The TV presenter, whose 17-year-old son Tino has the same condition, was “very happy” to discover she had autism, which affects the way people communicate and interact.
She told Hello! magazine: “It’s fantastic, that’s why I’m celebrating it.
“I’ve always felt different to other people and how they think and operate, but now I know it’s because I’m autistic it makes me feel validated as I understand why.
“I’m relieved. It’s great to know and I’m very happy about it.
“Now I know what all my sensitivities are about.
“During lockdown I enjoyed not having to go out and socialise, to brave corporate events, shake hands and be pulled in for a kiss by complete strangers.
“I’ve always been uncomfortable in crowds or being touched by people I don’t know.
“My sensitivities are now completely validated because I’m autistic.”
Sykes, 51, has been welcomed into the autistic community with messages from mothers of children on the spectrum and adults diagnosed late in life.
“They’re so happy I’m talking about it, normalising it.
“Some people who were too embarrassed to tell anyone now feel they can.
“It makes me extremely happy to know I’ve helped,” she said.
The broadcaster is now determined to remove the stigma associated with autism.
She added: “There’s nothing wrong with autistic people; we just think and access the world differently, and people who aren’t on the spectrum need to understand that.
“Autism shouldn’t be referred to as a ‘disorder’ as this implies the way an autistic mind works is faulty.
“The brain isn’t broken, it just thinks differently to a neuro-typical person.”
The full article is in this week’s Hello! magazine.