Sam Bailey says autistic son left ‘incredibly upset’ after cruel ‘brain malfunction’ jibe
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Sam Bailey, who won The X Factor in 2013, spoke candidly about her 11-year-old son Tommy who was diagnosed with autism in July last year. The singer, who is also mum to Brooke, 15, and Miley, six, has addressed her son being mocked by classmates after the news of his diagnosis was explained.
The 43-year-old admitted Tommy was left “incredibly upset” after classmates questioned his condition.
Autism affects people differently but symptoms can include difficulty communicating with others, taking longer to understand information and people can become anxious in unfamiliar surroundings, according to the NHS.
Tommy has also been diagnosed with dyspraxia, a neurological disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to plan and process their motor skills.
People with this condition often have difficulties with organising and planning.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Sam explained: “A kid said to him, ‘If you’re autistic that means you’ve got a brain malfunction, right?’
“He came home and told us and he was so upset. So incredibly upset.”
She continued: “It’s a hard thing to deal with and I just feel like if my child if I’d known about this sooner then we could have nipped it in a bud.
“It went completely unnoticed by the school and he has a real hard time with that. If someone takes the mickey out of him he takes it literally.”
Sam also revealed that she apologised to her son for not picking up on the signs while he was in primary school.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ve apologised to him so much,” she commented.
“And I feel so, so bad about it. I want to make up for it as much as I can.”
The 2013 X Factor winner admitted she often “kicks herself” for not being aware of his autism during his younger years at primary school.
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She continued: “Children never forget. And Tommy will never forget the struggle he had for six years where it went undiagnosed.
“He’ll always look back on his primary school years and it won’t be a happy place to think about.
“But it would have been if I had a diagnosis in place. Things would have been so much easier.”
Sam revealed that one of her son’s symptoms is his inability to complete tasks, such as tying his shoelaces.
The ex-prisoner officer decided to go to a private healthcare specialist and later got the diagnosis that Tom was autistic.
Sam believes that if other parents are able to spot the signs sooner then children will be able to reap the benefits of an earlier diagnosis.
“I feel with autism my blinkers have been taken off,” she explained. “I feel like I’ve learned so much and I can spot signs.”
Sam Bailey is a singer, performing artist, and mental health speaker at Champions Speakers.
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