Melanie Sykes opens up about her autism diagnosis: 'It's fantastic'

Her teenage son Tino also has the condition

In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine, Melanie Sykes has spoken about her recent diagnosis of autism. The television presenter, whose 17-year-old son Tino also has the condition which affects the way people communicate and interact, tells the magazine how she greeted the news with relief.

"It's fantastic, that's why I'm celebrating it," she says. "I've always felt different to other people and how they think and operate, but now I know it's because I'm autistic it makes me feel validated as I understand why."

READ: Melanie Sykes' secret to her incredible figure at 51

"I'm relieved," she continues. "It's great to know and I'm very happy about it. Now I know what all my sensitivities are about. During lockdown, I enjoyed not having to go out and socialise, to brave corporate events, shake hands and be pulled in for a kiss by complete strangers.

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WATCH: Melanie Sykes reveals her autism diagnosis

"I've always been uncomfortable in crowds or being touched by people I don't know. My sensitivities are now completely validated because I'm autistic."

READ: Everything you need to know about Melanie Sykes

In the interview, Melanie also talks about the prospect of marrying again. "I like my life until I want to change it; I'll make that decision later. Right now I'm happy as I am. I have a great life and do it my way. I'm not beholden to anyone, can do what I want, when I want. I'm fine with me.

"I've always felt different to other people and how they think and operate," said the TV presenter

"I do as I please and live my life as I see fit; it's nobody else's business. I don't feel any pressure from anyone about what I say and do because I can do anything I want. That's just the way I roll."

Since coming out with her diagnosis, Melanie has been welcomed to the autistic community with messages from mothers of children on the spectrum and adults diagnosed late in life.

Melanie also spoke about the prospect of marrying again

"They're so happy I'm talking about it, normalising it," she says. "Some people who were too embarrassed to tell anyone now feel they can. It makes me extremely happy to know I've helped."

She is now determined to remove the stigma associated with autism. "There's nothing wrong with autistic people; we just think and access the world differently, and people who aren't on the spectrum need to understand that. Autism shouldn't be referred to as a 'disorder' as this implies the way an autistic mind works is faulty. The brain isn't broken, it just thinks differently to a neuro-typical person."

To read the full article, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale now. Subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps.