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X Factor winner Sam Bailey on son’s autism diagnosis

X Factor winner Sam Bailey has admitted she feels ‘sick to her stomach’ that she didn’t pick up the signs of her son’s autism sooner. 

The singer, 43, who won the tenth series of reality show in 2013, learned of her son Tommy’s condition in July, after noticing signs in his behaviour around four years ago, such as a disliking of certain songs and loud noises. 

Mother-of-three Sam appeared on Loose Women today where she told how ’emotional’ it makes her to think of her son’s delayed diagnosis, and that he’s struggled with bullying and ‘feeling different’ at school.  

She explained that her son, who also has dyspraxia, would take longer to undergo tasks like tying his shoelaces, and struggled to ride a bike – but he would be ‘almost punished’ by his parents, who were unaware of the signs. 

X Factor winner Sam Bailey, pictured on the tenth series of reality show in 2013, admitted she feels ‘sick to her stomach’ that she didn’t pick up the signs of her son’s autism sooner

Mother-of-three Sam appeared on Loose Women today where she told how 'emotional' it makes her to think of her son's delayed diagnosis

Mother-of-three Sam appeared on Loose Women today where she told how ’emotional’ it makes her to think of her son’s delayed diagnosis

‘It makes me feel sick to my stomach and it makes me emotional,’ said Sam. ‘I feel so guilty I didn’t pick up on it sooner. 

‘He’s had a really bad time at school with bullying and feeling a little bit different to everyone else and to this day I just wish I’d known. ‘ 

Sam admitted the diagnosis has been an ‘eye-opener’ and that some of her son’s behaviour started to make sense after discovering his autism.  

‘I probably say about four years ago’, said Sam, ‘Tommy has always been a really emotional kid he’s always had a naivety about him. 

Sam admitted the diagnosis has been an 'eye opener' and that some of her son's behaviour started to make sense after discovering his autism

Sam admitted the diagnosis has been an ‘eye opener’ and that some of her son’s behaviour started to make sense after discovering his autism

Explaining the signs of autism she missed to the Loose Women hosts, she told that her son had 'always' had issues with food and would 'stick his fingers in his ears' if there was a song he didn't like

Explaining the signs of autism she missed to the Loose Women hosts, she told that her son had ‘always’ had issues with food and would ‘stick his fingers in his ears’ if there was a song he didn’t like

Explaining the signs of autism she missed, she told that her son had ‘always’ had issues with food, and didn’t like different food touching on his plate, and that he would ‘stick his fingers in his ears’ if there was a song he didn’t like.  

She went on: ‘He really has an issue with loud music, loud noises, he didn’t like hand dryers, it feels like someone has taken the blinkers off. 

‘It’s like I have a new child, it’s been an eye-opener.’ 

The singer decided to get an autism assessment privately becausethe NHS waiting list was too long, with a friend still waiting for a result 12 months after being assessed. 

Since his diagnosis, Sam, who has been married to husband Craig Pearson since 2003, has noticed a 'massive difference' in her son

Since his diagnosis, Sam, who has been married to husband Craig Pearson since 2003, has noticed a ‘massive difference’ in her son

In order to fund the assessment, Sam did online gigs where she had a ‘virtual tip jar’ where viewers could donate money, though she never told them it was in order to fund her son’s private diagnosis, which she was determined to secure before he started secondary school in September.  

‘I knew I wanted answers, I wanted him to have the best experience,’ she explained. 

‘I didn’t tell anyone and I did a live every week and wasn’t telling anyone the money I was getting was paying for my son’s assessment. 

‘Two weeks before schools broke up in July I got it and it cost a lot of money, but I worked my absolute bum off doing it so I could get what my son deserved. ‘ 

Sam, pictured on the show in 2018, added: 'How he got through school I don't know, i'm so proud of him. If you see signs like that go ahead, [get an assessment]

Sam, pictured on the show in 2018, added: ‘How he got through school I don’t know, i’m so proud of him. If you see signs like that go ahead, [get an assessment] 

Since his diagnosis, Sam, who has been married to husband Craig Pearson since 2003, has noticed a ‘massive difference’ in both her son and the way she deals with certain behaviours of his. 

‘It’s made a massive difference already, she said, ‘My daughter said “Mummy I want to have autism” and I said “Why?”. 

‘She said: “Because you don’t get told off”. She has noticed we have started to deal with Tommy in a different way.’ 

Sam added: ‘How he got through school I don’t know, I’m so proud of him. If you see signs like that go ahead, [get an assessment]. i’m so proud of him, I cry a lot i’m a big cryer.’ 


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