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Em Rusciano On Neurodiversity And Her Own Diagnoses

Former breakfast radio host, singer, and award-winning author Em Rusciano is very public about her ADHD and autism diagnoses.

Last year Em addressed the National Press Club, in Canberra, speaking about her diagnoses and calling for policy reform. 


In this chat with Jamila Rizvi, Em speaks about neurodiversity and the diagnoses that changed her life. 

Em acknowledges how hard it for neurodivergent people to become public about their diagnoses, naming stigma around the conditions as the main cause.

For her though, the stigma and potential for any negative reaction to come from her diagnoses was something that “didn’t bother” her – and she hopes a time comes where other neurodivergent people feel the same way.

“There are some people that I know that don’t want that aspect of them being judged, or it clouding the art of their craft or whatever the thing that they’re doing.

“And also, why would anyone want to talk about it now after seeing what happens to me every time, I open my mouth and whenever I get attacked, initially, my feelings are hurt.  And then the second thing that slams me is, Oh God, this is going to discourage any other person have no right to talk about it.

“Every time I speak about it [diagnoses], is a shitty Daily Mail article or another commentator has an opinion on how I’m just doing it for attention. And it takes a lot out of me and it’s hard for me to get back up again and do it,” Em says.

“I’m not doing it for attention. Why would I want this kind of attention? Every time I talk about it inevitably, it ends up in a space of what a shame because I do not represent everyone’s preconceived notion of an autistic person.

“I do not because all we see is Dustin Hoffman’s Rainman, and so that’s why it’s important that I am out there because I’m redefining people’s expectations of an autistic person.”

Em joins The Weekend Briefing as the first guest on the show’s On Topic series, a special series where Jamila talks to some of her favourite guests – old and new – about a single fascinating subject.

Over the next two months, you’ll hear from singers, writers, models, actors, and change makers on topics as diverse as power and influence, mindset and money, bodies, and brains.