Christine McGuinness has opened up about how lockdown has been affecting her three autistic children, recalling a recent incident when her son became ‘petrified’ when a stranger came near to him in a petrol station.
Christine, 32, shares three children with comedian Paddy McGuinness, 47, to whom she has been married since 2011.
The couple are set to release an upcoming documentary on the BBC about their family life called Autism and Our Family, welcoming viewers into their home with seven-year-old twins Penelope and Leo and four-year-old Felicity.
On Thursday, Christine appeared on Loose Women where she spoke to the panel about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted her children’s confidence when it comes to socialising.
The Real Housewives of Cheshire star said that she and her husband had ‘spent years and years encouraging our children’ as ‘it doesn’t come naturally to them, to go and socialise, going out to busy places’.
Explaining that ‘busy places and new places like play centres’ can be ‘quite frightening’ for her children, she said that she and Paddy are going to ‘have to really build up their confidence again as anxiety is through the roof’.
Christine McGuinness is releasing an upcoming documentary about her family life (Picture: ITV)
Christine shared a recent anecdote, when she took her son into a petrol station with her and he panicked about being close to other people.
‘As an example, I stopped at the petrol station, I took my son in with me, and somebody walked past and he literally threw himself back from this person as he was so petrified of someone walking near him. It’s sad that’s the reality of today,’ she said.
The model added that her children have ‘regressed quite a lot’ with their speech.
She said that she ‘spent years going to speech and language therapy with the children and I still do, but they’ve all gone backwards with their speech and communication skills’.
‘My daughter, Felicity, developed a stutter over the first lockdown, which was never there before. It was every single word so it was quite severe,’ Christine said.
‘She is still in speech therapy getting help for that, it has got a little bit better now she’s gone back to nursery. But these are problems that definitely wouldn’t have come into our lives if it wasn’t for the global pandemic.’
Christine added that she doesn’t feel homeschooling is ‘tailored for children with additional needs’, and so her and Paddy are trying to get their children back into full-time education, as they receive one-on-one support when they’re at school.
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.