Christine McGuinness has recalled the ‘intimidating’ moment a man accused her of illegally parking in a disabled space.
The Loose Women star, 33, whose three children Penelope and Leo, eight, and Felicity, four, have autism, said she was confronted by the man who claimed she ‘wasn’t disabled,’ because she didn’t have a blue badge.
Christine, who has campaigned for increased awareness around autism, is set to appear in a ITV documentary about Hidden Disabilities on Thursday, and will detail the challenges faced by so many attempting to get a blue badge.
‘Intimidating’: Christine McGuinness, 33, has revealed she was confronted by a man who accused her of illegally parking in a disabled space with her three children
Speaking in the programme, as reported by The Mirror, Christine explains that her son’s anxiety can lead to ‘meltdowns’ while she attempts to find a parking space.
The star added she’s tried to apply for a blue badge in the past, and called for others to ‘be kinder’ towards those struggling with hidden disabilities after a man confronted her.
She said: ‘It was quite intimidating. The man said I wasn’t disabled, my children aren’t disabled, so why are you parked in a disabled space?
‘I take any opportunity to educate people on autism. But there’s a time and a place and it’s not when I’m in a car park on my own with three children.
‘We all need to remember to be kinder to each other. If there’s a blue badge in the window, just believe they’re entitled to be parked there.’
Scary: The star whose three children Penelope and Leo, eight, and Felicity, four, have autism, said she was confronted by the man who claimed she ‘wasn’t disabled’
Speaking in the ITV programme, Christine added that many parents have attempted to apply for blue badges, but have given up due to the lengthy process, and the fact it must be redone every three years.
The programme will be hosted by journalist Saima Mohsin, who suffered a nerve injury after her foot was run over by a jeep in Jerusalem.
In December 2019, the Department of Transport changed its rules to allow thousands of people with hidden disabilities to apply for blue badges, including Parkinson’s, dementia, autism, and epilepsy.
Challenges: Christine, who has campaigned for increased awareness around autism, is set to appear in a ITV documentary about Hidden Disabilities on Thursday
Currently, a person with autism can be eligible for a blue badge, subject to a further assessment if they cannot undertake a journey without being at risk of serious harm or, ‘very considerable psychological distress’, or considerable difficulty when walking.
Anyone who qualifies for PIP Mobility Component, or children who received Higher Rate Mobility Disability Living Allowance (HRMDLA) also qualify.
Christine and her husband Paddy have previously been praised by fans for speaking so honestly and openly about the challenges they face parenting autistic children.
Speaking about how difficult lockdown had been for her family, Christine admitting months at home had been ‘tough’ on her kids, but it was rewarding to see her brood make many breakthroughs at the same time.
She said: ‘Seeing the children do anything new makes us feel like we’ve won the lottery and want to do cartwheels.
‘They played in snow for the first time. They were always scared of the snow. But this year we got out there and eventually they were rolling around in it.’
Praise: Christine and her husband Paddy have previously been praised by fans for speaking so honestly and openly about the challenges they face parenting autistic children