My Celebrity Life

The Umbrella Academy’s Tom Hopper says having autistic son is ‘incredibly rewarding’

The Umbrella Academy’s Tom Hopper has opened up on his son Freddie’s autism diagnosis, explaining it’s ‘incredibly rewarding’ to see him interact with the world.

The star, who plays Luther Hargreeves on the Netflix series, and his wife Laura decided to share their experience with Freddie, who is non-verbal, to help other parents in the same situation.

Speaking to James and Oliver Phelps on their Normal Not Normal podcast, which has been exclusively shared with, Tom explained how he loves seeing his son see the world in a different way, as well as pointing out some of the challenges he and his wife have faced.

‘We got the news that Freddie – my son, who’s five – we got the diagnosis of him having autism,’ he said. ‘We always knew there was something different with Freddie.

‘He wasn’t neurotypical, let’s say, because he didn’t start talking and the way he was responding wasn’t the same as other children his age.

‘We went through a really tough period as parents with the acceptance of that, and it felt like a very lonely time I think, particularly for Laura, my wife, because you feel… I think particularly in Laura’s case she felt that she’d done something wrong. You know? You think, “what could we have done differently? Have we done something wrong?”

My Celebrity Life –
Tom and Laura have been open about Freddie’s diagnosis (Picture: tom.hopperhops)

‘Because there’s all sorts of different types. Autism is a spectrum, right? So there’s one side of autism where people are very highly functioning, and then there’s the type of autism that Freddie’s got, which is non-verbal and doesn’t communicate conventionally in any way at all.

‘So life can be very tricky at times, but at the same time it’s incredibly rewarding because he sees life completely differently to anyone neurotypical.

‘He will be excited by snow like no other kid. Honestly the excitement that comes over that kid… and at a tree blowing in the wind is the most incredible thing to this kid. The rain falling from the sky, the way it drops on the patio. He’s obsessed with it, because the way his brain processes it is completely different. So that’s the enjoyment side of his personality and the way he is. He’s an amazing little kid.

My Celebrity Life –
Tom is best known for his role in The Umbrella Academy (Picture: CHRISTOS KALOHORIDIS/NETFLIX)

‘But in terms of him entering our world and doing the things we need him to do, it’s a very difficult process because you’re trying to mould them to fit into your world, when actually we learned through the process of him being diagnosed that you actually have to embrace his world.

‘But because it can be so difficult at times, and because they’re not developing like these other children you see around them, I think as parents you go through this denial and this process of acceptance. And it was very hard for me and my wife.

‘When we got the diagnosis, Laura my wife came and said to me, “Because we have something of a platform, I feel we need to talk about this a bit more openly, and share our experiences with other parents that might be going through this and who might be feeling really, really alone.”

‘We decided to share our experiences as best we can and as openly as we can, and about how it affects a marriage, too.

‘Because that was the toughest thing really, because you both have different views on what’s going on. I was very quick to go, “there’s something up here, let’s sort it.”‘

My Celebrity Life –
Tom spoke to James and Oliver Phelps on their podcast Normal Not Normal (Picture: Normal Not Normal)

Tom, 35, continued: ‘We were kind of on two separate paths, but eventually we came together on it. We found this common ground on how to deal with this thing that had come into our lives. Ultimately it all came down to the fact that we wanted the best for Freddie.

‘We adore him beyond belief. He’s entering into a world that doesn’t see things like he does, and that’s scary for a parent because you just want them to be happy. So we’ve looked at all the ways we can make sure he’s happy now and in the future, and we want other parents to feel that they’re not alone. It’s a tough process.’

Tom and Laura had confirmed their son’s diagnosis in a video shared to Instagram last year, with Laura saying: ‘We’ve known that Freddie is different for quite a while, some people would say superhuman, and others would say autistic.

‘Basically we want to raise awareness for people like Freddie, or parents.’

Tom is best known for his role on The Umbrella Academy with the likes of Elliot Page, Robert Sheehan, and Aidan Gallagher.

The main cast are all set to reprise their roles for season three, alongside the Sparrow Academy cast, following the dramatic season two cliffhanger.

Tom’s episode of Normal Not Normal is available from January 22.

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Credit: Original article published here.

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