02/02/2012 10:53 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Melanie Sykes Reveals Seven-Year-Old Son Valentino Is Autistic

Melanie Sykes says son has autism PA

Melanie Sykes has revealed her seven-year-old son Valentino has autism.

The TV presenter and former model said Valentino was an 'amazing little boy', and that she had known about his condition for five years. She said she had always felt his autism was 'his business', but as he is about to be 'officially diagnosed' she and her family decided it was time to go public.

She said: "I have never said anything publicly. I have known for five years that he has autism. But I felt it is his business. The thing is he is seven and is about to be officially diagnosed with it - and my family all think it is time.

"He is an amazing little boy and he has changed my life. I want everybody to know that if you have a diagnosis of autism today, there is so much you can do with your child. It is miraculous."

Melanie made her announcement whilst filming a celeb episode of the ITV game show The Cube. She was appearing to raise money for the charity International Pre-Autistic Network (IPAN) although she said she had not told the charity she was competing for them in case she went home with nothing!

She said: "IPAN is a charity that looks after autistic children and they believe you can see signs of autism very early on from birth. They believe they can eradicate those behaviours if you can get it early enough.

"Valentino has been through this therapy and treatment. Within a two-and-a-half-week intensive course with a clinic his speech came back very rapidly. It is very expensive so the charity raises money for people who cannot afford to put their children through the therapy."

Melanie ended up netting an amazing £50,000 for the cause.