Brendan O’Carroll calls for more autism services after three grandchildren diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome - Mrs Brown's Boys

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Brendan O’Carroll calls for more autism services after three grandchildren diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome

O'CARROLL OPENS HEART Brendan O’Carroll calls for more autism services after three grandchildren diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome



BRENDAN O’Carroll has called for more services for children with autism after revealing three of his grandchildren have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.


The 64-year-old has said he could be autistic himself — and credits his late mother with helping him triumph as a boy with learning difficulties.



Brendan O'Carroll has said he believes he may be on the Autism spectrum but it never held him backCredit: Crispin Rodwell - The Sun Dublin



Brendan told the Irish Sun: “I’m talking about Dyspraxia. You’d wonder why they came up with a name which is so hard to spell for a condition for kids who have difficulties with reading and spelling.

“I’m probably on the spectrum myself but it never held me back as my mother did such a great job encouraging me, growing up.”

Speaking about his daughter Fiona’s three sons, Felix, Ely and Dexter, grandad Brendan said: “I’m so proud of them. They are the most beautiful kids, and the most beautiful grandkids you could get anywhere, but they need particular attention.”

He stressed it had been Fiona’s decision to go public about their diagnosis.

The mother-of-four, who plays Agnes Brown’s daughter-in-law in Mrs Brown’s Boys, is married to Martin Delany who plays Mrs Brown’s son Trevor in the BBC comedy, said she only decided to talk about her three sons’ Asperger’s after discussing it with her youngest son Dexter, four, following his recent diagnosis.

Fiona said: “Felix and Ely both have Asperger’s and my youngest Dexter has just been diagnosed.”

Proud granddad Brendan said it was a matter of pride for him that so many children and adults on the spectrum loved his sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys.

Brendan said: “It started off getting two or three letters from people who told us they had kids on the spectrum who loved Mrs Brown’s Boys.

TRIBUTE TO GAY BYRNE
“That then turned into hundreds of letters and then thousands. Sometimes parents were telling us that they saw their kids with autism laughing for the very first time watching Mrs Brown.

“We were intrigued by this link, and we hooked up with an academic in Trinity College who is doing research on the link between physical comedy and kids on the spectrum. I think these kids love Mrs Brown because it’s a little bit naughty.”


Brendan revealed in an interview how one mother had written to express her gratitude that her son had said his first word when watching Mrs Brown’s Boys

Brendan joked: "It was ‘bastard’.”

The funnyman who returned to Ireland this week to launch the next phase of the Mrs Brown’s Boys FAI Heart Care Programme, also revealed how close pal Gay Byrne had called to video chat days before his death.

Brendan said: “The computer just beeped and there was Gay on Facetime looking for a chat. Looking back now, maybe it was a last goodbye. I miss him so much because right back to the very first time I met Gay, he was always thinking about you and offering advice.”

Gay gave Brendan the biggest break of his career, giving the unknown stand-up a guest slot on the Late Late Show in 1992.

Brendan said: “I can truly say ‘it started on the Late Late Show’. That really kick-started my career. Whenever I thanked Gay when he was alive, he used to say he loved opening the door a crack for people, it’s up to them what they do with that chance.

“But in my case, I kicked the door off its hinges so I’m forever grateful to Gay.”


Proud granddad Brendan said it was a matter of pride for him that so many children and adults on the spectrum loved his sitcom Mrs Brown’s BoysCredit: BBC Handout


Having paid tribute by video from his home in Florida, Brendan said he had been texting Gay’s widow Kathleen and daughters Crona and Suzy, and said he hoped to pay personal condolences to them while he’s home in Dublin this week.

Brendan will also be working with St Vincent De Paul on the Mrs Brown Christmas dinners which will benefit over 2,000 needy families in Dublin this December 25.

Brendan said: “Each one is a dinner for six. It comes on a credit card they can use in Dunnes Stores so they get to have the whole shopping experience as well.”



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