Christine McGuinness says parenting autistic children in lockdown is 'uphill struggle'


LONDON, -, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/10/28: Christine McGuinness on the red carpet at The Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Christine McGuinness (Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Christine McGuinness has said parenting three children with autism during the coronavirus lockdown has been an 'uphill struggle'.

The star and her husband Paddy McGuinness are parents to seven-year-old twins Leo and Penelope and five-year-old Felicity, who are all on the autistic spectrum.

And Christine told the Mirror that when schools had to close amid the pandemic, the couple had to become therapists.

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"Lockdown was really difficult at first,” she said. “It’s been an uphill struggle.

“The children were getting a lot of support at school but that all stopped. Suddenly we had to become therapists for them and it wasn’t going too well.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22:  Paddy McGuinness (L) and Christine McGuinness attend the National Television Awards held at The O2 Arena on January 22, 2019 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Paddy McGuinness (L) and Christine McGuinness attend the National Television Awards on January 22, 2019 (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Mealtimes were tough at the start of lockdown and Christine said she felt she just couldn’t get her children to eat.

Her youngest daughter Felicity also developed a stutter that Christine thinks “was all down to anxiety, the changes, and because she wasn’t socialising and seeing the other children at nursery”.

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However, as time has gone on, the family have celebrated victories.

Felicity was able to go to speech therapy and has now conquered her stutter, which Christine said was “just another little hurdle" they they had to get over.

And the family are now able to sit down and chat as they enjoy a meal together of an evening, which the star said they didn't do before the pandemic because of their busy lives.

Christine McGuinness attends The Best Heroes Awards 2019 at The Bloomsbury Hotel. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Christine McGuinness (Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

During lockdown the children also reached other milestones, like playing in the snow for the first time.

"Seeing the children do anything new makes us feel like we've won the lottery," said Christine.

The model and Top Gear star Paddy tied the knot in 2011.

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