Em Rusciano has explained why her autism may not be immediately evident to others. 

In a lengthy statement posted to Facebook, which is shared in full at the bottom of this article, 43-year-old Em outlined how ‘heavy duty masking’ of her symptoms helped her cope, but also made it less obvious to outsiders that she was struggling. 

The statement comes after media personality Meshel Laurie doubled down on her false accusation that the comedian is ‘faking’ her autism diagnosis. 

‘The truth is, I’ve spent a lifetime developing coping techniques to try and fit in, I became an expert at appearing “fine” but in reality my apparent competence was actually heavy duty masking’ Em wrote. 

‘That’s how it is for most late diagnosed women, I now know so many of my mental health issues were because I was trying to force my brain into neuro-typical structures and systems that were not designed for me.’

Em Rusciano (pictured) has explained why the symptoms of her autism may not be immediately evident to others

Em Rusciano (pictured) has explained why the symptoms of her autism may not be immediately evident to others

Em continued: ‘I simply did not understand why life was so bloody exhausting, then I found out it was because I was having to spend all my time pretending that I found certain parts of it easy. 

‘I didn’t know that everyone else just knew how to make the right amount of eye contact during a conversation with a stranger. 

‘I have great attention to detail because I spend hours anxiously pouring over everything I do in case there is a mistake and someone realises I am not really up to the task. 

‘I self monitor in social interactions, I work really hard to to not interrupt the person talking, to not take the conversation over and go on a five minute info dumping spree because they’ve mentioned a topic I know all about. When I’m excited or tired or anxious I stim.’ 

The statement comes after media personality Meshel Laurie (pictured) doubled down on her false accusation that the comedian is 'faking' her autism diagnosis

The statement comes after media personality Meshel Laurie (pictured) doubled down on her false accusation that the comedian is ‘faking’ her autism diagnosis

Em also addressed the drama around her statement that she may utilise the ‘sensory inclusivity room’ at Marvel Stadium during Harry Style’s concert in Melbourne

‘I’m extremely sensitive to light and sound and textures. Sensory overload and burnout happen to me five or six times a week, that’s why when I saw that Marvel stadium had a sensory room, I was excited’ she said. 

‘These are only a couple of examples of how my ASD shows up, but I shouldn’t have to explain myself. Yet this week I’ve found myself having to endure people debating if I’m autistic enough or even at all. How is that okay?’ 

The former radio star also called the questions around her autism, ‘limiting and ableist’ and that neurodivergent women, whose symptoms can present slightly differently to those in men, are often left out of the conversation. 

'The truth is, I've spent a lifetime developing coping techniques to try and fit in, I became an expert at appearing "fine" but in reality my apparent competence was actually heavy duty masking' Em wrote

‘The truth is, I’ve spent a lifetime developing coping techniques to try and fit in, I became an expert at appearing “fine” but in reality my apparent competence was actually heavy duty masking’ Em wrote 

‘The only examples of ADHD and autism I had seen were the male presentation. But that’s the whole point, that’s why representation matters. More women like me need to be seen and heard so that we can change the attitudes and narratives around ADHD and ASD’ she said. 

On Monday, in a series of videos shared to Instagram Stories, Em insisted that she has the ‘receipts’ and if needed she can provide medical reports proving she was in fact diagnosed professionally with the developmental disability.  

‘Every instinct in me wants to bury myself, and ironically the last couple of days have made my symptoms worse, because I cant regulate my emotions,’ she began. 

‘All this stuff has highlighted why I cant do that, because representation matters, the only representation of me in the media is like Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man, the extreme male presentation (of autism) . 

On Monday, in a series of videos shared to Instagram Stories, the star insisted that she has the 'receipts' and if needed she can provide medical reports proving she was in fact diagnosed professionally with the developmental disability

On Monday, in a series of videos shared to Instagram Stories, the star insisted that she has the ‘receipts’ and if needed she can provide medical reports proving she was in fact diagnosed professionally with the developmental disability

‘There needs to be more people like me, women, so that other women who get diagnosed like me don’t have to hide it or face this kind of stuff, because know [sic] one should face this kind of stuff,’ she continued. 

‘Accusing me of faking autism is kind of wild. I have a detailed report. I recorded the sessions so I could remember it. My friends and family were interviewed. If it came to it, I have the receipts,’ Em insisted. 

‘It’s just so wild that someone thinks it’s okay to say you’re faking it because your life appears a certain way, because you’re high functioning.

‘I am pretty dysfunctional actually, I just learned how to survive. Just because you know one autistic person, doesn’t mean you know all autistic people.

In a series of videos shared to Instagram Stories, she insisted that she has the 'receipts' and if needed she can provide medical reports proving she was in fact diagnosed professionally with the developmental disability

In a series of videos shared to Instagram Stories, she insisted that she has the ‘receipts’ and if needed she can provide medical reports proving she was in fact diagnosed professionally with the developmental disability

In a separate post on Twitter, Em wrote: 'It shouldn't be a shock to people that someone with sensory issues has a need for a space they can regulate in'

In a separate post on Twitter, Em wrote: ‘It shouldn’t be a shock to people that someone with sensory issues has a need for a space they can regulate in’

‘I’ve really been blown away by the ignorance and the ableist attitudes, and it makes me really scared for my son, because he’s level two (autistic),’ she concluded. 

In a separate post on Twitter, Em wrote: ‘It shouldn’t be a shock to people that someone with sensory issues has a need for a space they can regulate in. 

‘It’s not ok to tell someone they’re not Autistic enough. Or that they’re lying. Or that they’re picking and choosing when they’re ND. It’s breathtakingly f***ed. Truly.’

It comes after Meshel doubled down on her blistering tirade against Em after she falsely accused the comedian of ‘faking’ her autism diagnosis.

Podcaster Meshel accused Em of 'leaping on the bandwagon' for clout and is refusing to back down despite being called out by thousands on social media

Podcaster Meshel accused Em of ‘leaping on the bandwagon’ for clout and is refusing to back down despite being called out by thousands on social media

The podcaster, 49,  accused Em of ‘leaping on the bandwagon’ for clout and is refusing to back down despite being called out by thousands on social media.

Laurie’s vicious tirade came on Friday after the former radio host said she may potentially seek refuge in the ‘sensory inclusivity room’ at Marvel Stadium during Harry Style’s concert in Melbourne

Meshel shared a photo to Instagram on Saturday of a young girl screaming into a megaphone and captioned it with some choice words.

‘Success = never having to apologise for telling the truth,’ she wrote next to the snap and turned the comments off so followers could not respond.

She also took to Facebook to tell her fans she is ‘tired’ of celebrities making ‘attention seeking’ posts about having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Meshel shared this photo to Instagram of a young girl screaming into a megaphone and captioned it with some choice words on Saturday

Meshel shared this photo to Instagram of a young girl screaming into a megaphone and captioned it with some choice words on Saturday 

‘As the exhausted mother of an ASD child I stand by what I said about certain adults well known for attention seeking and their recent posts about their diagnoses,’ she wrote.

‘Next time you hear a grown celebrity say they’re on the spectrum please whisper in your mind, f*** you, you successful mother-f*****. Obviously you aren’t very far along the spectrum.

‘Our education system only recognised this sh*t and learned to deal with it ten years ago. You’re lying,’ she added.

Rusciano was diagnosed with autism last November, just one year after being diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). 

Meshel also posted a lengthy rant on Facebook calling out 'attention seeking' celebrities discussing their ASD diagnosis on social media

Meshel also posted a lengthy rant on Facebook calling out ‘attention seeking’ celebrities discussing their ASD diagnosis on social media

On Saturday afternoon, Rusciano shared a response to Laurie’s rant in a lengthy Instagram post. 

She uploaded a photo of herself looking relaxed in a floral dress alongside a caption in which she begged fans to leave ‘troubled’ Laurie alone. 

She wrote: ‘Who’d have thought me being grateful for a stadium having a sensory room would turn into what it did. 

‘I’m exhausted TBH and don’t have the heart for a topic reset. I did have to resist the urge to write a song parody to the Kasey Chambers smash hit ‘Not Pretty Enough’ and insert ‘Autistic’ – it’s a bit too soon for that.

The drama began when Em said she will potentially seek refuge in the 'sensory inclusivity room' at Marvel Stadium during Harry Style's concert in Melbourne

The drama began when Em said she will potentially seek refuge in the ‘sensory inclusivity room’ at Marvel Stadium during Harry Style’s concert in Melbourne 

‘It seems like Meshel is doing it tough at the moment and I’ve been there. Don’t get me wrong, what she wrote was plain wrong and hurt my feelings. I don’t want the comments to turn into attacks on Meshel,’ she concluded. 

Rusciano’s followers were quick to praise her for taking the high road during this difficult time.

Feminist author Clementine Ford commented: ‘What a weird thing for someone to go on the attack about’, while another fan said they had ‘unfollowed Meshel’ after her rant. 

Laurie had unleashed a tirade of abuse against Rusciano on Friday.

Laurie unleashed a tirade of abuse against Rusciano on Friday in a since-deleted Instagram post

Laurie unleashed a tirade of abuse against Rusciano on Friday in a since-deleted Instagram post

The author falsely accused Rusciano of 'leaping on the bandwagon for clout' and called her a 'c**t' in a vile rant on Instagram which she has since deleted

The author falsely accused Rusciano of ‘leaping on the bandwagon for clout’ and called her a ‘c**t’ in a vile rant on Instagram which she has since deleted

The author falsely accused Rusciano of ‘leaping on the bandwagon for clout’ and called her a ‘c**t’ in a vile rant on Instagram which she has since deleted.

Laurie then went to her own comments section to continue her rant, falsely accusing her of faking her autism to ‘excuse’ her poor behaviour in the past.

Responding on Twitter on Saturday morning Rusciano said she’d never ‘imagined’ she would receive such baseless accusations.

‘Being accused of faking having autism for attention was not how I imagined today would end but here we are!’ she tweeted. 

‘Gonna put that on a T-shirt for my next merch run: ‘Autistic for Attention.” 

Em Rusciano’s statement in full 

This week has been hard and it’s only Tuesday.

My worst fear when I decided to be open about my ADHD and autism was that I wouldn’t be believed. I’ve spent my whole life trying to figure out why I felt like an outsider, and when I was given the reason I almost didn’t believe it myself. Because the only examples of ADHD and autism I had seen were the male presentation. But that’s the whole point, that’s why representation matters. More women like me need to be seen and heard so that we can change the attitudes and narratives around ADHD and ASD.

The truth is, I’ve spent a lifetime developing coping techniques to try and fit in, I became an expert at appearing “fine” but in reality my apparent competence was actually heavy duty masking.

That’s how it is for most late diagnosed women, I now know so many of my mental health issues were because I was trying to force my brain into neuro-typical structures and systems that were not designed for me.

I simply did not understand why life was so bloody exhausting, then I found out it was because I was having to spend all my time pretending that I found certain parts of it easy. I didn’t know that everyone else just knew how to make the right amount of eye contact during a conversation with a stranger. I have great attention to detail because I spend hours anxiously pouring over everything I do in case there is a mistake and someone realises I am not really up to the task. I self monitor in social interactions, I work really hard to to not interrupt the person talking, to not take the conversation over and go on a five minute info dumping spree because they’ve mentioned a topic I know all about. When I’m excited or tired or anxious I stim. I’m extremely sensitive to light and sound and textures. Sensory overload and burnout happen to me five or six times a week, that’s why when I saw that Marvel stadium had a sensory room, I was excited. These are only a couple of examples of how my ASD shows up, but I shouldn’t have to explain myself. Yet this week I’ve found myself having to endure people debating if I’m autistic enough or even at all.

How is that ok?

Also the idea that because I’ve had success in my career and life means I couldn’t possibly be autistic is limiting and ableist.

So much brilliant music and art and science has come into existence because of autistic people.

Since speaking publicly about being neuro-divergent I have been overwhelmed by messages from late diagnosed women and women who suspect they too may be ND. Women who are scared to speak openly about their struggles or even get a diagnosis because of exactly what has happened to me this week.

I did not disclose my ADHD and autism for attention or sympathy, I did it because my son is level 2 ASD. I can see all the ways in which society is going to make it hard for him to simply just be who he is, and I absolutely cannot allow that to happen. I also think about ten year old Em, and how hard she found the world to navigate. I owe it to both those kids and to any kid like them to keep pushing forward and to all the late diagnosed women as well. I don’t know if you’ve heard but Mothers of autistic children are a fkn force to be reckoned with. Autistic Mothers of autistic children are another level again.

I have attached the speech I gave at the National Press Club last year, this was around my ADHD diagnosis. I was in the process of getting an ASD one at the time but it all applies to that as well.

Especially the issues around misdiagnosis, and the symptom recognition bias that exists around both ADHD and ASD. In news that shouldn’t shock anyone, you should not apply the male criteria when assessing a female.

If you’re new here, you should listen to my podcast called Emsolation. You can find it on Spotify, this week’s ep will be an interesting one that’s for sure.. (Oh you bet I’m plugging my work, I’ve gotta turn this s**t show around to work for me, to survive it!)

Thanks for all your support,

Em



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