Christine McGuinness: My autistic children have regressed in lockdown

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Christine McGuinness has said her youngest daughter Felicity has developed a stutter during lockdown due to the lack of social contact.

The reality TV personality and model, 32, and her Top Gear host husband Paddy, 47, are parents to Felicity, four, and twins Leo and Penelope, seven, and all three children have autism.

The couple are soon to release a BBC documentary called Autism And Our Family, welcoming viewers into their home.

Appearing on Loose Women, Christine McGuinness said their children have “regressed” during the pandemic.

She said: “It’s really affected their speech. They’ve regressed quite a lot. Again, speech doesn’t come naturally to them.

“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.

“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.”

McGuinness, who married TV presenter and comedian Paddy in 2011, recalled an incident in which her son Leo was frightened by a stranger.

Butterfly Ball 2019 – London
Christine McGuinness said her children would not have regressed were it not for the pandemic (Ian West/PA)

She said: “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 also said home-schooling has failed to cater for children with autism.

She said: “I feel for everyone doing home-schooling. It’s not tailored for children with additional needs, it really isn’t.

“They’re very black and white our children, school is school and home is home. We can manage an art class and PE, the fun things, but the actual home-schooling, sitting in front of a computer, it’s just not right. I don’t think it’s nice for any children.”

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