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EastEnders' Kacey Ainsworth gives honest account of raising her son who has autism

The actress played Little Mo in the BBC One soap

Hanna Fillingham

EastEnders star Kacey Ainsworth has opened up about her family life in a rare interview, revealing the highs and lows of having a child with autism. The actress – who played Little Mo in the BBC One soap – said that she gave up work for seven years, only accepting one acting job a year, in order to care for her son Elwood, now 11. Talking to The Mirror, she explained: "I only did jobs with short time commitment and only one a year. It would have been too disruptive for me to have had a chaotic schedule." Praising her son, Kacey said: "My son is a unique, wonderful individual and looks at the world in a completely different way. I feel like I've been given a wonderful gift by him."

EastEnders actress Kacey Ainsworth has spoken about raising her son who has autism

Kacey added that everything is planned in order to help ensure that Elwood isn’t distressed in new situations. She said: "Everything is negotiated and explained in advance. When he was younger we would show him pictures of a restaurant and even discuss what time we were going to leave." The actress also admitted that Christmas was a difficult time, as well as changing the clocks. "It takes him weeks to get used to that – and going anywhere new is hard," she said.

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A post shared by Kacey Ainsworth (@kaceyainsworth1) on

Kacey and her son Elwood

Elwood's autism was first bought to light by his nursery teacher, who noticed his behaviour was different to the other children. Kacey recalled: "She'd noticed his black and white thinking, the fact he didn’t play with other children, his delayed speech, his repetitive behaviours and his rigidity. He couldn’t deal with change. If the room was set up differently he couldn’t even walk through the door." When Elwood was six, he was diagnosed following three years of monitoring by experts. "He went to our local communication disorder clinic and I sat behind glass and watched my child being assessed by an ­educational psychologist, speech therapist and a child psychologist. It was ­excruciating."

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Elwood was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and dyspraxia, but despite his condition, he attends a regular school. Proud mum Kacey said: "He’s thriving – doing better than anyone ever predicted. He has been captain of the rugby team. For a dyspraxic child that’s very unusual, but he works very hard at it. He also plays football and hockey, both at school and outside. His autism is actually quite helpful in his sport as his focus and commitment to winning are phenomenal."

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