The autistic schoolboy who penned a heart-warming letter to Anne Hegerty has revealed how she changed his life.
Joseph Hughes, 11, was diagnosed with the developmental disorder aged five and has struggled to fit in with his peers.
But he has recently been inspired by The Chase star Anne as she opened up about her own experience of autism on I’m A Celebrity.
The amazing schoolboy wrote to Anne saying that she was brave for going in the jungle and that he hoped for a "cool job like you when I am older".
When asked if he was surprised his letter had gone viral, modest Joseph said: "Well yeah. It was just a piece of paper with writing on it."
Joseph has been inspired by his hero Anne
Joseph has benefited from seeing Anne open up on TV
- The Chase star believes ‘resilient’ Anne Hegerty can win I’m A Celebrity
Mum Kate Jarvis, 31, revealed how Anne had managed to inspire her son on today’s This Morning.
She said: "It means a lot to see her for him, especially so he can see people with autism on the TV. It’s not just how he felt. There’s other people. He found it hard having autism – being different. He can see Anne’s out there doing amazing things."
Speaking about her son’s routine, she added: "He likes to know whats happening when it’s happening. He likes his routine as it is. Things have to be a certain way. Once he does things are very easy."
Kate spoke about her son’s routine
Laura praised Anne for representing those with autism
They were joined by journalist Laura James, who was diagnosed with autism later in life just like Anne.
She said: "I think it’s amazing what she’s done for representation. It is amazing. I also think it’s important for women who don’t realise they are autistic to see someone like that.
"I’m sure there are lots of lightbulbs going off with people thinking ‘that’s just like me’. It changed my life in many ways but mainly because I stopped feeling like I was failing."
They were joined on the sofa by The Vixen
Also on the sofa was The Chase star Jenny Ryan, who not only works with Anne but has been a longtime friend.
Describing her as a "very special flower", Jenny revealed that their pub quiz team have made allowances for Anne and can identify her triggers.
She said: "I hope she lasts as long as she feels he’s capable of doing. I hope that she feels strong enough that if she feels overwhelmed she removes herself from the situation.
"I can see it is a stressful situation for her but Anne is such a determined woman."
The Vixen cheekily added: "Stay away from the cooking Anne please. She’s not a domestic goddess."
*This Morning airs weekdays on ITV at 10.30am
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