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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Joanna Whitehead

Christine McGuinness to front BBC documentary about autism in women and girls

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Christine McGuinness has confirmed she is filming a new BBC documentary aimed at raising awareness of autism in women and young girls.

The 34-year-old model was diagnosed with the condition in November 2021, and has since spoken of the relief she has felt after she had “struggled” throughout her life.

She added that her diagnosis has helped her to understand “why I am the way I am”.

The Real Housewives of Cheshire star has previously shared her story of parenting three autistic children – eight-year-old twins Leo and Penelope and five-year-old Felicity – with husband Paddy McGuinness in a 2021 BBC documentary called Our Family and Autism.

Guinness announced that she was working on the new documentary entitled Christine Guinness: The Secret World of Autistic Women and Girls on her Instagram on Wednesday.

“I am so excited to announce that I am filming a new documentary with @bbc,” she began.

“My diagnosis was such a positive thing personally and a huge relief. Finally I understand myself and my own identity so much more now.”

She revealed that she is also prone to “masking” to try and conform with neurotypical people.

“I am aware that I ‘mask’ a lot, I try to fit in, I copy others and this is something I really want people to understand as this behaviour is often found in autistic people but more so women and girls,” she said.

The hour-long documentary will “unravel the untold story of how autism in women and girls has been ignored and misunderstood by science and society – often seen as something mostly affecting men”.

She added that an earlier diagnosis meant growing up “could have been very different if I had had been better understood during my school years”.

Autism is a spectrum which can affect how people communicate and interact with the world.

According to the NHS, one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

Nobody knows what causes autism, or if it has a cause.

Experts say that women and girls are routinely overlooked by health professionals as autism continues to be wrongly thought of as “a male disorder”.

Data shared exclusively with The Independent earlier this year showed that tens of thousands more women tested themselves for autism last year with numbers seeking tests now far outstripping men.

Experts noted that autistic women and girls are neglected by health services due to them being more likely to conceal or internalise symptoms.

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