Earlier this month, TV presenter Paddy McGuinness and his wife Christine revealed that their 4-year-old twins, Leo and Penelope, both have autism.
Christine announced the news via Instagram in a poem she wrote to mark their fourth birthday on 2 July.
The poem immediately sparked praise and thanks from other parents with autistic children.
Well, Christine and Paddy – who are also parents to nine-month-old Felicity – have now spoken in more detail about their children's autism, in the hope of raising awareness and helping others.
Christine revealed that the twins were diagnosed in November 2016, and that her first response was "anger" followed by a "sense of grief".
Speaking to The Mirror on Friday, she said:
We'd been to see a paediatrician, and at the end she said quite casually: "I'm absolutely certain both the children have autism." I was so angry with her. How dare she say that about my children having only seen them for a few hours? I was totally stunned. The only way I can explain how I felt was a sense of grieving; grieving for my "normal" children.
Christine went on to say that there had been "signs" of autism – such as the children walking on their tiptoes, poor eye contact, and delayed speech – but she'd mistaken the symptoms for her parenting style making them "oversensitive".
What followed was years of the couple simply staying at home, making endless excuses to family and friends as to why they couldn't come out.
They went on to explain the differences in the twins' personalities, revealing that Leo has more "recognisable" symptoms of autism whereas Penelope is much more emotional.
Leo has more recognisable symptoms such as opening and closing doors. If you walk in the front door and shut it behind you – which is such a routine thing to do – he'll be really upset as he'll want to shut it.
Penelope is the complete opposite. Her autism is more moderate than Leo's but we struggle with her more. She doesn’t like physical contact like a cuddle. She’s full of anxiety and prefers to play alone a lot, but doesn’t necessarily want to be alone. It’s difficult to watch my baby dealing with emotions she shouldn’t be dealing with at the age of four.