Daryl Hannah, famous for films like "Splash" and "Blade Runner," as well as her passionate environmental activism
, has revealed to People magazine that she has quietly suffered from autism throughout much of her life.
The 52-year-old says she received the diagnosis as a child, struggling with "debilitating shyness" as a result and hiding her disorder from movie producers. "I’ve never been comfortable being the center of attention," she told People, adding that she would often avoid promotional interviews and talk show appearances. "It’s always freaked me out."
With time, Hannah says it's become easier to manage her symptoms. Dropping away from the Hollywood spotlight and embracing her environmental activism, farm life, a solid relationship, and a rescue pig named Molly have also helped.
“I’ve learned a couple of things that really would’ve made my life easier if I’d known them 20 years ago,” she told People. “I wasted so much time scared, self-conscious and insecure.”
Reaction to Hannah's reveal has been spilt, with some not entirely sold that the actress's shyness is indicative of autism.
"Autism is not the same thing as shyness," writes one commenter on TheStir.com.
"It's truly a neurological disorder that has significant limitations for its sufferers. There are degrees, such as Aspergers, but to say she is autistic sounds more like a misdiagnosis than anything else. There are many co-morbid symptoms of autism, doesn't mean she has autism...and it's not something you can 'hide'."
Other, however, believe that Hannah's symptoms likely fall on the high end of the spectrum, and they offer praise for her decision to reveal her disorder.
"Glad to hear that the behavioral work she has done and must do for her entire life is working for her," writes another commenter on The Daily Mail
. "With appropriate parental education and training, most individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder get better. The sooner treatment can begin, the better."
Hannah's full interview with People hits news stands tomorrow.
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