Susan Boyle does not have brain damage, what’s her real diagnosis?


When Susan Boyle burst on the scene several years ago, her talent was undeniable, and her story was gripping. Part of the narrative of Susan was the dismissal she got from Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges during her first impression on the U.K.’s The X Factor, following by surprised, teary-eyed delight when she belted out I Dreamed a Dream.

She didn’t win the show, but she won the hearts and imaginations of the world, which was a little too much pressure. She had to be hospitalized for some sort of breakdown, and suddenly there were reports that she had suffered from some sort of learning disability her whole life as a result of brain damage during birth. It became part of her mythology as she recovered and went on to have a successful singing career (does anyone remember who actually beat Susan on The X Factor?) Now she’s revealing that she’s received a more accurate diagnosis, and that she doesn’t have a learning disability at all.

From a new Guardian article:

Interestingly, when her initial wariness wears off, Boyle displays warmth, kindness and empathy in conversation. This is sometimes lost in articles about her, which refer variously to “learning difficulties” or “slowness” caused by complications at birth. Such descriptions are a puzzle – like looking at an apple and being told it’s a pear. Boyle is perfectly intelligent. Her assistant reads a glowing review of her new album, stumbling over a word before she can place it. “Timber?” she speculates. “Timbre,” corrects Boyle immediately. “It means colour.”
That’s because she’s not brain damaged, says Boyle.

“Some articles have said I have brain damage,” she acknowledges, before adding, cryptically: “It’s been something else.” A year ago she went to a Scottish specialist. “I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me,” she explains. The specialist discovered her IQ was above average. And the diagnosis? “I have Asperger’s,” she says calmly. Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism, mainly affects people’s social interaction and communication skills. When she says the word, things fall into place. Finally, it’s like looking at an apple and agreeing it really is an apple. “It is,” she says, “a relief.”

Asperger’s is a type of high-functioning autism that was left out of the current psychiatry bible, The DSM-V. It’s not that it doesn’t exist anymore, it’s just now not supposed to be called that, and is considered to be a part of the autism spectrum.

According to there is no delay in language or intelligence with Asperger’s. Characteristics can include:

– Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction

– Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

– A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
lack of social or emotional reciprocity

– Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities

web stats