Niall Aslam was an early bookies favourite to win Love Island, so fans were left confused and shocked when he suddenly exited the villa in week two of the show.

ITV explained that the construction worker from Birmingham, who was coupled up with fellow islander Georgia Steel, quit the show for "personal reasons" – but fans remained worried about his wellbeing and whereabouts. after the reality star disappeared from social media.

Now Aslam has finally broken his silence on Instagram, revealing to his followers that he has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that can make it difficult to cope with change or stress.

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In an emotional post, 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!"

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Fans and fellow Love Island stars immediately rallied behind Niall’s Instagram post, praising his bravery and sending their support.

Aslam isn’t the first celebrity to speak out about his experience with Asperger’s.

Last year, Chris Packham spoke publicly about his struggles growing up without a diagnosis on his BBC2 documentary Asperger’s and Me and recently, Aoife Dooley has discussed her diagnosis at the age of 27.

What is Asperger syndrome?
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a condition on the autism spectrum that causes difficulties in three main areas; social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

A child diagnosed with AS typically does not experience the same language and cognitive delays or other learning disabilities normally associated with autism.

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What are the symptoms?
Signs usually begin before two years old and typically last for a person’s entire life. No two people with Asperger syndrome are alike, but a child may display the following:

  • Have trouble processing social cues and body language
  • Robotic speech or language
  • Conversational difficulty and knowing when it is their turn to speak
  • Appear to lack empathy for other people
  • Dislike changes in routines
  • Lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
  • Have difficulty when playing games which require the use of imagination
  • Have specific interests which he or she may be very knowledgeable about
  • Have poor handwriting and late development in motor skills such as throwing and catching
  • Have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises and lights or strong tastes.

Some people with Asperger’s may also feel overwhelmed by everyday conversations, noises and interactions, which can cause them considerable anxiety.

In particular, they can find understanding and relating to other people difficult, often favour familiar routine and may find change upsetting.

How can it be treated and managed?
There are many coping strategies that may help with the challenges of day-to-day life. The Irish Society for Autism and Autism Ireland are just two key websites who have information about understanding autism offering advice for parents, carers or those who have been diagnosed. 

The first step to managing Asperger’s is in getting a diagnosis. A GP can refer those who may have the condition to appropriate specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and speech and language therapists.