Comedian Em Rusciano hits out at the ‘gross’ backlash to her autism and ADHD diagnoses: ‘If I wanted attention, I know how to get it’
Comedian and podcast host Em Rusciano has spoken of the ignorant backlash she received when she went public with her ADHD and autism diagnoses.
Trolls labelled the mother of three, 44, an ‘attention seeker’ and accused her of jumping on a bandwagon by saying she is neurodivergent.
Speaking on the KICPOD podcast on Tuesday, Rusciano said the reaction was ‘gross’ and will only ‘discourage’ misdiagnosed and under-diagnosed women from seeking help.
‘The misdiagnosis of women is unforgivable. So many women have been missed,’ she told hosts Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw.
‘So my first reaction was, “Why aren’t you apologising to us and saying let’s fix this?” Rather than going straight to, “Ah, it’s just for attention.”‘
Comedian and podcast host Em Rusciano has spoken of the ignorant backlash she received when she went public with her ADHD and autism diagnoses
She said the sudden uptick in diagnoses for ADHD and autism, particularly among women, was not a trend, but rather a sign of growing awareness.
To call it just a fad would be to ‘minimise lots of pain and lots of heartache for many, many people, and also discourage women who really need help from getting it,’ added Rusciano.
She also remarked that faking such a diagnosis ‘for attention’ was unnecessary because she’s a ‘stand-up comic’ and knows how to seek attention if she wants to.
Trolls labelled the mother of three, 44, an ‘attention seeker’ and accused her of jumping on a bandwagon by saying she is neurodivergent
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.
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.
Speaking on the KICPOD on Tuesday, the podcaster said the backlash was ‘gross’ and will only ‘discourage’ chronically misdiagnosed women from seeking help
‘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 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.
Finally, Rusciano added that faking such a serious diagnosis ‘for attention’ was unnecessary since she’s a ‘stand up comic’ and knows how to seek attention if she wants to