asbergers.It is what it is.My son doesn’t have anger issues but some of his behavior is odd.To be honest,we all have developed a sense of humor about some of it.
    Drug companies are working on drugs for asbergers.My son loves being a guinea pig and is now involved in his second drug test study at a major hospital. Doctors ask me a long sertes of questions every few weeks to see if there is any difference in his behavior.I don’t know,obviously,if he is taking the drugs or a placebo.

  • Amy Beth

    I have 2 sons on the spectrum. One is in a clinical trial and one of the questions they ask me every time he goes for a check up is whether he’s developed any new “bizarre” behaviors.

    And yeah, some of the stuff they do is pretty darn odd!

  • roarpen

    I thought this was a given. I am surprised that she was just recently diagnosed because I thought it was a known fact. Obviously I am wrong. It can only help her to understand the diagnosis moving forward and I’m sorry she wasn’t able to get help much earlier.

  • Q_3

    Asperger Syndrome was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 (reclassified within the Autism Spectrum) but remains in the WHO ICD-10. The DSM is only used in the US.