Photo: IBL/REX USA.
Over the weekend, Susan Boyle — the shy and unassuming runner-up of Britain's Got Talent — boldly discussed her autism. In an interview with the Observer, Boyle admitted that she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, last year. People with Asperger's typically have some degree of difficulty in judging facial expressions and relating to others. They also often possess niche interests where they excel.
Rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are rising in the U.S. and have increased from approximately one in 150 children affected in 1990 to approximately one in 88 children in 2008 (the most recent year for which the CDC has data). It's possible that diagnosing children with ASD is simply getting easier as the disorder becomes more visible.
And, Boyle's disclosure over the weekend is a welcome admission in a time when ASD is often misunderstood. She said that finding out that she has Asperger's improved her life — it helped her to understand why her experiences were sometimes different from others and gave her more confidence. And, she hopes going public with the information will help others to understand and accept those with autism. We've been fans of the soft-spoken breakout star since she wowed us with her vocal stylings, and we're just happy she's found happiness and relief. (The Guardian)