ENTERTAINMENT
20/11/2018 12:18 GMT

'I'm A Celebrity' Wins Praise For Anne Hegerty And Rita Simons' Talk About Autism And OCD

"I'm glad they have the platform to talk about it openly."

‘I’m A Celebrity’ has won praise for a sensitive conversation the campmates were shown having about autism in the most recent highlights show.

On their second day in camp, Anne Hegerty - who has Asperger’s syndrome - and Rita Simons discussed the condition, after the Governess admitted she was struggling on her first day in the jungle.

Describing how she’s affected by her form of autism, Anne told her fellow contestants: “[It’s] an autistic thing when you’re trying to work out what to do. I have to line up the mirror neurons up in my head and go this, this, this … It doesn’t have to be the same all the time but I actually have to work it out beforehand.”

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Anne Hegerty and Rita Simons in the jungle

Rita, who said in the Bush Telegraph she’d been reading up on autism before arriving Down under, told Anne: “I know one of the characteristics of a lot of autistic people is not picking up on social cues.  You don’t seem to have that. You don’t at all.”

“I hope I don’t,” Anne said. “That’s something I worked on as a teenager.  I was absolutely useless at it.”

Speaking alone in the Bush Telegraph, Anne explained: “I really appreciate how nice and sympathetic they’ve been to me and how supportive they are and it was nice that they said I actually pick up on social cues because I’m never quite sure that I actually do, so that was nice to know.”

ITV
The 'I'm A Celebrity' campmates

The conversation then led to Rita revealing that she had been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, prompting campmate Fleur East to ask: “How the hell are you doing [I’m A Celebrity]?”

“I’m not too bad with cleanliness and all of that” replied Rita. “I don’t do any of the rituals any more.

“I used to be a real light switcher, tap checker, I’d spend hours doing it.  It’s almost the complete opposite of you [Anne] because yours is all logical and mine is all illogical.”

When Rita told Anne that she wouldn’t think she had Asperger’s had she not known already, the ‘Chase’ star insisted: “I mean if you saw my home you’d know there was something very wrong.

“An OCD person would not like my house.  It’s just sort of I just get overwhelmed by all the things there are to do, I’m like, I have no idea.”

The candid conversation won praise from viewers, who were happy to see the celebrities shining a light on important topics…

Before arriving in camp, Anne discussed how she thought her condition would affect her time on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, noting: “I do respond well to structure [and] I think it will be quite structured in there… But being surrounded by people I can’t get away from or those who talk all the time can be a source of stress.”

After a strenuous first day, in which she took part in the first trial of the series, Anne admitted she was close to throwing in the towel, but decided against it thanks to receiving some words of comfort from her campmates.

‘I’m A Celebrity’ airs every night on ITV.

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