Northern Ireland news

Republic of Ireland international James McClean reveals autism diagnosis

James McClean posted a picture of himself with his daugther, Willow-Ivy on Instagram along with the announcement of his autism diagnosis
Seamus McKinney

REPUBLIC of Ireland international James McClean has revealed he has been diagnosed with autism.

The Derry man revealed the diagnosis on Instagram after his daughter was also diagnosed with the condition.

McClean (33) said he was prompted to be tested after recognising similarities with his daughter, Willow-Ivy.

The Wigan midfielder came on as a substitute for the Republic in Monday’s Euro qualifier against France which ended in a one-nil defeat.


A post shared by James McClean (@macajw)

He said he debated for a long time before deciding to go public with his autism diagnosis but decided to do so for his daughter to let her know that he understood what autism was.

He said he wanted Willow-Ivy to know that being autistic would never prevent her from achieving her goals and dreams.

In his Instagram post, he said: “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 (his wife) and I learned about autism the more we began to recognise I was very similar to Willow in more ways that 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.”

The National Autistic Society describes autism as “lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world”.

An estimated 700,000 adults and children are autistic in Northern Ireland and Britain.

Northern Ireland news