As the nation buckles down for their nightly routine of I’m a Celebrity for the next few weeks, one contestant has already had praise heaped on.
Anne Hegerty, the brainy lady from The Chase, has Asperger’s a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.
Fans praised the contestant for opening up about her condition with fellow campmate and former EastEnders actress Rita Simons.
“I didn’t raise the autism issue. It’s not like: ‘I want you to know I have this interesting disability that you have to accommodate’,” Anne explained.
“If someone else raises it then I make it quite clear that I’m happy to talk about it.”
Very big thank you to the @imacelebrity production team for sharing the footage of @anne_hegerty explaining #autism to the nation in tonight’s episode. Even if it did break our website 🤷🏽♀️ #ImACeleb
When it’s calmed down again, you can find us at https://t.co/OVOA82wyQv 🦜🕷
— National Autistic Society (@Autism) November 19, 2018
Following the show, Kate Jarvis shared a letter, penned by her 11-year-old son who has Autism that thanked Anne for talking about the condition.
— Kate Jarvis (@apparentlymad) November 19, 2018
The letter was even picked up by last year’s winner, Georgia Toffolo.
— Georgia Toffolo (@ToffTalks) November 19, 2018
On Sunday’s launch show Anne was upset and told her fellow celebrity contestants: “I’m just really, really close to saying I can’t do this.”
In footage filmed before entering the jungle she said: “I’ve had to learn a lot about what I can and can’t do and what I can and can’t cope with.”
Not at all surprised at how confused people are about Anne Hegerty being autistic. It’s almost like the the stereotypical idea of autism in most people’s minds is just that – a stereotype – and those of us on the spectrum present just as diversely as those who aren’t.
— ℝ𝕖𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕔𝕒 (@northernlass_) November 19, 2018
Her fellow Chaser, Jenny Ryan has also praised Anne on Twitter for her courage.
— Jenny Ryan (@jenlion) November 18, 2018
As a mum of a son and daughter who both have Asperger’s, I understand how much @anne_hegerty is pushing her boundaries. She’s a wonderful ambassador for #Autism and despite the challenges, she’s already proving to my kids that anything is possible #ImACeleb https://t.co/Hn2hooNGP2
— Amy (@Amy_v_C) November 18, 2018
Rita’s discussion with Anne led to her revealing that she has an obsessive compulsive disorder diagnosis.
“I used to be a real light switcher, tap checker. I’d spend hours doing it. It’s almost the complete opposite of you because yours is all logical and mine is all illogical,” Rita said.