Paddy McGuinness calls for a faster diagnosis for autistic children

Comedian Paddy McGuinness has said one of the ‘toughest’ experiences for parents of autistic children is waiting for a diagnosis.

The TV presenter, who has three autistic children, said in some areas of the UK receiving a diagnosis can take not months but years.

Paddy, 48, and his model wife Christine, 33, have let cameras into their Cheshire home for a new documentary in which they discuss their family’s experience of autism.

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Paddy McGuinness has detailed the difficulties of having autistic children and hopes that discussing it might make other families ‘not feel so alone’

Speaking in Radio Times, he said: ‘One of the toughest things for parents is the wait for a diagnosis. At least then you can work out what triggers your kids.

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‘I don’t want to go into too much detail about my kids, but Penelope, for example, ‘masks’ – she does her best to fit into her environment and not draw attention to herself.

‘Christine and I are constantly on watch, making sure the kids stay calm and happy as much as possible. 

‘But in some areas of the UK, the wait for a diagnosis doesn’t take weeks or months, but years. It needs to change. People need to be seen much faster.’

It needs to be faster: The TV presenter, who has three autistic children (Leo, Penelope and Felicity) said in some areas of the UK receiving a diagnosis can take not months but years

The Top Gear presenter admitted he had not previously wanted to take part in ‘such a personal documentary’ until lockdown happened and he began to homeschool his children.

‘Our kids regressed and it made me think about families who might be in a similar, or worse, position to us.’

He added: ‘I was struggling, so I thought if we did the documentary, other families might not feel so alone or isolated.’    

He said: ‘One of the toughest things for parents is the wait for a diagnosis. At least then you can work out what triggers your kids’ (Pictured with his wife Christine) 

Paddy said that men are beginning to speak about their feelings more openly.

He said: ‘I come from a single parent, working-class, Northern background and I spent years before Phoenix Nights working on a building site.

‘Men have traditionally struggled to open up more. We’re seen as hunter gatherers whose obligation it is never to be upset or weak. Even among our mates.

‘But I still see the lads I used to work with and they actually ask each other how they are doing in a caring way. I’m talking about hairy-arsed builders. Men’s men. Things are slowly changing.’  

Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now. 

Read the full interview in Radio Times, out now 

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  • Radio Times | TV, film and entertainment news – Radio Times