'My world was turned upside down' - Paddy McGuinness' wife Christine on learning their twins had autism
Christian McGuinness has issued a fresh appeal for support for autism organisations, recalling the moment she learned her twins were diagnosed with the condition.
The former model shares four-year-old twins Leo and Penelope with husband Paddy, best known for hosting Take Me Out, and spoke candidly about her experiences as a parent with autistic children. They also have two-year-old daughter Felicity Rose together.
"When my husband and I were first told out twins had autism, it turned out world upside down," she said in a charity video for Future 50.
"I knew it was my purpose in life to be their mum but this really made me want to be the best mum I could be for them. I got so many hopes and dreams for our children. I want them to build relationships when they're older...maybe even get married and have their own little families one day.'
"Most of all I want them to be happy. I want them to live in a world where there is more understanding about autism."
The McGuinnesses are vocal advocates for autism awareness and are encouraging of any new means which might increase quality of life for those with autism as well as educating as many people as possible on the topic.
"When you learn that autism is in your life, as I have recently, you realise that it is up to you to help shape the future for the people you love," she said, speaking about Autism Together's new biometric wristbands.
"This is a brave project being run by people who really care and as soon as I heard about it I knew I wanted to support it. I hope in 50 years time, or even sooner, this technology will be in use everywhere."
Last month, the mother-of-three spoke of the "massive shock" she experienced when she first was told about the twins' diagnosis, but has spoken eloquently on the top since becoming campaigners for the cause. Leo and Penelope were diagnosed when they were three years old.
"It was just this massive shock, I was devastated and heartbroken, it was like somebody saying there was something wrong with my children," she told Metro.
"We didn't know too much about autism, and had just heard the negative parts. It was a lack of knowledge on our part. I thought it can’t be my children, they're talking about someone else, my children are fabulous and perfect and how can they have autism when that apparently isn't those things?
"But knowing my children and they both have autism, I still find them absolutely perfect and amazing. The diagnosis hasn't changed that at all, but it has helped us explain their behaviour to other people."
She said she recognises early signs of autism with their one-year-old daughter, but is "ready" should a diagnosis be made at a later stage.
McGuiness has given her career a backseat in recent years in order to focus on her family, but has recently signed up to appear on The Real Housewives of Cheshire.