TV chef Jean-Christophe Novelli reveals three-year-old son Valentino might never speak due to severe autism

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  • Jean-Christophe has revealed that his son may never be able to talk following an autism diagnosis.

    Valentino was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma when he was just six-weeks old, but was given the all clear in 2017.

    However, Valentino is now faced with a new challenge, as there’s a chance he might be non-verbal due to having severe autism. Jean-Christophe and fiancée Michelle Kennedy have opened up about this experience, describing it as ‘heartbreaking’.

    Michelle sadly had to miss stepdaughter Christina’s wedding in Santorini this month, so she could take care of Valentino back in the UK.

    Speaking exclusively to Hello!, Michelle said “We’re having to accept that he may be non-verbal, which is very sad.

    “He can’t even say ‘Mummy’, which is heartbreaking.”

    Jean-Christophe and Michelle have been together for 14 years and have three children together – 11-year-old Jean Frankie, seven-year-old Jacques and youngest son, three-year-old Valentino.

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    In 2016, Valentino received a devastating cancer diagnosis where he had to endure four rounds of chemotherapy and then two further courses of the most aggressive form of the drug when he was just a baby.

    Neuroblastoma, which Valentino was diagnosed with, is a cancer with one of the lowest survival rates meaning harsh chemotherapy is needed.

    Miraculously, he fought cancer but sadly doctors had another diagnosis for the family to contend with: microdeletion syndrome, a rare chromosome disorder.

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    Symptoms of microdeletion syndrome include seizures, moderate to severe learning problems, speech delays, behaviour problems and other developmental delays such as crawling, sitting or walking.

    However, Jean-Christophe is staying positive despite all of Valentino’s medical struggles, telling the Sunday Mirror, “He’s been on a real long journey though and if he can beat cancer, he can handle this. He’s a little fighter and we are looking on the positive side.

    “When Michelle told me he has severe autism I just thought ‘thank f***, at least he’s alive’. Even in this situation, we are very, very privileged, we live in a great country.”