TV review: Our Family and Autism

January 25, 2022

Paddy and Christine McGuinness (c) BBC

Max Ferreira watches how Paddy and Christine McGuinness understand more about their children’s diagnoses

I sometimes wonder if there are families that have more than one child with autism. Then one day, when I finished reviewing Katie Price: Harvey and Me, it was announced that a family were working on a documentary addressing the emotions and experience of the learning difficulty. It’s called “Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism.”

This new BBC One documentary, aired in December 2021, is about TV comedian husband Paddy and wife Christine McGuinness raising their three children Leo, Penelope and Felicity. All of them have autism. Paddy and Christine were willing to share their story about how life is since acknowledging the children’s diagnoses.

What I like about Our Family and Autism is how Paddy and Christine opened up about their true feelings regarding their children’s autism as well as exploring possibilities on how to help them succeed for the future.

Paddy had a conversation with footballer Paul Scholes about his 16-year-old non-verbal autistic son, a good way to discuss the highs and lows, and accepting the condition.

Young people with autism just see the world differently, but with the right support, guidance and experience they can achieve so much when they get older

According to Christine in an interview for Enable Magazine, “It took a while to get our heads around the fact that they are autistic but they’re still perfect, fabulous and amazing. This doesn’t mean they can’t do the same as other children, everything is going to take that much longer and that bit more effort. It was difficult at the time but when you get your head around it you do find ways to cope.”

This means that young people with autism or any learning difficulties are just like everyone else. They just see the world differently, but with the right support, guidance and experience they can achieve so much when they get older.

What’s even more remarkable, before the documentary aired, Paddy’s wife Christine learned she shares the same symptoms as her children. After meeting Professor Sir Simon Baron-Cohen, director of Autism Research Centre at University of Cambridge, it turns out Christine also has autism after getting her results from the AQ questionnaire.

As someone with autism I found this new documentary a great resource, with a purpose that will help parents with young autistic children identify with the experiences of Paddy and Christine McGuinness.

I’ve been writing Exposure articles for many years, talking about autism and my own experience with a learning difficulty. Paddy and Christine spoke about autism in a similar way to how I write about autism, with ideas on how to understand young people giving rewarding results that can shape their future.

I really recommend this new programme to anyone who wants to understand the importance on raising or meeting young people with autism and learning difficulties.

You can watch Our Family and Autism on BBC iPlayer.