TV and radio host Em Rusciano has fired back at hurtful claims she used her recent diagnoses for ADHD and autism ‘for clout’.

The mother of three, 43, who last week was accused by fellow comedian Meshel Laurie of ‘leaping on the autism bandwagon’, confirmed her diagnosis on Thursday by reading out her medical assessment on her Emsolation podcast.

She also revealed she was working on a new live stage show and podcast series about her journey as a neurodivergent woman.

Rusciano opened up about her journey to get diagnosed, admitting she was at first rejected by a ‘dismissive’ male psychiatrist because she did not meet the criteria.

As a result, she was forced to seek treatment from a sympathetic female psychiatrist who coincidentally was a fan of her podcast.

Rusciano, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021, first suspected she may also be autistic when going through the diagnosis process for her then three-year-old son Elio last year.

An emotional Em Rusciano (pictured on her podcast Emsolation on Thursday) has fired back at hurtful claims she used her recent diagnoses for ADHD and autism 'for clout'

An emotional Em Rusciano (pictured on her podcast Emsolation on Thursday) has fired back at hurtful claims she used her recent diagnoses for ADHD and autism ‘for clout’

The former 2Day FM breakfast host resonated with the criteria used to diagnose Elio, then sought out her own diagnosis as a result.

‘Initially I met with a male psychiatrist who completely disregarded even entertaining the idea that I was autistic,’ she explained.

‘And he listed why. “Because you don’t have ritualistic behaviour, you don’t talk in monotone, you don’t have any obvious stims [repetitive movements or noises].”‘

Rusciano said that like many autistic women, she had been ‘masking’ her symptoms her entire life, hence the lack of obvious signs.

‘Boys are encouraged to be brave and go for things and be bold and loud, whereas girls are told to be a good girl, behave yourself,’ she added.

Rusciano, 43, was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021 and diagnosed with autism a year later

Rusciano, 43, was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021 and diagnosed with autism a year later

Rusciano said there ‘was not enough research on the female presentation of autism’ and almost ‘zero research’ among the ‘gender nonbinary, non-conforming, genderfluid’ community when it comes to the condition. 

After being dismissed by the male psychiatrist, the Australian Idol alum ‘kept searching’ for somebody who could diagnose her.

‘I found someone who I studied and researched and did my homework on, and I knew that she worked in the field and I stalked her and harassed her,’ she said.

‘Luckily she is an Emsolator,’ Rusciano added, referring to the nickname she gives fans of her Spotify podcast Emsolation.

‘She very generously squeezed me in on her day off because she’s completely booked out.’

Together they went through the diagnostic process, which involved interviewing Rusciano’s family members and friends, including her podcast co-host Michael Lucas.

‘I got a little email!’ Lucas said. ‘I got a questionnaire.’

Rusciano opened up about her journey to get diagnosed, admitting she was at first rejected by a 'dismissive' male psychiatrist because she did not meet the criteria, but was then able to find a female doctor who was a fan of her podcast to diagnose her

Rusciano opened up about her journey to get diagnosed, admitting she was at first rejected by a ‘dismissive’ male psychiatrist because she did not meet the criteria, but was then able to find a female doctor who was a fan of her podcast to diagnose her

To prove her credibility to naysayers who have questioned her diagnosis and intentions behind publicising it, Rusciano read out her doctor’s assessment on air.

Breaking down in tears, she said she felt like she needed to carry her report around with her at all times ‘to pull out’ if she’s ever questioned again.

She also insisted she had ‘met the criteria in the DSM-5’, referring to the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals.

‘The main thing it said, and this is the conclusion of the report, is “as a result of the assessment report, it was concluded Em does present as an individual with autism spectrum disorder and at a severity level requiring support, level one,”‘ she said.

‘”It is my opinion that Em will likely benefit from psychology where she can be supported to process the diagnosis, as well as any grief that may follow as she reflects on past hurts and misunderstandings from others.”

‘”Em may also benefit from psychological support to manage the common comorbid conditions related to autism, such as anxiety, autistic burnout and depression. Occupational therapy may help with sensory difficulties.’

Through tears, Rusciano said she may not attend the Harry Styles concert in Melbourne after she was mocked for revealing she may need to use the special ‘sensory room’ at Marvel Stadium to cope with it.

‘I don’t want to go to the concert on Friday night, I really don’t,’ she wept.

Rusciano, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021, first suspected she may also be autistic when going through the diagnosis process for her then three-year-old son Elio (right) last year

Rusciano, who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021, first suspected she may also be autistic when going through the diagnosis process for her then three-year-old son Elio (right) last year 

Rusciano's 14-year-old daughter Odette is also diagnosed with ADHD and received her diagnosis just months after her mother did

Rusciano’s 14-year-old daughter Odette is also diagnosed with ADHD and received her diagnosis just months after her mother did

Ever since coming out as having ADHD in 2021, Rusciano has been questioned numerous times by trolls who say she may be doing it as part of a ‘trend’.

‘When I told one particular friend I had ADHD, he responded with, “Oh, God, why does everyone I know suddenly have that?”‘ she said last year. 

She continued, mocking her friend’s voice: ‘”It’s all over Insta and TikTok, I’m so sick of it.” Are you mate?  

‘You know what, yeah, there has been an uptick in late diagnosis of ADHD in women and the AFAB [assigned female at birth] community over the last couple of years.

‘So much, in fact, that many people have referred to it as a fad to my face.’

A few months earlier, she expressed her frustration with ‘neurotypical people’ doubting her conditions in a video posted to Instagram.

Without taking a breath, she ranted about having to ‘over-explain and justify’ her symptoms to people who can never understand what she has been through.

She also took aim at sceptics who claim she is ‘making it up’ or believe she is only saying she has ADHD and autism ‘for attention’. 

Ever since coming out as having ADHD in 2021, Rusciano has been questioned numerous times by trolls who say she may be doing it as part of a 'trend'

Ever since coming out as having ADHD in 2021, Rusciano has been questioned numerous times by trolls who say she may be doing it as part of a ‘trend’ 

Rusciano was formally diagnosed with autism in November, but had already self-diagnosed herself with it months earlier.

Last Saturday, she entered in a war of words with fellow comedian and podcaster Meshel Laurie, after Laurie branded her a ‘c**t’ in a shocking tirade.

Laurie, 49, accused Rusciano of ‘leaping on the bandwagon’ for clout, and has refused to back down despite being called out by thousands on social media.

Laurie targeted the Emsolation host after she claimed she may need to use a ‘sensory room’ when she attends the Harry Styles concert at Marvel Stadium due to her newly diagnosed autism.

The sensory room contains noise-cancelling headphones, weighted blankets, and fidget tools so autistic people or those suffering from severe sensory issues have a safe space to go to.

In a since-deleted Instagram post, Laurie wrote: ‘She blocked me after the last time I called her out, but could Em Rusciano please list the concerts she’s had to leave early, or not attend, because they didn’t provide a sensory inclusion room?’

Rusciano was criticised by comedian Meshel Laurie along with a number of trolls last week after saying she may need to use a 'sensory room' for autistic people at a Harry Styles concert

Rusciano was criticised by comedian Meshel Laurie along with a number of trolls last week after saying she may need to use a ‘sensory room’ for autistic people at a Harry Styles concert

The sensory room contains noise-cancelling headphones, weighted blankets, and fidget tools so autistic people or those suffering from severe sensory issues have a safe space to go to

The sensory room contains noise-cancelling headphones, weighted blankets, and fidget tools so autistic people or those suffering from severe sensory issues have a safe space to go to

Autistic people and those with sensory issues are able to get a 'sensory inclusive bag' at Marvel Stadium which contains noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools and visual cue cards

Autistic people and those with sensory issues are able to get a ‘sensory inclusive bag’ at Marvel Stadium which contains noise-cancelling headphones, fidget tools and visual cue cards

Rusciano was targeted by trolls online who questioned her sudden need for a sensory room. 'I feel a bit broken over this whole thing,' she admitted

Rusciano was targeted by trolls online who questioned her sudden need for a sensory room. ‘I feel a bit broken over this whole thing,’ she admitted

She then went to her own comments section to continue her rant, cussing Rusciano out and falsely accusing her of faking her autism to ‘excuse’ her past poor behaviour in the radio industry.

‘I have a close family member on the spectrum and I don’t appreciate people leaping on the bandwagon for clout and to excuse the appalling behaviour that’s caused their previous poor career outcomes,’ she said.

‘A c**t is just a c**t and will always be a c**t. Many beautiful people are on the autism spectrum and they should never be confused with the kind of people who try to claim the diagnosis retroactively to explain their poor behaviour.’

Laurie then took to Facebook to tell her fans she was ‘tired’ of celebrities making ‘attention-seeking’ posts about having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

‘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**k you, you successful motherf**ker. Obviously you aren’t very far along the spectrum.”‘

‘Our education system only recognised this s**t and learned to deal with it 10 years ago. You’re lying,’ she added.

Last Saturday, Rusciano entered in a war of words with fellow comedian and podcaster Meshel Laurie (pictured) after Laurie branded her a 'c**t' in a shocking tirade

Last Saturday, Rusciano entered in a war of words with fellow comedian and podcaster Meshel Laurie (pictured) after Laurie branded her a ‘c**t’ in a shocking tirade

'Could Em Rusciano please list the concerts she's had to leave early, or not attend because they didn't provide a sensory inclusion room?' asked Laurie

‘Could Em Rusciano please list the concerts she’s had to leave early, or not attend because they didn’t provide a sensory inclusion room?’ asked Laurie

The 49-year-old also branded Rusciano a 'c**t' in a shocking tirade on Instagram

The 49-year-old also branded Rusciano a ‘c**t’ in a shocking tirade on Instagram

Laurie also said that celebrities had started using their neurodivergence for 'clout' and 'renewed social media interest'

Laurie also said that celebrities had started using their neurodivergence for ‘clout’ and ‘renewed social media interest’

Rusciano responded to the rant on several different platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her podcast. 

‘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 explained on Facebook.

‘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?’

Rusciano shot to fame on Australian Idol in 2004, and went on to have a successful career in commercial radio.

She now hosts her own hit podcast Emsolation, which is a Spotify exclusive, and still tours as a comedian and musician.

Rusciano reflected on her disastrous career in commercial radio while discussing her ADHD diagnosis at the National Press Club in August.

In an emotional speech to the Canberra-based association, she said working in breakfast radio brought out the ‘worst’ of her then-undiagnosed ADHD.

‘I know now that a person with rejection sensitivity dysphoria, low self-esteem, time blindness, someone who is very blunt, has a complete inability to regulate her emotions, and is hypersensitive to external stimuli should be nowhere near the breakfast radio environment,’ she said.

‘It brought out the very worst of my undiagnosed ADHD symptoms. It brought out the worst in me as a human,’ she added.

A heartbroken Rusciano addressed her followers after the furore and said that the backlash had 'made her symptoms worse' and left her unable to 'regulate her emotions'

A heartbroken Rusciano addressed her followers after the furore and said that the backlash had ‘made her symptoms worse’ and left her unable to ‘regulate her emotions’ 

In an emotional speech to the National Press Club last year, Em said working in breakfast radio brought out the 'worst' of her then-undiagnosed ADHD

In an emotional speech to the National Press Club last year, Em said working in breakfast radio brought out the ‘worst’ of her then-undiagnosed ADHD

The media personality said the early hours in breakfast radio caused sleep issues, which only made her symptoms worse.

‘I was getting up at 4am each day, having not fallen asleep until at least midnight,’ she admitted.

‘Chronic and accumulative sleep deprivation makes ADHD symptoms much worse.’

Rusciano also revealed she was diagnosed with postnatal depression following the birth of her daughter Odette in 2007.

Odette, now 14, has since been diagnosed with ADHD too, while Rusciano’s son Elio, four, is autistic.

Rusciano also said her stint on breakfast radio left her with ‘some severe PTSD’.

The former Australian Idol star regularly appears as a fill-in host on The Project

The former Australian Idol star regularly appears as a fill-in host on The Project

Em is also a hugely successful singer and comedian and often tours Australia performing live shows for hundreds of fans

Em is also a hugely successful singer and comedian and often tours Australia performing live shows for hundreds of fans 

The performer got her start in radio back in 2005 and later hosted her own weekly show on the Hit Network.

In 2017, she moved to 2Day FM’s breakfast slot, but left after just one year following underwhelming ratings and reports of staff quitting to avoid working with her.

‘I was constantly told I was angry, I needed to be nicer to people, I needed to smile more and my tone was policed,’ she previously said.

‘I was under this microscope the whole time. Meetings would be on a screen and if I didn’t smile the whole time, there would be three emails about what’s going on with Em.’

Rusciano claimed it was an ‘exhausting’ time made worse by having a miscarriage and being told the format of her show would be changing.

Rusciano also said her controversial stint on breakfast radio left her with 'some severe PTSD'

Rusciano also said her controversial stint on breakfast radio left her with ‘some severe PTSD’ 

Before her departure from radio, multiple reports alleged employees had left 2Day FM and others were looking for new jobs due to Em's 'attitude'

Before her departure from radio, multiple reports alleged employees had left 2Day FM and others were looking for new jobs due to Em’s ‘attitude’

She also alleged her colleagues ‘were leaking bulls**t stories about me’ to the press, and felt there was an overall ‘really toxic work environment’ at the Southern Cross Austereo-owned station.

For her part, Rusciano acknowledged her own behaviour at 2Day FM ‘wasn’t great’, but said no one around her was willing to ‘cut me any slack’.

‘I’m still dealing with it all but I feel like I understand it a bit better,’ she concluded.

Before her departure, multiple reports alleged employees had left 2Day FM and others were looking for new jobs due to Rusciano’s ‘attitude’.

‘Things are at breaking point, people just cannot work with her energy. There have been… casualties at the hands of Em Rusciano,’ a source said at the time.

‘The audio producer is now working on another show, the publicist is refusing to work with her, and one of the producers has told the company that they are looking for other work.’ 

Em admitted on Thursday that she may not attend Harry Styles' concert in Melbourne due to the negative attention she'd received from stating that she may need to use the sensory room at the stadium

Em admitted on Thursday that she may not attend Harry Styles’ concert in Melbourne due to the negative attention she’d received from stating that she may need to use the sensory room at the stadium 

Speaking to Wil Anderson’s Wilosophy podcast in April 2020, Rusciano acknowledged many of her peers in the media and entertainment industry ‘violently hate’ her and ‘refuse to work with’ her.

Rusciano confessed that when she’s confronted with stressful situations, she has a tendency to ‘go into fight mode’.

‘Fists are up, and you’re either get in or get out of the way, and my behaviour was pretty appalling in radio,’ she explained.

‘Every time I’ve stepped into radio, my behaviour deteriorates and it’s appalling, and I know that, and that’s why I will never step back into radio, because I hate the person I become.

‘I think a lot of it is my fault, but I also know that that’s not me. Radio Em is not who I am… I’m actually a pretty kind person and a pretty reasonable person most of the time.’

Despite her fears, Em (left) was able to attend the concert with her daughter. Images from the event show the star in a sparkly silver jumpsuit dancing the night away

Despite her fears, Em (left) was able to attend the concert with her daughter. Images from the event show the star in a sparkly silver jumpsuit dancing the night away 



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