Learning the language of Autism

 

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The A word part 2

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The A word has created quite a buzz all over the country.  There are critiques of course, as there are those who are cheering it on. I am the latter, here are my thoughts.                                                               

Throughout the show I have experienced many differing views on each scene, finding myself to be super alert and attentive to any mistakes, in my opinion...I became so fixed on looking at it with a critical eye that I was not seeing the whole programme.  

Once I realised this, I watched with an open mind.  I laughed out loud at some bits, especially the Grandfather, who to me is hilarious. Amidst the laughter is of course in each character, some sadness, a struggle of their own. I feel the show highlights this beautifully. Yes the programme is called the A word and is built around Joe, the lad who has been diagnosed with autism. 

Although Joe has challenges in school, or to us it seems he does.  Standing against the wall at play time, not joining in with the other children. Not engaging with reading etc.  I think the programme highlights that actually for the most part, Joe is completely fine.  Of course this is showing one single scenario of someone with autism.  The thousands of others who are autistic have their own stories to tell.  

The latest episode, for me was the most powerful. As we now know the characters more intimately we can see them as real people. Well I can! The parents of Joe, take centre stage. Both love each other very much and yearn to be on the same page when it comes to supporting and parenting Joe.  In fact they are completely different in this.  

This latest episode shows the two conflicting views on emotions and the autistic child. Dad has the view that as Joe isn't showing any signs of obvious upset, due to his carer having to leave (as she had been living in the country illegally) then he must be ok.  Mum, on the other hand, after watching endless you tube videos and footage of autism, feels that show is locking away his emotions unable to let them out.  So she sets out various ways to explain and help pull out the sadness in Joe over this situation.  As a viewer and a parent of a non verbal autistic child, I could see so much.  On one hand I could see that mum looked to be projecting her pain and fear over the loss of the carer onto Joe.  She needed her support too, she found peace when Joe was with the carer as they shared an amazing connection, so mum relaxed.  I personally know the intensity of that feeling, especially in early diagnosis and some years to follow.  She is so focused on Joe that she rams through the family seemingly demanding their time and the same level of intensity that she feels.  She demands from a police Sergeant  that he ignore the fact that the carer is here illegally and let her stay so she can be with Joe..Joe, it is all about Joe! I could almost hear her screaming out loud.I felt it was very well covered and brilliantly acted. 

Dad floats along, maybe slightly in denial of Joe's needs to the extent that they are, but too is the calm and the reasoning within their parenting.  He does also notice that his step daughter is unhappy and does see more than the mum can see as she is fixed on Joe. 

Then their is Joe himself, who as an actor is outstanding.  I have met children with similar speech patterns and little ways about him. So the personality of Joe is real in the multitude of personalities and attributes that can be manifested within the autism realm. 

The subtle way the writers have included little threads that can be seen in each of the family members, from their own point of view.  None of them wrong of course, all very real and with good intent.  Yet all not really listening to each other fully, as they are still swirling in the unknown world of ' now our family is different and we do not know how to be!' 

I hope that it is given another series, for me it is a comforting and joyous programme to see on prime time tv. It is educational for those who know very little about autism, it is thought provoking and offers awareness to a real life situation that thousands of families are experiencing today. 

I do not know, still whether it is reasonable to think that every morning they allow Joe to walk along on his own listening to music with his headphones, whilst walking along an empty valley road. He is only 5 years old, rural country life or not.  We live rurally and I wouldn't think it safe for Jeorge to wander along on his own.  I guess it does highlight a piece that says we allow Joe to do this as we know he loves it and therefore needs it. Some could say it as totally irresponsible for the parents to do this.  When the carer was arrested for being here illegally there was no mention of the worry and danger of a 5 year old vulnerable child wandering the roads on his own.  

Summarising, I am happy with the series, it is a challenge to get this subject right.  To show all parts of autism it would have to be a different type of programme, as each person with autism is entirely different and every family would be dealing with issues and situations in their own way.  

I feel it has been acted and written with compassion with a genuine care to detail and the complex issues that can occur within a family network as one possible scenario with autism being a part of their lives.

 

 

 

the lives of those with autism, the despair and th...
The A word - kind of a review......
 

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