Why I Identify With Susan Boyle as a Late-in-Life-Diagnosed Autistic Adult

When Susan Boyle first took to the stage on “Britain’s Got Talent,” I realized she was on the autism spectrum. Her “quirky” ways had everyone laughing at her until the jaw-dropping moment she began singing “I Dreamed a Dream.” She stunned the world with her spectacular voice. Suddenly everyone forgot her little wiggle and cheeky comments to Simon Cowell. Susan became an instant sensation. But there was one thing about herself that she didn’t officially even yet know — the very thing that would help explain parts of the life she had lived up to that magical night.

Aside from her incredible voice, I became fascinated with her because I recognized she was autistic. I wondered if she had been diagnosed. Soon after she won second place, her autobiography came out. As I read her life story, I came to feel like she was the sister I never had but always wished I had. We were alike in so many ways.

Growing up, her mom was her only and best friend. Her singing was her special interest, and she regularly sang in a little pub not far from her home in a tiny village in Scotland. She described the tragic day when her mom died and how she survived it. It mirrored what I had gone through when my mom died. She described her mom’s wishes that she pursue her singing career. Susan has a cat named Pebbles, who gave her incredible emotional support. She talked about wanting to have a real friend who would understand her. I was so deeply moved by her story, as I felt that Susan and I could be best friends for life. I don’t sing, but everything else about Susan was just like me.

I remember the day I saw on the news that Susan Boyle just got diagnosed with Asperger’s! I was beside myself! I was bursting with joy for her to finally learn why she is the  wonderful way she is. I remember being horrified when I read in her book that in her younger days people called her “simple Susan” just because she was different. Susan is a perfect example of why no one should ever judge a book by its cover. She is the one person I so hope to meet in person one day. I would give her a big hug and tell her she’s my sister for life. I wonder all the time if she has found any friends yet, how Pebbles is doing, and how is she enjoying life now that she got diagnosed.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Wasforgas – WikiCommons

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

woman posing in cosplay costume of a japanese girl

Why I Cosplay as a Person With Autism

From a young age, I loved dressing up just like many other children, using my imagination and having fun. I never stopped, really. I have autism, and like many others on the spectrum, I have a lot of trouble with crowds and social situations. I heard of this thing called cosplay (costume play) as a young teen, but [...]
sign that says your voice your vote

Why I Believe Voting Is Essential for My Adult Daughter With Autism

Although my daughter on the autism spectrum is 25, she has never voted in an election. Hopefully, the 2016 presidential election will be the first of many elections where Samantha will make her voice heard. Like many other parents of young adults on the spectrum, I have spent long years teaching Samantha millions of everyday activities so [...]

Toys "R" Us to Offer Quiet Holiday Shopping Hour for Customers on Autism Spectrum

Toys “R” Us locations throughout the U.K. will be hosting a quiet hour on Sunday, November 6, for those with autism and their families. Read the full version of Toys “R” Us to Offer Quiet Holiday Shopping Hour for Customers on Autism Spectrum.
Woman sitting on swing, watching sunset over water

Coping With Grief as an Autistic Adult

Whether neurotypical or on the autism spectrum, we often avoid the topic of grief like it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, it does exist, and when faced with it, the pain — emotional and physical — is overwhelming. The emotional pain can and does manifest itself in various ways. It can be so overwhelming that you feel frozen in time, like you are on the [...]