The A word

Peter Bowker’s new BBC1 series is an insightful look at how a family cope to understand the world of autism after discovering that their son is on the spectrum.

This BBC drama that’s currently on BBC1 on Tuesday nights at 9pm is a Marvellously written by Peter Bowker. Five-year-old Joe’s behaviour begins to worry his parents, mum Alison and dad Paul, after Joe’s Birthday party doesn’t go as well as planned the whole extended family learn to help Joe by learning more about autism, but the story is just as much about adults trying, and often failing, to communicate without coming to blows. Something any family can relate to.

Joe finds solace in his iPod playing all his favourite music from the 80’s and 90’s. His special interest in music has allowed him to develop an incredible skill for remembering the lyrics to alt-indie music. This makes for some great scenes, Joe walking and singing across the Lake District with his headphones on, singing all the words to Human League, ‘Don’t You Want Me’.

Alison and Paul’s relationship is put to the test as they try to find their own way of coping with Joe. It seems that they have different ideas on how to help Joe. Paul wants to bend the world towards Joe and Alison wants to bend Joe to the world.

Bowker’s drama gives the viewers a genuine insight into what life can be like for a child with autism, without suggesting that this is what all children who are on the spectrum are like.

Many scenes in this drama send me back to my childhood and I remember just how difficult and wonderful it can be loving and living with child who has autism. If you have emotional questions about the autistic spectrum you can’t go wrong by watching this wonderful drama.

Watch Episode 1 to 4 now

The A Word –
Episode 1

In their idyllic Lake District home, the extended Hughes family reunites for Joe’s fifth birthday party. But tensions soon rise among Alison, Paul and patriarch Maurice when newly-arrived Eddie and Nicola suggest Joe has communication problems.

The A Word –
Episode 2

Following Joe’s autism diagnosis Paul, Alison and Rebecca clash over how best to deal with his first weeks at school. Eddie is troubled by thoughts of Nicola’s ex-lover Michael, and Maurice tries hard to avoid his singing teacher Louise.

The A Word –
Episode 3

Drama series. Alison gets a blast from her past when speech and language therapist Maggie arrives to assess Joe. For the family, it is time to face some uncomfortable truths.

The A Word –
Episode 4

An impromptu attempt to win Joe some friends leads to a breakthrough moment for Alison, but how long can it last? Maurice and Louise come to blows over Joe, while Rebecca turns to Eddie for relationship advice.


8 thoughts on “The A word”

  1. autism is very difficult and I am sure confusing for anyone with this at any age, my oldest son has autism. He is high functioning with a high IQ, but he has many social problems. He was picked on in school by the other kids most of his life, took him a long time to find a job he could do and get along with the other workers. there is a outbreak on this disease, I think it is the food we are eating the processed foods are not healthy for us or our unborn children………..very scary what people will have to deal with in the future.

    1. Hello Jeffrey, thank you for your comment. learning how to help a loved one with autism will never be a straightforward process seeing as no two people with autism are they same. Often I find that the world has a lot to learn about communication and I see that as more of a problem than the autism. Autism is a condition and I find it very hard to see it as a disease. I love my brother Adrian and I would never wish his autism away because it’s a big part of who he is. It is much better to learn and discover ways of helping him connect with the world by teaching the world as much as teaching him. It could have been a number of many different factors that caused my brothers autism but the fact remains that it can happen to many people, even mothers who stick to an organic diet during pregnancy. What we all eat contributes to so many problems. I myself have bad reactions to the hormones in dairy products. So I do understand where you are coming from.

      Autism is a condition that we can all learn to understand it better so anyone with the condition can have a greater chance of having a happy time in school and more luck finding work. Your son sounds like a very brave and determined man. The fact that he never gave up and eventually found a job he was good at. He overcome his social anxieties so he could work alongside other people. I really admire him knowing just this little bit about him. I imagine you are super proud of him.

  2. Coming to terms with a child’s Autism after diagnosis can be one of the most difficult things for parents to go through. Some may choose to live in denial. But I like your article because it unravels the mystery around Autism. It gives an insight into what life can be like for a child with autism, without suggesting that this is what all children with autism do. The majority of people perceive autism as a mental disability. But your article educates us. We learn that Autism is better to describe it as a condition of seeing the world in a different way to everybody else.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased I am able to communicate some of these ideas successfully. Thanks again.

  3. As a former Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked with children diagnosed with Autism, I think this show is great, as is your website!

    Most people don’t realize how diverse individuals with autism are. Every child and adult with Autism is an individual and different from the next person.

    I hope that your site helps raise awareness and understanding!

    Keep up the great work.

    1. Thank you Simone, I hope for the same. My brother and I plan to make the website more interactive and pleasurable to use so even more people will visit and explore the website, which will hopefully raise more awareness about autism and how being on the spectrum can alter the way you see and interact with the world. Please feel free to return and leave feedback and comments whenever you have the time. I would love to know your thoughts on all the posts we share on the website.

  4. Hi Adrian,
    Autism has existed for a long time but it seems like there is a lot more public awareness of it now. No one in amy immediate family has autism but I have several friends who have children on the spectrum and it can be difficult for the entire family depending on the severity. The A Word sounds like something that I would enjoy watching.

    1. Hi Yes its worth a look. I wonderful insight into family life, coping with the day to day challenges learning and loving can bring when someone we love someone who sees the world very differently.

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