Anne Hegerty: Autism in the Media

As some of you may be aware, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is back on the air! Whilst many of you may despise the show, it has always been a family tradition of mine to tune in everyday during the run. There’s something so alluring about millionaires camping out and eating ostrich anus for meals. Along with that, you may have seen the name ‘Anne Hegerty’ around online news pages recently. This is because she is the first openly autistic participant on the show. As a person who has only recently found out their diagnosis, it has been a massive confidence boost. Whilst trying to come to terms with it, I can look at people like Anne and say ‘If she can do it, I sure bloody can too.’ Many traits I see in her I see in myself too, and it is so nice to relate to someone in the media like that.

However there is the other side to this. Whilst many are supportive of the publicity of autism, it’s not hard to find the negative ones calling her ‘pathetic’, her having and ‘easy 3 week holiday’ and her getting better treatment. What people need to understand is that as an autistic person, putting yourself on a show like that is already like a trial. All your rituals are destroyed, your privacy gone and all your senses are put into overdrive. Not to mention the sensory effects of bugs on autistic people (I almost vomit just at the trials). Everyday there can be a challenge for people with autism, and I applaud her for her bravery. As a person in a drama school, not many people are aware of the effects, but to watch her every night gives me hope to carry on and push through.

Sorry if this has been over the top, but I still feel very turbulent about the issue. It’s about time we talk about it.

Hope you’re enjoying the show!

Gabby