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Paddy McGuinness BBC autism documentary

Paddy McGuinness and his wife Penelope
Paddy McGuinness and his wife Penelope Image credit: metro.co.uk

Paddy McGuinness has spoken about the emotional strain his family went through after his children were assessed for autism saying the wait for results is one of the hardest parts of the process.

The Top Gear presenter was speaking to Radio Times ahead of his new documentary which follows the difficult journey Paddy and his wife Penelope have been through.

In the interview McGuinness explained: “One of the toughest things for parents is the wait for a diagnosis. At least then you can work out what triggers your kids.

“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.”

Paddy said they are “constantly on watch”, to make sure their children are “calm and happy as much as possible”

He added: “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.”

Filming took place during lockdown which meant Paddy had a TV crew in the family home to capture his children struggling being confined to their four walls.

McGuinness said the situation “made me think about families who might be in a similar, or worse, position to us.

“I was struggling, so I thought if we did the documentary, other families might not feel so alone or isolated.”

Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism airs at 9pm on BBC One on Wednesday 1 December and available afterwards on BBC iPlayer.