Umbrella Academy's Tom Hopper Opens Up About Parenting Son with Autism

by 24USATVAug. 1, 2020, 2 a.m. 80
-

Actor Tom Hopper and his wife Laura decided to speak about their son so that other parents "going through this ... don't feel alone," he tells PEOPLE

Although he frequently plays hard-bodied tough guys onscreen, at home, British actor Tom Hopper is all "soft inside" as a loving husband to wife Laura and father to daughter Truly Rose, 2, and son Freddie, 5.

Recently, the Game of Thrones alum and Laura, an actress and writer, decided to open up about their son Freddie, who is nonverbal, after receiving his autism diagnosis just before his fifth birthday in March. They've been sharing videos and photos on their social media accounts detailing their experiences, hoping to help other parents.

"We thought, we've got to do this for the parents that are going through this so they don't feel alone," Tom, 35, tells PEOPLE in the latest issue. "Because it can be a very lonely time."

He adds, "You have to trust each other and the journey. The right things will happen eventually, but it doesn't happen overnight. My son has autism, and he amazes me every day. His brain just works in a different way."

Tom and Laura first noticed their son was different at around 18 months. "The first thing we noticed was Freddie wouldn't turn around for his name," recalls Laura, 32. "From there, the older he got, the more of a gap there was between him and other children his age, in terms of his progress."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Adds The Umbrella Academy star, "He'd properly engage. We would be able to talk to him and he'd respond, but it stopped."

Laura says it was important for them to "recognize the regression." They both threw themselves into autism research and educational courses, but quickly realized, like all parents, that each child is unique, and no two kids with autism are the same.

"The biggest thing for us was learning Freddie," says Tom. "We've had to figure out what works for him and what doesn't."

One big win for the Hoppers was cutting out processed sugars from their son's diet, which they believe helped regulate his behavior. "We took Freddie off sugar, apart from certain fruits and honey," says Tom. "The difference was massive. It eliminated any aggression and is keeping [his moods] stable."

Tom says Freddie reminds him to take joy from simple pleasures like "laughing, running" and "playing in the garden," he says. And Truly, who is neurotypical, also keeps him and Laura on their toes.

-

Related Articles

HOT TRENDS

Rafael Nadal confident heading into most trying French Open yet

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 3:20 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Bottas wins in Russia as Hamilton misses F1 win record

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 3:01 p.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Baylor Football opens Aranda Era with win

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, noon2
HOT TRENDS

College football Power Rankings for Week 4

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 11 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Manny Pacquiao and Conor McGregor to fight in 2021

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 11 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Football Powers Past Kansas, 47-14

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 11 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Nuggets vs. Lakers - Game Recap - September 26, 2020 - ESPN

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 11 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Blachowicz stuns Reyes by TKO, wins vacant title

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 8 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

BYU Football creates unique game-day experience for home opener

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 8 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Tennessee football: Key moments from 31-27 South Carolina win

by 24USATVSept. 27, 2020, 8 a.m.2