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James McClean reveals he has been diagnosed with autism in heartwarming social media post

James McClean reveals he has been diagnosed with autism in heartwarming social media post

Republic of Ireland international James McClean has opened up about his autism diagnosis.

Republic of Ireland international James McClean has opened up on his recent Autism diagnosis during World Autism Acceptance Week.

The 33-year-old winger, who plays for Championship side Wigan Athletic, decided to undergo an autistic spectrum disorder assessment after recognising traits he shared with his daughter.

He recently received a formal diagnosis and, after debating whether to go public, he decided to support Willow-Ivy by sharing the news on Instagram.

McClean says he wanted to let his daughter know that being autistic should never stop her from reaching her goals and dreams.

He wrote: “As you all know, my daughter Willow-Ivy is autistic. The last four years have been life-changing in the most amazing way, but also very difficult at times as her daddy watching her overcome so many obstacles in her life and learning how to manage the challenges she faces on a daily basis.

“The more Erin and I learned about autism, the more we began to recognise I was very similar to Willow in more ways than we thought. I see so many small traits in her that I see in myself, so I decided to go and get an ASD assessment.

“It’s been a bit of a journey and now having a diagnosis I feel it’s time to share it, for the week that’s in it. I have debated for a while going public in sharing this as I’ve done this for Willow-Ivy, to let her know that I understand and that being autistic won’t and should never hold her back from reaching her goals and dreams. Daddy’s girl.”

Back in 2020, McClean opened up on his daughter's autism diagnosis, as well as the lessons it has taught him as a parent.

"It's a real eye-opener in many ways," he told The Independent in 2020. "People who were ignorant in the past probably don't understand but that doesn't excuse them now.

"When you see a screaming kid on a plane or in a shopping centre, the natural instinct is to try to shut it down and get angry and tell them to stop.

"But now we know what people might be dealing with and it makes you more empathetic. It ensures you don't judge people when you're out and about, if someone is struggling with a child or even an adult.

"You can't react until you see the whole picture. If you cannot see a disability, it doesn't mean there isn't one there.

"Willow loves her day-to-day life. She's always happy.

"She's very happy. Just because she doesn't have the level of understanding of the other two siblings, it doesn't mean she's any less joyous in herself. She enjoys a great life and we love her. She's not treated any differently."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Instagram - macajw

Topics: Wigan Athletic, Republic of Ireland, EFL Championship