Susan Boyle, of “Britain’s Got Talent” fame, recently revealed that she has Asperger’s syndrome. Like most people, I was amazed when I watched a YouTube video of her audition, where she belted out “I Dreamed a Dream.” The combination of her awkward mannerisms, frumpy outfit, and the smirks of the audience members convinced everyone that this was going to be one of those comically horrible auditions that reality shows are so fond of showing. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
This is what she told The Observer about her Asperger’s diagnosis:
“I would say I have relationship difficulties, communicative difficulties, which lead to a lot of frustration. If people were a bit more patient, that would help… Asperger’s doesn’t define me. It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”
I admire Susan not just for her amazing voice but for her courage to come forward and serve as a role model for others with Asperger’s. Going through life with Asperger’s is a struggle. Bullying is common, forming friendships is hard work, and landing a job is very difficult, as the ability to carry on a conversation with an interviewer is often viewed as a prerequisite, regardless of one’s other skills. It’s a wonderful thing that although she may not have the best social skills or be the prettiest or most fashionable, Susan Boyle has achieved her dream of becoming a successful singer. Not only is she a household name, but she has released 4 albums which have sold over 14 million copies. Thank you Susan for standing up for true diversity and demonstrating that talent and success aren’t just for the neurotypical.