LIFESTYLE
22/03/2018 12:08 SAST

Dear Parents, An Autism Diagnosis Is Nothing To Fear

"I just want them to be happy," says celeb mom about twins with autism.

Christine McGuinness has said her “world turned upside down” when she and her husband found out her four-year-old twins had autism, but that wasn’t a bad thing. 

The wife of ‘Take Me Out’ host Paddy McGuinness discussed how the diagnosis changed her as a mother in a video for national charity Autism Together.

“I knew it was my purpose in life to be their mum, but this really made me want to be the best mum I could be for them,” she said on the video. “I’ve got so many hopes and dreams for our children.” 

AutismTogether

McGuinness 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.”

Speaking in the campaign video, which was released as part of a campaign to raise money for a new autism-friendly charity centre and advanced technology to help make the lives of kids with autism easier, McGuinness spoke about the hopes she has for her two children.

“I want them to make friends at school, build relationships and maybe even get married and have their own families,” she said. ”I just want them to be happy and I want them to live in a world that is more understanding about autism.”

Speaking to HuffPost UK, Robin Bush, CEO of Autism Together, said the charity was keen to show - through the campaign video with Christine - that an autism diagnosis isn’t something parents should fear: “We were touched that she was so honest. We wanted our film to get a positive message across, that people with autism have their own hopes and dreams but also, that society has to work much harder to help those with autism who are more severely affected, so that they can enjoy better futures too.”

Christine, who is also mum to one-year-old Felicity with Paddy, has previously spoken about her twins’ diagnosis. “For a long time I wondered if I’d wrapped them in cotton wool and made them too sensitive,” she told The Mirror in July 2017. “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.”

Autism Together is a provider of services and support to people with autism and their families. Find out more and donate here

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