Susan Boyle describes relief after Asperger syndrome diagnosis
Agence France-Presse in London
Scottish singer Susan Boyle has revealed that she has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
Boyle, a 52-year-old church volunteer who became a singing sensation, told Britain's Observer newspaper she had been diagnosed a year ago. She said she was relieved after years of bullying for her learning difficulties.
"It was the wrong diagnosis when I was a kid," she said.
"I was told I had brain damage. I always knew it was an unfair label. Now I have a clearer understanding of what's wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself."
Boyle, who shot to fame on the TV show Britain's Got Talent in 2009, was a devout Catholic and lifelong singleton. She became an overnight sensation after her rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" from the musical Les Miserables went viral on the internet.
Her first appearance on the show has racked up nearly 140 million views on YouTube. She has since recorded four smash-hit albums and sung for the pope.
Boyle's quirky sense of humour and golden voice won her fans, but her rapid rise to fame and the huge press attention drove her close to breakdown.
Asperger's affects communication and social interaction. Sufferers have difficulty picking up on social cues and gauging appropriate behaviour.
Boyle was deprived of oxygen at her birth and was bullied throughout her school years, nicknamed "Susie Simple" by her classmates.
But recent tests have revealed that she has above-average intelligence, she told the Observer.
Boyle said her Asperger's diagnosis would not make any difference to her life, insisting: "It's just a condition that I have to live with and work through."