“I’m on the spectrum and I’m in recovery. There’s a lot of things,” Sia told Survivor contestant Carolyn Wiger during the podcast. “Being in recovery and also knowing about which neuroatypicality you may have or may not have, I think one of the greatest things is nobody can ever know you and love you when you’re filled with secrets and living in shame.”
She added, “For 45 years I was like, ‘I’ve got to go put my human suit on.’ Only in the last two years have I become fully, fully myself.”
Back in 2020, Sia came under fire from the autism community for casting a neurotypical actress, Maddie Ziegler, to portray an autistic teenager in her directorial film debut Music. “Grrrrrrrrrr. F–kity f–k why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY,” the singer tweeted after dropping a teaser that introduced Ziegler’s non-verbal character, who communicates to the world through song and dance.
For example, Irish actress Bronagh Waugh tweeted, “Hi Sia, can I ask why you didn’t cast a disabled actor for this part? It’s pretty offensive the way you’ve chosen to portray this character. People with disabilities are not broken and don’t need fixing.” Sia responded, “I agree. I’ve never referred to music as disabled. Special abilities is what I’ve always said, and casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community.”
Sia wrote the script and 10 original songs for the accompanying album and told commenters that she spent three years doing research, revealing that Music is based on an unnamed friend on the spectrum who “found it too stressful being non verbal, and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother.” She also said there are 13 people on the spectrum cast in the film and that two people on the spectrum were advising her at all times, calling the movie a “love letter to caregivers and to the autism community.”
Watch Sia reveal her autism spectrum diagnosis below.