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National Autistic Society backs Anne Hegerty’s Appearance in I’m a Celebrity

When Anne Hegerty arrived at I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here in November, she knew it was not going to be an easy ride. She has struggled for many years with fitting in, saying that she couldn’t understand why she was expected to play outside in the cold rather than sit indoors with books at school. As she grew, she found relationships difficult to maintain and multi-tasking out of the question.

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A Late Diagnosis

It wasn’t until Anne turned 45 that she had a definition for her differences; Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that affects a person’s behaviour, communication skills and social interaction. For her, it manifests itself through a lack of eye contact and obsessing over hobbies.

Around 700,000 people are living with autism in the UK, but there is still a lack of awareness surrounding the condition and its effects on those who are diagnosed with it. Asperger’s is different for each patient, with various combinations of symptoms and degrees of severity, which makes understanding the condition difficult. This is improving through autism awareness training for teachers to identify and communicate successfully with those with Asperger’s syndrome early in life to support them in an educational environment.

Those with Asperger’s don’t always feel comfortable talking about it because of other people’s perception of the disability. Training for those who interact with autistic children on a daily basis, such as the training provided by https://childbehavioursolutions.co.uk/, is an essential tool in understanding the condition.

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Raising Awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome

It was a pleasant surprise to see Anne talking so openly and honestly about her individual experience with Asperger’s on national television. This has pleased UK autism charities such as the National Autistic Society (NAS), who Anne has worked with previously. When asked if they have any concerns relating to Anne’s appearance on the show and the number of gruesome bushtucker trials she has faced in comparison to other celebs, the charity played down worries, claiming her appearance on the show makes her an inspiration for autistic people.

Her frank discussions helped introduce the condition to a wider audience, with the NAS’s website and phone lines straining because of Anne’s openness on the show. They hope this is just one small step in the path toward national acceptance of those with the lifelong disability.

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