'The biggest blessing': Nikki Osborne opens up about raising a son with autism

Photo: Nikki and her sons, Will (left) and Teddy. Instagram / Nikki Osborne
Photo: Nikki and her sons, Will (left) and Teddy. Instagram / Nikki Osborne 

Australian comedian Nikki Osborne has broken down while talking about raising a son with autism. 

The 38-year-old mum-of-two shared her inner thoughts about parenting Teddy on I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here, and the emotional journey from fear to acceptance after his diagnosis at age four.

"It was just really scary at the start," said Osborne through tears. "Being told that your son mightn't speak or interact when they're a baby is quite a shock and it's just the not knowing how they're going to be.

"You are just so terrified what their life's going to be like and we just had no idea."

However, three years after his initial diagnosis, Osborne said seven-year-old Teddy is their "biggest blessing."

"It was hard at the start, but what we thought was going to be the hardest part of our lives turned out to be the biggest blessing."

"He is an angel. He's got a girlfriend, he's ahead in school - he's killing it! And all his therapists just go, 'he is unbelievable'. He's had a remarkable turnaround."

The Brisbane-based performer has an older son Will, now 11, and she also spoke out about the strain Teddy's diagnosis put on the family. 

"We had to put him on hold," she told her fellow teammates. "He just had to grow up quickly and help me. It's a lot to ask. At five, we said 'we're sorry but you have to be an adult'". 

She added: "It's hard work being a mum!"

Fortunately, Osborne had the full support and strength of her husband. 

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"We were so scared," she shares. "And we were talking about it and my husband's sitting there, we've had a cry and he just goes, 'F--- normal'".

It's not the first time Osborne has made headlines about having a son with autism.

Her comedy show 'On The Spectrum' from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2018 created a stir because her stand-up routine reportedly 'made fun' of what it's like to be a parent of an autistic child.

The comedian faced backlash before the show even launched, based on the advertising posters and was even banned from speaking at a disability expo. 

"It took a lot out of me because I got trolled a lot," she told her jungle competitors. "But what was beautiful was a lot of people on the spectrum came, and their carers came... and everyone ended up in tears but we also had a big laugh."

"A lot of people on the spectrum don't feel like people can laugh with them."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I've opened a can of worms with my #MICF show #onthespectrum . Tune into 3AW just after 4 to hear what I have to say.

A post shared by Nikki Osborne (@nikkiosborneofficial) on

In a heartfelt Facebook post at the time, Osborne explained her reasons for doing the show, including to celebrate her son and promote "educated, positive acceptance."

"The other reason I did the show is for the parents of newly diagnosed littlies," she wrote. "To dismiss the feelings and needs of the parents is horribly unfair. Marriages break down. Depression sets in. Isolation. It's all driven by fear of the unknown.

"I know. I've been there. I didn't want counselling. I just wanted hope and to be cheered the f--- up. I needed upbeat stories. I needed optimism. I needed my show 5 years ago."