'He is an amazing little boy and he has changed my life': TV presenter Melanie Sykes reveals her son is autistic
Model-turned-TV-presenter Melanie Sykes has revealed for the first time that her son suffers from autism.
Seven-year-old Valentino, started displaying symptoms of the condition aged two and has since undergone extensive treatment.
He has encountered problems with his speech, requiring the help of a specialist, and is now awaiting an official diagnosis from doctors.
Melanie Sykes has revealed that her son suffers from autism
Mel, 41, who came to prominence on the Boddingtons beer commercials the mid 1990s, is now trying to raise awareness of autism.
Despite having to provide extra care for Valentino, while bringing up her other son Roman, she describes him as an 'amazing little boy' who has changed her life for the better.
'I have never said anything publicly. I have known for five years that he has autism.
'But I felt it is his business. The
thing is he is seven and is about to be officially diagnosed with it —
and my family all think it is time.
'He is an amazing little boy
and he has changed my life.
'I want everybody to know that if you have a
diagnosis of autism today, there is so much you can do with your child.
It is miraculous,' she told the Sun.
Mel gave birth to son Roman in 2002 and Valentino two years later
Autism usually starts in childhood and persists throughout adulthood.
Many with the disorder have significant problems with language, social interaction and behaviour.
Mel decided to reveal her son's condition while
filming a celebrity version of ITV1's hit gameshow The Cube, presented by Phillip Schofield.
Although the scenes are yet to be broadcast, the mother-of-two managed to win 50,000.
The cash prize will be donated to the International Pre-Autistic Network
(IPAN), to help provide care to other suffering from autism.
AUTISM: THE FACTS
Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) are a range of related developmental disorders that begin in childhood and persist throughout adulthood.
They include both autism and Asperger syndrome.
Children with autistic disorder usually have significant problems with language, social interaction and behaviour.
Many children with autistic disorder will also have learning difficulties and below-average intelligence.
In England it is estimated that 1 in every 100 children has an ASD.
The outlook for children with ASD usually depends on how severe their symptoms and currently there is no cure.
She added: 'IPAN is a charity that
looks after autistic children and they believe you can see signs of
autism very early on from birth. They believe they can eradicate those
behaviours if you can get it early enough.
'Valentino has been through this
therapy and treatment. Within a two-and-a-half-week intensive course
with a clinic his speech came back very rapidly.
'It is very expensive so
the charity raises money for people who cannot afford to put their
children through the therapy.'
Mel, once dated Bros singer Matt
Goss and actor Max Beesley, and married Italian actor Daniel Caltagirone in
She gave birth to son Roman in 2002 and Valentino two years later but her marriage came to an end after eight years.
Mel,is now dating personal trainer Craig Eleftheriou who is 13 years her junior.
She said: 'He makes me laugh like hell. I mean, honestly, howl laughing — and we just have a really, really good time together. He's just fab.'
In England it is estimated that 1 in every 100 children has an autistic spectrum disorders
Boys are three to four times more likely to develop an ASD than girls and there is currently no cure.