The A Word episode 1 (Television) (Autism)

On watching once last night, I thoroughly enjoyed, I liked that it had drama as well as my obvious point of interest.

Joe isn’t like my son, he can talk better and is that bit more able. 

However, the first scene with him walking down the road showed the ‘otherness’ part of autism, loving listening to his music, enjoying his windmill, but the whole aspect of danger from being on the road wouldn’t occur to him. 

As it turned out people who knew him collected him and got him home. Again being around strangers and stuff too I guess.

I enjoyed the humour, the female child entertainer being seen by Joe’s Uncle and asking his dad ‘why have you booked a hooker dressed as a mermaid for his Birthday?’ 

I thought Christopher Eccleston was brilliant as Joe’s Grandad and his scene with his female music teacher was hilarious.

More difficult was the diagnosis scene and the creeping realisation by his parents that Joe was on the Autistic Spectrum.

I could critique the scene as its not a true to life process and many parents are aware of their children having issues and look into the whys, usually after checks on hearing and speech progress.

Nurseries too, do pick it up. For me, as my son was non verbal, nursery did pick it up, express concern and help us through the process. 

Diagnosis takes time. It’s a mix of worry and pushing issues and you do get the ‘pay-off’ as shown where you are told its autism, where you try to take in what that means whilst your heart breaks for your child. Being prepared or suspecting it never quite is enough for that moment.

There are daft questions and family misunderstandings.

The party for Joe was uncomfortable to watch as I’ve been there with that. Your child is on the sideline at their day, the missing invitations is something you become used to, it happens as visitors dry up and offers of help with your child stop.

Later in the episode with the argument with his sons at the barbecue, it’s clearer that Joe’s Grandfather has issues too, there’s frustration, use of inappropriate language, shouting. 

He can’t get across his worries and he’s on the spectrum it’s well played by the former ninth doctor, subtle and just enough slips to give away the way things work. 

I enjoyed the music too, some eighties and ninties gems were played.

I’m hoping for more on the Autism, but for hope that after diagnosis that things can be done and ways made for Joe to shine.

And well done to Young Max Vento. Good stuff.


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