Words by Colette Carr

Nope, you read that correctly, PosAbility Magazine is having its take on none other than smash hit reality TV sensation Love Island.

The heat isn’t making you delirious and you haven’t miss-clicked and ended up on Glamour or Cosmopolitan, PosAbility honestly isn’t just jumping on the bandwagon of the murky waters of bikinis and shamelessly suggestive slow-mos.

Love it or hate it, its success has been undeniable. But now its thrown out an unexpected disability awareness curveball in that one dearly-departed singleton has revealed his time on the show has allowed him to accept that he has Asperger syndrome.

The hit ITV2 show that’s in its fourth series after a reboot of yesteryear’s edition, has been heavily criticised for a lack of body diversity among the sun-kissed cast of 20-somethings on the hunt for love (or a blue tick on Instagram and Boohoo deal depending on your reality TV persuasion).

Fan favourite Niall Aslam’s shock exit after just one week in the luxury Mallorca villa caused both upset and curiosity as his departure was put down only to “personal reasons”.

But in a return to social media following his experience, the 23-year-old has opened up about his experiences since he was diagnosed as a child, sharing his hopes for the future.

“Right, so here it goes…for this post I am putting my laying it on thick brush down and hoping to hit the nation with a love potion,” the contestant began.

“For far too long I have suffered in silence and not acknowledged a massive fact about my life which going into the villa has led me to finally realise and accept.

“When I was a young child I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a fact that until this post has never shared outside of my close family. Growing up was extremely difficult for me and I often felt out of place. I always felt that people didn’t understand me, yet I was afraid to reveal my true scales as I did not want the label or stigma that was attached to it,” he explained.

Right, so here it goes…for this post I am putting my laying it on thick brush down and hoping to hit the nation with a love potion. For far too long I have suffered in silence and not acknowledged a massive fact about my life which going into the villa has led me to finally realise and accept. When I was a young child I was diagnosed with asperges syndrome, a fact that until this post has never shared outside of my close family. Growing up was extremely difficult for me and I often felt out of place. I always felt that people didn't understand me, yet I was afraid to reveal my true scales as I did not want the label or stigma that was attached to it. But now I think it is important that I come forward, not only so that I can finally be honest with myself and to those around me, but also so that other individuals in my position can embrace their true colours. It's not been an easy ride for me to come to terms with this fact but I am glad that I can now accept who I am, and am looking forward to my next chapter. I would just like to thank the team at ITV for always backing me and giving me the opportunity to rid my myself of my insecurities and embrace the fact that I am different yet I am still a rainbow fish. I can't explain how grateful I am for the support from the whole team over this period. I would also like to thank the British public for the love you have all shown me over the past few weeks, it has been overwhelming. Now it's time for this rainbow fish to dive deep into the big blue ocean and show the world what I'm all about – there's more layers to come! 🐠#AutismAwareness #BeYourOwnKindOfRainbowFish #LessPrangMoreLove

A post shared by Niall Aslam (@niallaslam) on

Viewers see one-hour snippets of a whole day, making it difficult to remember just how intense the experience must be, but his time in the villa was a revelation for the student and construction worker.

“But now I think it is important that I come forward, not only so that I can finally be honest with myself and to those around me, but also so that other individuals in my position can embrace their true colours. It’s not been an easy ride for me to come to terms with this fact, but I am glad that I can now accept who I am and am looking forward to my next chapter.”

Niall’s glowing tribute to the support from ITV is a testament to their inclusion, particularly in what is arguably their flagship show in a time where Netflix has knocked real time TV off the radar.

What do you think of Niall’s time on the island and ITV’s handling of his decision? Would you enter a show like this with a hidden disability and disclose it to your cast mates? Let us know! Email colette@2apublishing.co.uk.

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