Funnyman Rory, who has more than a million followers, said there is a possibility that he is on the autism spectrum.
The dad-of-three young children from Ashbourne, Co Meath, has previously spoken about being dyslexic and suffering from ADHD, and he regularly gives talks in schools about his struggles in life.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday World, Rory says: “I’m actually currently smack-bang in the middle of being assessed by a professional for ADHD and potential autistic spectrum.
“I always knew there was something in there different. Like a lot of my generation, it’s only now we are analysing our school days and going, ‘It wasn’t that I was a little boll**ks at school. It was the way you were wired’. It’s only now this is coming to the forefront.
“My son is being assessed as well because I just felt it’s my responsibility not just for me, but for being a parent to learn more about this. So we are both being assessed at the minute.
“The more you look into the likes of ADHD the more it’s just fascinating. It’s something that now really has my attention. When the doctor is explaining to you certain scenarios it’s good, but it also makes me kind of sad because you’re thinking back to yourself in your younger days where it wasn’t your fault.
“You weren’t wired to take in information. The way the education system is, when you were labelled as lazy you weren’t lazy, it’s just that’s the way you are.
“So many people go off track because of it. There was a study done that one in every four prisoners in the UK had ADHD undiagnosed, or diagnosed now.
“If the impulsive behaviour that is associated with ADHD is put down a negative road, you are only going one direction…addiction or jail. So many young people end up on the wrong road because they were misunderstood as a result of being undiagnosed back in the ’80s and ’90s.”
The 35-year-old entertainer goes on: “It was mainly primary school that wasn’t a great experience for me. I remember spending a lot of time facing the wall and a lot of time kicked out of class and in the hall, spending a lot of time by myself as a 10 and 11-year-old.
“I think that’s a crucial age where self-belief is growing and if you’re being told a number of times you’re good for nothing, you’re stupid, you’re a blackguard, you’re bold, you tend to believe that.
“Back then, 25 years ago in primary school, I was a round peg in a square hole. Even when I tried to read correctly or to spell it just wasn’t happening. Then there’s that stigma of not wanting people in the class to think you’re stupid by asking the teacher would she mind saying that again.
“It was just easier to think, ‘well, if I throw a crayon across the class here at Philip the teacher will kick me out and no one will know that I’m stupid.’ That’s what goes through your head when you are that age.
“My school journal is just full of ‘easily distracted, distracts others’…and that’s a common trait of ADHD. But back then we weren’t ahead enough at the time to understand that. It was just ‘you’re bold’. And I knew deep down that I wasn’t bold. I was a hyper chap, but I knew I wasn’t a bad egg. It’s only now when I’m learning more about the condition that everything is starting to make a bit more sense.
“I’m lucky that I came out the other side because there are a lot of lads that are maybe strung out on drugs, or are in jail, that just didn’t get that opportunity to turn their life around. I do believe it all comes back to the education system.”
Rory, who has published three bestselling books about his life and his take on comedy, points out: “My belief with the ADHD is that if you put your impulsive behaviour into something that you’re passionate about you can achieve anything. I look no further than having a fourth book coming out this autumn. I can’t spell and I’m going to be a fourth-time bestselling author, and that to me is the real highlight of what people like me can achieve when we put our mind to something.
“ADHD people are generally very creative when they are put on the right platform. Me writing all those books is certainly a good example, and an example I’m always proud to share with young people. Every time I do a talk in a classroom I know that there’s at least one Rory sitting there going, ‘Wow! what he’s saying is describing me. I’m not a freak.’”
RORY O’Connor is set to perform a September and October tour of Irish theatres. For dates go to: rorysstories.ie