Holly Madison Diagnosed With High Executive Functioning Autism


Holly Madison Diagnosed With High-Executive Functioning Autism: 'Been Suspicious of It for a While'

Holly Madison
Denise Truscello/WireImage

Holly Madison recently learned that she is on the autism spectrum.

“I’ve been suspicious of it for a while because my mom told me that she was always suspicious that that was a thing,” Madison, 43, revealed during the Friday, December 8, episode of the “Talking to Death” podcast, noting that she frequently zoned out as a kid and “had trouble” with recognizing social cues.

The Girls Next Door alum added, “I just made excuses for it. I thought it was because I grew up in Alaska, and then around middle school, moved to Oregon and I thought, ‘Well that was just a big social change.’ So I’m just very introverted. Like, that’s kind of always how I wrote it off.”

Madison told podcast host Payne Lindsey that she was officially diagnosed earlier this year.

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“The doctors told me that I have high-executive functioning, which pretty much means that I can go about my life and do things ‘normally,’” she added on Friday. “I think because I’m more quiet, I’ve only recently learned to make eye contact [and] I’m often off in my own thoughts, so people take that as offensive. … I’m just not on the same social wavelength as other people, but don’t take it personally.”

Madison also struggles to know when people are done speaking, leading her to unintentionally interrupt them. “That tends to piss people off,” she said. “I’m learning [to improve].”

Holly Madison Diagnosed With High-Executive Functioning Autism: 'Been Suspicious of It for a While'

Holly Madison
Denise Truscello/WireImage

The former Playboy model has noticed that “throughout [her] life,” many individuals have disliked her after she “rubbed [them] the wrong way” over her behaviors. “They think I’m, like, stuck up or snobby or think I’m better than everybody else,” she explained. “I also don’t really have a gauge for when other people are done speaking, so I tend to interrupt a lot, which pisses people off.”

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Madison recalled that she was “never making eye contact” around others before, which is something she’s since had to work on.

“I can apologize to people if I interrupt or talk over them and tell them why,” she noted, adding that she wants to make sure individuals understand her diagnosis. “I have a little bit more patience now, and I don’t take things as personally.”

Madison concluded her podcast appearance with some simple advice about dealing with someone neurodivergent.

“Everyone operates differently and maybe I think interacting with anybody, just have a little bit of patience because you don’t know what they’re dealing with or what their level of social function is, you know?” she said.



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