Scottish songstress Susan Boyle has opened up about her Asperger syndrome and revealed her parents never learned the truth about her condition as they died before she was properly diagnosed.
Susan learned she had Asperger’s in 2012, a year before she went public with her diagnosis, and told People this week that her parents went to their graves believing she had brain damage rather than the high-functioning form of autism.
The Britain’s Got Talent runner-up said her diagnosis was a relief because it finally allowed her to make sense of her life-long anxiety and struggle to connect and communicate with people.
“It’s not crippling — it was an adjustment but also a relief. Being born in 1961, we didn’t have the medical advances we do now, so my parents were told I was brain damaged at birth,” she told the magazine.
“I think people who are aware of Asperger’s understand why I do things but to others who don’t I still feel I’m judged or misunderstood or spoken down to. People with Asperger’s struggle emotionally, not intellectually.
“I just deal with situations a little differently but slowly and surely I’m learning and I have excellent coping mechanisms. I have learned to talk out my upsets and what is bothering me which has been so helpful.”
Sadly, Susan’s mother Bridget died aged 91, five years before her diagnosis, while her dad Patrick, a World War Two veteran, passed away in 1997, aged 81.
Susan previously told The Guardian doctors had told her parents she had brain damage after complications at birth. While studies have found a link between complications at birth and an increased risk of autism, it’s not known how many children have been incorrectly diagnosed with brain damage rather than autism spectrum disorder.
The revelation comes after the singer spoke to The Sun about her highly publicised breakdown after she shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. Susan retreated from the public eye for years after struggling to deal with her new found celebrity status and the pressures of living in the public eye.
She checked into rehab to recover before returning to her childhood home in Blackburn, Scotland, which she purchased with the money she earned from her record-breaking album sales.
Despite being worth around £12million (AU$22) – and reportedly owning a £300,000 five-bedroom detached property in her hometown – Susan told The Sun she prefers a humble lifestyle and feels more connected to her parents in their old council house.
“It’s good to be in your mum’s house as well, there’s a lot of nice memories in my mum’s. I sort of feel she’s present here, somehow,” she added.
Susan recently returned to television screens for the 10-year anniversary of her legendary audition for Britain’s Got Talent, performing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ once again for Simon Cowell and the rest of the judging panel.
Her performance once again brought the house down with Cowell and the audience jumping to their feet to give her a standing ovation.