entertainment

Prison Break star Wentworth Miller shares autism diagnosis: 'It was a shock but not a surprise'

"This isn't something I'd change... being autistic is central to who I am", says the 49-year-old actor.

2021-07-29

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Attitude

Wentworth Miller has opened up for the first time about his journey with autism.

The Prison Break actor says he received an "informal autism diagnosis" almost a year ago, which was "preceded by a self-diagnosis" and "followed by a formal diagnosis."

As per the National Autistic Society, autism is a 'lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.'

According to the organisation, one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum.

"I don't want to run the risk of suddenly being a loud, ill-informed voice in the room"

In an extended Instagram caption illustrated with a white square, 49-year-old Wentworth explained: "Like everyone, life in quarantine took things from me. But in the quiet/isolation, I found unexpected gifts.

"This fall marks 1 year since I received my informal autism diagnosis. Preceded by a self-diagnosis. Followed by a formal diagnosis."

The former Attitude cover star, who is gay, continued: "It was a long, flawed process in need of updating. IMO. I'm a middle-aged man. Not a 5-year-old. And (it's a "both/and") I recognize access to a diagnosis is a privilege many do not enjoy. Let's just say it was a shock. But not a surprise.

"There is a now-familiar cultural narrative (in which I've participated) that goes, 'Public figure shares A, B and C publicly, dedicates platform to D, E and F.' Good for them. /srs [sic].

 
 
 
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A post shared by Wentworth Miller (@wentworthmiller)

The Stoker screenwriter then said: "And (it's a "both/and") that's not necessarily what's going to happen here. I don't know enough about autism. (There's a lot to know.) Right now my work looks like evolving my understanding. Re-examining 5 decades of lived experience thru a new lens. That will take time.

"Meanwhile, I don't want to run the risk of suddenly being a loud, ill-informed voice in the room. The #autistic community (this I do know) has historically been talked over. Spoken for. I don't wish to do additional harm. Only to raise my hand, say, 'I am here. Have been (w/o realizing it).'

"If anyone's interested in delving deeper into #autism + #neurodiversity, I'll point you toward the numerous individuals sharing thoughtful + inspiring content on Instagram, TikTok... Unpacking terminology. Adding nuance. Fighting stigma.

Photography: Magnus Hastings

"These creators (some quite young) speak to the relevant issues more knowledgeably/fluently than I can. (They've been schooling me as well.) That's the extent of what I'm inclined to share atm.

"Oh - this isn't something I'd change. No. I get - got - immediately being autistic is central to who I am. To everything I've achieved/articulated.

"Oh - I also want to say to the many (many) people who consciously or unconsciously gave me that extra bit of grace + space over the years, allowed me to move thru the world in a way that made sense to me whether or not it made sense to them... thank you.

"And to those who made a different choice... well. People will reveal themselves."

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