Christine McGuinness has described how upset she was when she heard a fellow parent at soft play complaining about how noisy her kids were.
The 30-year-old, who is mum to four-year-old twins with autism, Leo and Penelope, and one-year-old Felicity with ‘Take Me Out’ host Paddy McGuinness, shared a video of herself talking to camera about her experience.
“Play centres are quite a challenge for my kids anyway and they did really well,” she said on the Instagram video. “I did overhear a lady complaining about my kids and the noises they were making saying ‘there must be something wrong with those children’.”
She added: “It broke my heart, they were just happy, squealing and laughing and being loud. Let them enjoy themselves.”
The mum, who has been an advocate of raising awareness about autism, said society still has a long way to go to open people’s eyes and allow them to understand the condition.
She captioned her video with an explanation of why hearing her kids talk and communicate is so special for her. Her twins were non-verbal when they were toddlers. “I had silent children for years so to hear someone complain about their noise, when they’re inside a play centre which is another challenging environment for them... it’s heartbreaking,” she wrote. “You appreciate any sound they make. Their ‘noise’ was just happy squeals and laughter.
“Yes my children can sometimes be louder than others, even though they don’t like noise themselves, but let children be children. We are not in a library here we are in a play centre, this woman moaned about my children four to five times.”
McGuinness added that the sound of her kids will always be music to her ears. Her post was inundated with messages from parents who also have children with autism.
“Don’t listen to them,” one mum wrote. “My little boy is three and despite being non-verbal, he is always the loudest with his noises. When excited he flaps, jumps and makes so much noise. I absolutely love his noises and will never tire of hearing my boy express his happiness in any way, nor would I ever apologise for him. Our children are bloody amazing.”
Another mum commented: “They are blessed to have a mum like you raising awareness. My child is 18 now but when he was younger I would get funny looks. Let them look and be proud. Sending love to your family.”