In the latest episode of our podcast series “AUTISM: IN CONVERSATION WITH AUTICON” Carrie Grant reveals she was diagnosed as autistic earlier this year …
Award-winning broadcaster, vocal coach, leadership coach, author and campaigner, Carrie Grant MBE, has revealed she has recently been diagnosed as autistic.
Carrie, who is a mother of four neurodivergent children, three of whom are autistic, made the revelation during a special episode of ‘Autism: In conversation with auticon’, a podcast usually hosted by the star.
Speaking exclusively during the podcast, which is dedicated to promoting inclusivity in the workplace for neurodivergent talent (e.g. people who are autistic, have ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia etc.), Carrie explained how her diagnosis came about. She said:
“I’ve been involved in the autism world for probably about 15 or so years now. One of the things I’ve loved is an affinity with that community. I thought that affinity was because of my (neurodivergent) children and my heart – I have a very empathetic heart. I’ve always connected with people that are different, throughout my life, even before I had children. These are the people that I’ve always felt were ‘my people’. Throughout the last few years, there have been so many autistic people who have said to me, ‘Carrie, when are you going to go and get an assessment?’ And in January of this year, I was diagnosed as autistic.
I felt like it just came at the right time in my life. I think that for many people they feel like it didn’t come at the right time, and they wish they’d known sooner. But for me, I have known for a long while that I’ve got (autistic) traits.”
“We’ve had the privilege of working with Carrie for four series of the ‘Autism: In conversation with auticon’ podcast and her insights have always been invaluable. We are incredibly honoured that Carrie has chosen our podcast to announce her autism diagnosis – we know that the more we do to speak out about autism and debunk some of the many myths and misconceptions that surround the condition, the more positive change we will continue to see to help the autism community to thrive.”
When asked about her feelings towards the future, as a newly diagnosed autistic woman, Carrie disclosed that she is optimistic that positive change will come. She concluded,
Throughout the interview, Carrie reflected on how her varied and successful career may have been helped as a result of her neurodivergence, as it has helped her ‘think out of the box’. She also stressed that, as an autistic woman, she challenges many of the stereotypes often associated with the condition, such as autistic people not wanting to enjoy new experiences, or being able to work in the creative industries.
She also credited her husband and work partner, David Grant, as being integral to her success. She added, “We are a couple that were either going to destroy one another or really succeed together. Fortunately, it’s been the latter. He’s very disorganised, but very laid back. I am incredibly organised but incredibly intense. So he balances me out.”
Carrie discussed how looking back, she feels trauma in her childhood may have played a part in her autism going undiagnosed for such a long time. During Carrie’s autism assessment, she discussed her experiences growing up. She said, “I think there were things back then I didn’t fully understand, like friendships – I was bullied as a child…this comes up a lot if you’ve got trauma in your childhood. My Dad left when I was seven and then my mum had a series of boyfriends, one of whom was incredibly violent – there was all kinds of abuse. Because of that, when you go to school as a child you don’t feel like you belong anyway. So when you don’t fit in, is that autism or is that trauma? Once I was diagnosed as autistic, I could begin to review and revisit those periods in my life and feel compassion for that child, to the point of saying ‘You know, cut yourself some slack, you actually did really well.’”
Carrie spoke about her decision to use the auticon podcast to share her announcement. She said, “I cannot think of a better group to do this kind of interview with than you guys, because what you are doing is not just life-changing for autistic people (and) therefore life-changing for their families, but actually you are system-changing. And when you get to system changing, that’s when you’re talking about legacy.”
auticon is an autistic-majority social enterprise. It tackles inequalities in employment for neurodivergent adults by employing autistic IT consultants and placing them into specialist roles within high profile companies. auticon also provides extensive neuroinclusion services, including advisory, coaching and training for its clients and any businesses wishing to become more inclusive workplace environments.
Steve Hill, Commercial Director at auticon UK, interviewed Carrie for the special edition of the podcast. He said,
“We need to change the way we think because when we change the way we think, suddenly the world becomes a different place – and then there’s potential for change. I always hold out for change…People of any age can make extraordinary changes. Bit by bit we’re chipping away, whether that’s with a podcast, or a book, or by knowing someone who’s autistic, bit by bit, we’re chipping away at those stereotypes, chipping away at the judgment and, hopefully, we won’t need to have these conversations in 20 years because everyone will just get it.”
Carrie is one of many women in the public eye to have received an autism diagnosis later in life, such as singer Sia, TV presenter Melanie Sykes, comedian Fern Brady, Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle, presenter and TV personality Christine McGuinness and ‘Chaser’ on ITV1’s The Chase, Anne Hegerty (who has been interviewed by Carrie on a previous episode of ‘Autism: In conversation with auticon’).
You can hear the full interview with Carrie ‘Autism: In conversation with auticon’ wherever you get your podcasts and see the video recording on our YouTube channel: