Katie Price on Harvey going to college and the ‘big void’ in her life
Katie Price may have started her career as one of the nation’s best known glamour models, but recent years have seen her eldest son Harvey steal the limelight.
The star of BBC One documentary Katie Price: What Harvey Did Next, the second series delves further into life behind close doors, exposing the ups and downs of day-to-day life with an autistic child.
Ahead of the new series hitting our screens this March, we sit down with Price, 43, to learn more about the new series and the next chapter in Harvey’s life.
Katie, what made you want to do a second series?
“Well, when I watched the first one, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, it just stopped!’ And you feel like you want to know what’s happening next. The BBC obviously thought that as well, because they came to me and said, ‘look, shall we do another one?’ And I thought, why not?!”
What can we expect this time around?
“With this one now, I want to see the next stages myself – and I think everyone else will. Now Harvey’s at college, it’s like, ‘right, we want to see what he’s gonna learn. What’s he going to turn into now? What’s he going to do?’ This one is showing the challenges and why it’s important to find the right college for him to cater for his challenging needs. I’ve had to live and breathe it, I’ve had my house smashed up all the time. Now people can see why it was difficult to find the right college because of the way he is.”
Was it important to show more of Harvey’s day-to-day life this time around?
“I think with the first one, I didn’t really show him kicking off and how difficult normal things can be for him. They touched on it, but not too much. I think in this one, I didn’t mind them showing how more difficult he can be because it shows how real it is now that he’s gone to a new college, new people, and when he really doesn’t want to do something, how he reacts and how you have to react to calm him down. To show that easy tasks aren’t easy for him.
Did you find it difficult to hand over the responsibility of looking after Harvey to someone else?
“It was difficult, but a relief. Like, I left him last night. And he didn’t want me to go. He started kicking off and I automatically thought ‘I can’t leave him like that, I have to go back and calm him down for my own sanity, because I didn’t want to get in the car knowing he’s kicked off. ”
How has life changed now Harvey’s gone to college?
“For me, there’s a big void in my life, because I’m used to the background [noise], him banging the walls. You get tuned into that noise. Now, if I hear a door slam, I’m waiting to hear the repercussions… But you do miss it as well. It’s weird.”
The first day of college and saying goodbye must have been quite an emotional experience for both of you?
“There’s relief, but there’s still also feels. Because Harvey doesn’t express like us, but I know he does get hurt by things. And he gets frustrated. For example, you know, I am bringing it up because it’s a fact. I had Pete in his life for six years and he called him dad. And then I had Keiran in his life six years, so he knew Kieran. And then suddenly not having them in his life – and he knows the other kids go there, he doesn’t understand why he’s not doing that… And he doesn’t know how to express it. It’s the same when he went to college. We didn’t just suddenly say ‘right, you’re going to college now’ overnight. It’s something we’ve had to process for months, showing pictures and getting used to the names of people.
It’s also an educational experience for viewers who may not know about autism…
With autism it’s all about routine. It’s such a big move. Even the driver, you know, he’s had the same driver take him to school for seven or eight years. And then suddenly not have that, you’ve got to explain that now. ‘You’re a big man and now you’re going to a big school. You’re living there all the time and then Mommy could come and see you now in your new home or you can come back to Mommy’s home’. Now I let him choose – this weekend the hub or will mummy come to you?
Has he settled in well?
“When they started telling me ‘Oh, yeah, he threw a table across the room’ or ‘he broke the lights in his room’ or ‘he’s gone for the windows’, I’m like, ‘sorry guys, but I have to say I’m quite happy to hear that’. Because now I know he’s settled. He’s now testing you all. Because he is clever, Harvey. He knows what he’s doing. So to hear that he’s starting to break things and will be challenging. Now I know he’s at home.”
What do you hope viewers take from this?
“As a mum, the challenges I’m having to go through personally – with my personal life, my job and all of that, on top of being in control of what’s happening with Harvey, you know, because you can’t let what’s going on in your life affect Harvey. You have to still stick to what’s right for him. So, just to show that all lives can be challenging, but you still can’t neglect the fact that you’ve got to do this properly for your son.”
Katie Price: What Harvey Did Next starts on BBC One on March 7.
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