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24th Nov 2021

Presenter Melanie Sykes opens up about being diagnosed with autism, aged 51

Katy Brennan

“Autism isn’t a disorder.”

TV Presenter Melanie Sykes has opened up about her autism diagnosis and how she believes autism should not be classed as a disorder.

Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, she revealed that she was diagnosed after working on a documentary about autistic people in the education system.

In the first interview about her diagnosis, she said:

“They call it a disorder which needs to get scrapped because it isn’t the things I can’t do, it’s the things I can do.”

Autism is not recognised as a disease or an illness but it is called autism spectrum disorder.

Reiterating her point later in in the interview, she said: “I’m here for everyone who’s autistic. It’s a good thing, because it’s not a disorder… it’s the things that we can do!”

Earlier this month on Instagram, Melanie said that she’d been working on the documentary with Harry Thompson, who has autism, and he told her he thought she might have it too.

“He thought I might have an ADHD/autistic profile based on how open I am, how expressive I am, my ability to pick up and drop lots of different bits of conversation and keep it lateral,” she explained.

She also opened up about how relieved she felt following the diagnosis.

“This week has been truly life-changing. Or rather, life affirming,” she said.

Melanie’s 17-year-old son, Tino, was diagnosed with autism when he was just three. She has highlighted how men and women with autism need to be treated differently.

“I was told then that with girls, it doesn’t get as seen because they hide it well. If you’re being tested on how a boy or a male presents a certain condition… it looks very different to a woman.

“So why are we being looked at in the form of man when we’re completely different animals?”