Christine McGuinness has bravely opened up about the difficulties of raising three children with special needs in lockdown.
The blonde babe, who is married to Top Gear and Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness told Loose Women that the past 12 months have been a 'rollercoaster'.
Christine explained that while everyone has found it tough to be kept inside, the pandemic has brought extra challenges due to her kids needs.
She said: "It’s been a rollercoaster. It started off extremely difficult, for everyone it was a massive shock.
"Our kids are autistic and they struggle with shock. All of these differences were suddenly thrown at them, the school was closed, not allowed friends or family over, which we used to do, at weekends we couldn’t go to the park."
"With three children that struggle with change anyway and don’t really understand an awful lot, that was extremely difficult, for them to suddenly change overnight.
"We did kind of get used to it over the summer, they did stop asking about going out and that’s sort of where we’re at now."
Heartbreakingly, a lot of the process Paddy and Christine had made with their children in terms of confidence has been lost.
The Real Housewives of Cheshire star continued: "It’s quite sad really that they now accept it’s normal to stay in.
We’ve spent years and years encouraging our children, it doesn’t come naturally to them, to go and socialise, going out to busy places and new places like play centres – they can be quite frightening – it took them years to do that quite happily. Now they don’t even ask about it, it’s like it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s quite sad.
"I do think if/when things go back to normal we’re going to have to start again with all of that. We’re going to have to really build up their confidence again as anxiety is through the roof."
Going into detail about how even the smallest thing can set her children off on an episode, she told host Charlene White: "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 added: “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.”
But while there has undoubtedly been challenges, positive thinking Christine says lockdown has also given her family some magical moments.
In particular, they were able to play in the snow – something which left even her surprised as her children's senses are heightened to the cold.
Talking about Paddy being around more due to postponed work commitments, Christine said: "It’s got its pros and cons, it’s been lovely having time together as a family that we would never have had before.
"They love him being at home, Daddy’s fun and plays games, whereas Mummy kind of keeps everything in routine and in place, and then Daddy is going to have to start going back to work again and that’s another big change for them where they’re going to be asking, ‘when’s Daddy home’. We tend to use calendars a lot."
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