Sam Bailey: X Factor star apologises to son after autism diagnosis ‘Hard pill to swallow’

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X Factor star Sam Bailey has expressed her guilt following her 11-year-old son Tommy being diagnosed with autism. For years, the performer had noticed signs that her son had some difficulties and it was this summer she learnt he was autistic.

The 43-year-old has since offered an apology to Tommy as she spoke candidly about his health.

Sam – who is also mum to Brooke, 15 and Miley, six – admitted the diagnosis was a huge relief.

The 2013 winner admitted she often “kicks herself” for not being aware of his autism during his younger years at primary school.

Sam explained: “It’s a hard pill to swallow. I’ve apologised to him so much.

“And I feel so, so bad about it. I want to make up for it as much as I can.”

She continued: “Children never forget. And Tommy will never forget the struggle he had for six years where it went undiagnosed.

“He’ll always look back on his primary school years and it won’t be a happy place to think about.

“But it would have been if I had a diagnosis in place. Things would have been so much easier.”

Autism affects people differently but symptoms can include difficulty to communicate with others, taking longer to understand information and people can become anxious in unfamiliar surroundings, according to the NHS.

Tommy has also been diagnosed with dyspraxia, a neurological disorder that impacts an individual’s ability to plan and process their motor skills.

People with this condition often have difficulties with organising and planning.

Sam revealed that one of her son’s symptoms is his inability to complete tasks, such as tying his shoelaces.

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“That’s where I kicked myself that I didn’t pick up on it sooner,” Sam commented.

“I feel incredibly guilty and that is something that I’ll have for a very long time.”

She added: “Even with dyspraxia he struggles to do his laces properly.”

The ex-prisoner officer decided to go to a private healthcare specialist and later got the diagnosis that Tom was autistic.

Sam believes that if other parents are able to spot the signs sooner then children will be able to reap the benefits of an earlier diagnosis.

“I feel with autism my blinkers have been taken off,” she explained.

“I feel like I’ve learnt so much and I can spot signs.”

Sam explained that she wants to raise awareness of autism to benefit future children.

She said: “I just want to raise awareness so that parents have an idea of the symptoms and when they flag up can be seen by any parent.”

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