Sia Reveals Autism Diagnosis

Australian singer, Sia, has revealed that she was diagnosed with autism. The news came two years after she was widely criticized for depicting a movie character with the condition.

Speaking to a Rob Has a Podcast, Sia Furler, 47, said she was on the spectrum and in recovery from substance abuse. While she did not reveal the exact diagnosis, Sia talked about the relief of receiving it.

"For 45 years, I was like, 'I’ve got to go put my human suit on,' and only in the last two years have I become fully, fully myself," she says.

In 2021, Sia came under fire for casting the autistic dancer Maddie Ziegler in a musical drama, Music. The singer then apologized for the depiction, specifically for scenes of the restraint of the autistic character. Sia said that she tried working with a girl who was non-verbal on the spectrum, and the girl found it "unpleasant and stressful." That was the reason why she cast Maddie.

Critics called for movies to show realistic experiences and challenges autistic people face and include actors who are actually on the spectrum.

Being on the spectrum refers to developmental challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), also known as autism.

ASD includes Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, both of which are lifelong conditions that may impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism experience differs from person to person and varies in degree.

Although ASD can sometimes be detected as early as 18 months of age, many children don't receive a final diagnosis until much older. Some people, like Sia, can be diagnosed as adults. An estimated 2.21% of people 18 years and older in the United States have autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the signs and symptoms of ASD may include:

  • Making little or inconsistent eye contact.
  • Appearing not to look at or listen to people who are talking.
  • Having difficulties in maintaining conversations.
  • Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond.
  • Having trouble understanding another person’s point of view or actions.
  • Experiencing difficulties adjusting behaviors to social situations and making friends.
  • Repeating certain behaviors.
  • Having a lasting intense interest in specific topics.
  • Being more sensitive or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, sound, clothing, or temperature.

Autism signs in adults can overlap with symptoms of other mental health disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety disorder. However, receiving the diagnosis may help a person understand past challenges, identify personal strengths, and find help.


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