Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

I'm a Celebrity: Anne Hegerty praised by autism charity for talking about her diagnosis on ITV show

'Anne is bringing these important issues to everyone’s attention'

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 22 November 2018 10:11 GMT
Comments
Anne Hegerty in 'I'm A Celbrity'
Anne Hegerty in 'I'm A Celbrity' (ITV)

Anne Hegerty has been praised by an autism charity for appearing on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Best known for appearing as “The Governess” on The Chase, Hegerty has spoken candidly about her experience with Asperger’s syndrome – a condition that can affect a person’s social interactions, communication, interests and behaviour – on the the ITV series.

“We’ve loved seeing the outpouring of support for Anne Hegerty. We hope this will be the start of better representation of autistic women in the media and help everyone understand the diversity of autism,” a statement from the National Autistic Society reads.

“There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK. But public understanding of autism is nowhere near as good as it should be – especially the often unique experiences of autistic women and girls.”

Hegerty was not diagnosed with Autism until she was 45 years old, something she has spoken about with fellow I’m a Celebrity contestant Rita Simmons.

“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,’” Hegerty said. “If someone else raises it then I make it quite clear that I’m happy to talk about it.”

The National Autistic Society continues: ”Far too many autistic people, like Anne, aren’t diagnosed until well into adulthood. This means they’ve grown up without any understanding of who they are and access to the right support, which can make life incredibly difficult.

“By talking about her diagnosis so openly, Anne is bringing these important issues to everyone’s attention. This is fantastic and should really help create a society that works better for autistic people.”

One person to have been inspired by Hegerty has been Joseph Hughes, an 11-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism at the age of five. A letter written by Joseph praising The Chase star read: ”I think you are very brave for going in the jungle, I couldn’t go there because there are too many bugs.”

“You are very clever,” he added, before saying: “Some people are mean to me because I am autistic but watching you makes me see that other people can have autism too and maybe I can have a cool job like you when I am older.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in