Christine McGuinness shares realities of autism to mark awareness week

The TV star has been diagnosed with autism herself and all three of her children are autistic, too.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Christine McGuinness attends the TRIC Awards 2023 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on June 27, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Christine McGuinness is marking World Autism Awareness Day. (Getty Images)

Christine McGuinness has shared some of the realities of autism for herself and her children to mark World Autism Acceptance Week.

The TV star has three children who have all been diagnosed with autism, and received her own adult diagnosis in 2021.

McGuinness posted on her Instagram Stories to mark the awareness week, sharing some of what life looks like for herself and her children. She wrote "Happy World Autism Acceptance Week" and posted photos from their house of a long row of lined up toys, a plate of crackers sorted into different shapes, and a pile of labels that had been cut out of their clothes.

Christine Mcguinness: Unmasking My Autism,15/03/2023,Christine McGuinness,Duncan Stingemore
Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism aired in 2023. (BBC)

The former model has now split from husband Paddy McGuinness, who she still lives with as they co-parent their young children, and posted another message that read: "You are not too much."

Her Instagram Stories also included some clips of her speaking on TV about autism, having made documentaries Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism in 2021, and Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism in 2023.

McGuinness, who also thanked fans for their kind messages about her current appearance on BBC series Pilgrimage, shared a clip of herself saying: "I've had some lovely messages. It started when I spoke about the children being autistic, and then since I got diagnosed and spoke about that myself and I put a message on my Instagram about this documentary, there's been an influx of messages from women being diagnosed."

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 22/11/2021 - Programme Name: Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Paddy & Christine McGuinness sitting talking outside  - (C) Raw Factual Ltd - Photographer: Raw Factual Ltd
Paddy and Christine McGuinness gave an insight into their children's lives in Our Family and Autism. (BBC)

In another clip, she shared: "The best thing from getting diagnosed is that I understand myself more. There are people, and I'm one of them, that have hypersensitive hearing, hypersensitive smell."

She also shared some screenshots of the messages of thanks that she had received from other autistic women and parents of autistic children after speaking out in her documentaries, writing alongside them: "THIS is why I do what I do. A little glimpse of my daily DMs."

Last week, McGuinness appeared on The One Show where she spoke about taking part in Pilgrimage: The Road Through North Wales and admitted that it had helped her to overcome her fear of dying.

Pilgrimage: The Road Through North Wales,29-03-2024,2,Michaela Strachan, Sonali Shah, Spencer Matthews, Amanda Lovett, Christine McGuiness,Eshann Akabr,**STRICTLY EMBARGOED NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01 HRS ON TUESDAY 19TH MARCH 2024**,CTVC,Production
Christine McGuiness features in the current series of Pilgrimage. (BBC)

Asked what she had learned from taking part in the celebrity trek where the pilgrims discuss their spiritual beliefs, McGuinness said: "For me personally, it was not being so scared of dying any more, that was something that was really keeping me awake at night, I've got three young children."

Host Roman Kemp asked if she had health anxiety and she replied: "Yeah, it was the worries and concerns as a parent. Of course, you worry about not being around to look after your children, but for me it was really taking over my mind."

She added: "Whilst I was on Pilgrimage, I learned to live in the moment and enjoy the present, and just embrace the right now and that was the best thing that I took away from it."

World Autism Acceptance Week is being marked all of this week, with World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April.

Read more: Christine McGuinness

Watch: Christine McGuinness says Pilgrimage helped her tackle fear of dying