Niall Aslam

Former Love Island star hits back at claims this series features 'first' disabled contestant

Niall Aslam wants to remind viewers that Hugo is simply the first with a physical disability

Eve Crosbie

A former Love Island star has taken issue with the claims that the show has cast its first-ever disabled contestant this year.

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Niall Aslam, who suffers from autism spectrum disorder, appeared on the ITV2 dating show in 2018 but had to leave the villa just nine days after he entered a stress-induced psychotic episode when he wasn't given the help he was promised to manage his disability.

The 26-year-old took to TikTok this week to remind viewers that despite media reports to the contrary, Hugo Hammond is not the first contestant with a disability but simply the first with a physical disability.

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Posting a video to his 75.4k followers, Niall took issue with the media attention surrounding the PE teacher being the supposed first contestant with a disability due to being born with a club foot, revealing: "But autism is a disability and I ended up hospitalised".

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Tagging the post #autismawareness, Niall wrote in the caption: "I support Hammond, he is the first with a physical disability but can we stop covering me up lol".

@niallaslam

I support Hammond, he is the first with a physical disability but can we stop covering me up lol ##fyp ##foryoupage ##autism ##autismawareness ##realitytv

♬ Bo Burnham made me cry today - 𝐵

Niall recently opened up The Mirror about the challenges he faced while on the show, revealing that he felt as if his autism was not recognised as a disability by ITV2 bosses.

He alleged that despite telling producers that certain things, such as being given plain food at mealtimes and hearing his favourite music, would help manage his stress levels, these were not prioritised.

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Instead, the food he had requested did not appear until four days into his stint, and a crew member only once played music for him. "One guy played me a song on his phone once and they acted like they'd given me the world," he said.

He continued: "It's harmful for other people with autism to not recognise it. Just because what happened to me doesn't fit a perfect picture, doesn't mean it didn't happen and by hiding it and everyone basically acting like I didn't exist on that show is harmful for people with autism."

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