‘Been truly life-changing’ Melanie Sykes left stunned as she’s diagnosed with autism at 51

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Melanie Sykes, 51, has revealed her autism diagnosis as she sent an email to the readers of her magazine, The Frank, and opened up about the “life-changing” experience. The TV host shared she has now realised how the spectrum disorder has impacted her life, including her on-screen career.

She wrote: “This week has been truly life-changing, or rather, life-affirming. 

“As many of you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with autism late Thursday afternoon. And then, finally, so many things made sense.”

Mel, who is mum to Roman, 19, and 17-year-old Valentino from her relationship with Daniel Caltagirone, explained she’s taking the news of her diagnosis as a positive.

“I cannot begin to tell you the sense of relief this is for me and how much I celebrate this diagnosis,” she said. 

“I now have a deeper understanding of myself, my life, and the things I have endured.”

Mel also recalled some of the struggles she faced over the course of her career, which are now making sense.

She said: “The sensitivities around working in television have come up. I have always struggled with earpieces, what they call talkback, where you hear what the director says. 

“I have often accidentally responded to the director in my ear, live on air, as I cannot juggle the person I am interviewing and the person in my ear at the same time.

“My memory has always been problematic, and remembering pieces to camera could spin me out, resulting in sleepless nights beforehand.

“There have been many tears of fear and frustration.”

Mel previously opened up about her youngest son Valentino being diagnosed with autism at three years old, saying it gave her the push to leave her unhappy marriage.

During an appearance on the Hot Mess Mums Club podcast, Mel said: “That boy is the light of my life. When he was diagnosed he changed my life.

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“I couldn’t be in a marriage that I wasn’t happy in, in order to help him. 

“I had to sort myself out and he helped me get out of the situation that I was in – he was definitely the fuel for the move to do that.

“When you are unhappy you can’t function as a parent.”

Melanie added: “When you are unhappy you are not displaying what a woman should be dealing with.

“With two boys, particularly, I was very mindful of what they were observing of me as a woman and what they would take into their adult lives when they were dealing with women – whether it be romantically or not because at that time I didn’t know what sexual persuasion they were going to be.

“It was just what women are and what women are capable of.

“I am their main woman so everything I do, I want them to see me as someone to look up to and to respect.

“I think that is my duty as a mother, to boys particularly.”

Melanie and Daniel were married from 2001 and split in 2009, a year after Valentino’s diagnosis, saying they had “grown apart” as a couple.

Melanie co-parents successfully with him, and they have even appeared on This Morning, chatting about their struggle to find a school for their son.

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