But it is profoundly disappointing that the show’s writers seem so uninterested in giving Joe anything of his own—whether that be a real hobby, a pet, or even, yes, a friend.(Surely there has to be another kid in North England who appreciates rock?) These are all things that shape the experiences of autistic children, but are nowhere to be found in The A Word.
Sarah Pripas Kapit @Sarah Kapit The most important thing to know about BBC’s drama The A Word is that it both is and is not a story about autism.
On a basic level, The A Word is very much an autism story.
In fact, several different characters suggest that Joe is destined to be alone forever.
This includes Joe’s older sister Rebecca (Molly Wright).
The Clichés of Autism Parents Most autism stories focus heavily on parent experiences, and The A Word is no exception.
Joe’s parents Paul (Lee Ingleby) and Alison (Morven Christie) are prominently featured.
Typically, these conflicts are exacerbated by the characters’ inability to be honest with one another.
Although the show is titled The A Word, an equally apt title might be "Neurotypical People Are Bad Communicators." While I admit that this particular style of family drama is not to my tastes, I appreciate that the show has chosen to include so many subplots not specifically related to Joe’s disability.
The show does attempt to demonstrate that some of Paul’s more egregious behavior is wrong, which I appreciate.
But there are far too many ableist assumptions that go completely uncontested.
Given this premise, it is remarkable how many of the show’s scenes have little or nothing to do with autism.