HE is a top TV presenter, she’s a stunning model – together Paddy and Christine McGuiness are a couple who appear to lead a gilded life.
But they’re about to reveal the challenges they face behind the scenes in a new BBC1 documentary, Autism and our Family.
Top Gear co-host Paddy, 47, and Christine, 32, learned in 2017 that their twins, Leo and Penelope, now seven, had the disorder.
Then last year their youngest child, four-year-old Felicity, was also diagnosed.
Like 2.8million other British families, they are still coming to terms with their situation and the one off show will see them share their personal story with viewers.
In the one-off doc, set to air this year, they will look within their own family and others to help them answer some of the many questions an autism diagnosis poses.
Paddy and Christine will meet with other parents, leading paediatricians and cutting-edge child-development experts to discover more about their children’s condition.
Speaking recently on a podcast, Paddy said: “I felt doing a documentary about the condition and how we deal with things, hopefully people will watch and go ‘well, if he’s going through that, then I shouldn’t be ashamed or worried about getting help in’.
“He’s on telly and got money so he shouldn’t have those sorts of worries’ – but I do.“It’s just important as much information you can get out there about anything like that is a help.”
“For me as parent who has children with additional needs, you feel, a little bit, that everyone else is having a really good time apart from you.
“When I see other people in the same situation or people, in a weird and perverse way, worse off than you, you kind of feel ‘oh, at least I’m not dealing with that’.
“Weirdly it makes them feel a bit better or they’re not on your own with this.”
It’s not the first time husband and wife have tried to help others in a similar position to themselves.
Last year they allowed themselves to be transformed into cartoon versions of themselves to appear in a special episode of children’s cartoon, Daisy and Ollie.
The Channel 5 series is aimed a pre-school kids and aired a special episode on April 2 for World Autism Day.
Called, How Do I Make Friends With Theo, the show, which was devised with assistance from the National Autism Society, taught children how to befriend other kids who are autistic.
The story followed main character Daisy as she introduces Ollie to her cousin Theo, who finds it difficult to adjust to him.
Paddy and Christine played Theo’s parents who helped Ollie understand why Theo found things difficult and how his autism means they understand things differently.
Autism is a developmental disorder with a variety of symptoms. Those affected are often left with communication and interaction problems, also they can find it hard to understand how other people feel or think.
It is not a disease or illness and most autistic people are born with the disorder, which presents itself at an early age. There is no “cure” but there is help available and autistic people can lead long, full lives.
Paddy has previously talked about his children. He said: “All I want is for them to be independent. I don’t care what they end up doing for a living but I want them to be independent – and you can see now with the school and all the help they get that it’s coming to fruition.
“I just crave normality but you’ve got to put the hours in, do the work and as they get older, they get used to things more.”
Paddy also talked about the difficulty of the Covid-19 lockdowns and home schooling.
He said: “Generally, kids with autism thrive on routine but when that suddenly changes and they realise they have to stay at home and can’t go out and see their friends or go to a play centre or a creche, that’s what was really difficult.
“It was really hard on me and Christine, but the kids weren’t aware of that and we kept on going like everyone else.”
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