Published: 10/03/2016 Tags: Ehlers-Danlos in the News

Adele Made Dreams Come True for This 12-Year-Old Girl with Autism and EDS

Twelve-year-old Emily Tammam had a whirlwind of a night when Adele called her onstage to duet “Someone Like You” at her March 8 show in Manchester. She invited Emily onstage after seeing her holding a sign that said “It is my dream to sing with Adele.” Emily not only absolutely crushed it, with total support from Adele and the crowd, but managed to turn her superstar moment into a worthwhile PSA: Emily has autism, ADHD, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) type three, which put her in a wheelchair two years ago.

“She sings every day of her life,” Emily’s dad, Ray, told The Mirror. “She has a constant struggle with social situations, but amazingly she manages to sing in public. She has a different persona when she is on stage.”

EDS is a condition where a genetic defect in connective tissue, which provides support to many body parts like the skin, muscles, and ligaments, causes symptoms like stretchy skin and overly flexible joints. The condition causes complications with joints and skin, such as dysautonomia, a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiration, digestion, and other vital functions. The dysfunction can lead to wheelchair use like Emily’s.

EDS can lead to a lot of emotional distress, and combining that with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) makes Emily the definition of inspiring. Autism is characterized by varying degrees of difficulty with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. And ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

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