PARENTS

Paddy McGuinness And His Wife Christine Open Up About Four-Year-Old Twins' Autism Diagnosis

'They couldn’t bear different textures like grass and sand.'

21/07/2017 10:17 BST

Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine have opened up about their four-year-old twins’ autism diagnosis.

The ‘Take Me Out’ star, who is dad to twins Leo and Penelope and nine-month-old Felicity, said it wasn’t until last November that autism was mentioned for the first time when they were trying to understand their toddlers’ difficulties.

The couple said when their twins felt anxious, they would make high-pitched noises or flap their arms.

“For a long time I wondered if I’d wrapped them in cotton wool and made them too sensitive,” Christine told The Mirror. “They were very sensitive to noise and if I took them to play centres we’d end up having to leave straight away.

“They couldn’t bear different textures like grass and sand and I was still spoon-feeding them. Leo still only eats beige, dry food like crackers or crisps.”

Brian Rasic via Getty Images

The couple ended up taking their twins to a paediatrician in November 2016, who said she was quite certain the twins had autism.

Christine recalled being angry because she was so stunned at the first mention of it. Three months later the twins were formally diagnosed. 

Now, the couple said support from the local authority’s special education needs team and meticulous planning has been crucial in helping them learn how to prevent their twins from becoming upset.

Christine publicly revealed the twins had autism in an Instagram post on their fourth birthday on 2 July 2017. 

The mum-of-three wrote a touching poem for Leo and Penelope, which included the words: “I love you unconditionally and I will encourage you both to embrace your autism.

“You are conquering your daily challenges and I’m here to hold your hand, when you’re dealing with sensory overload, the quietest room sounds like a big brass band.”

Parents of children with autism have previously shared what they want other parents to know in blogs hosted on HuffPost UK.

Blogger Georgy Jamieson said parents should not fear diagnosis, because it should be seen as a good thing.

“We’re no longer in ‘limbo’ waiting for something to happen and feeling lost somewhere in the system,” she wrote.

“The boy is still the boy. He hasn’t changed. His world is still as it always was and we’re very keen to keep as much stability and normality in his life as possible.”

And blogger Michelle Myers said other parents should remember their child is more than an autism label.

“You may look at my son and see a child with autism or you may look at my son and think he doesn’t look autistic at all,” she wrote.  

“But when I look at him all I see is his bright toothy smile, his infectious giggle and the long locks of brown hair that he hides behind when he talks to people, I see my son, who also happens to be autistic.”

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