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What Watching ‘The A Word’ Was Like as a Person With Autism

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Well, what can I say? Except that was by far the best program I have ever seen on autism. I am not great at expressing emotions, but I cried throughout certain parts of the one-hour show.

I was a bit skeptical about this show considering most of the others have been stereotypical and focused mainly on our negative traits and “fixing us,” etc., but “The A Word” was completely different from that. I was blown away, and as a person with autism I can say I am impressed and am unable to get over the brilliance of not only the storyline, but the acting, the information, and how they got the traits down to a T. I would easily watch it again right now.

I feel this program changes everything, and if you have not seen it I would highly suggest for you to find a way to watch it, as I could relate to aspects of the character Joe’s life from when I was a child. Parents have been messaging me and telling me they could relate Joe’s traits to their son or daughter, and I can easily see why.

The birthday party scenario was perfect, and it’s true that many people with autism do not get invited to birthday parties. We could send out invitations, but not receive any back. We can feel isolated from the rest of the world, and I feel this party situation (and the football situation) showcased that perfectly. The acting was not false, and I believed every minute of it.

They also focused on many of the positive traits, including intelligence, love and communication in our own special way. One particular quote I enjoyed from the show was, “A cure? It’s not a disease.” And another was how the doctor expressed that autism is not child-exclusive. She did not say that in so many words, but after mentioning all the traits do not present themselves at 5 years old, I thought it was described brilliantly.

The parents arguing, the fall-out with other family members was handled with such realism that I thought I was actually a part of the show. And the special interest with music? That’s what I could relate to the most. The need for headphones for many of us when in a crowded environment was explained well, as well as meltdowns and communicating via our special interest. When it sometimes appears like we’re ignoring you when we’re not, and instead we have difficulty processing information.

Difficulty with sleep, interacting with peers, facial expressions — all done faultlessly, and not one trait was expressed in an over the top manner, which surprised me. Usually at least one of the traits of any TV show or movie is taken to the next level so that it almost seems comical. But no, it was excellent.

I would rate the first episode of “The A Word” 10/10 for its sheer brilliance at tackling a subject so close to home, and all the actors and actresses pulled it off. It deserves an award. I can’t wait to watch and review episode two.

I would go as far as to say it has the potential to change how the general public views autism for the better. It has its negatives and positives, but that’s the reality of it. They kept it real, and damn, here come the tears again.

I believe the show will have a positive impact on the autism community because of the way they showcased the reality of how autism affects the individuals and their loved ones. It did not over-stereotype a specific trait, and they got it perfect. It had such a great impact on me personally as someone with autism because I could see myself as a child and how much I struggled. I had a strong emotional connection to Joe, and it is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I would recommend this show to anyone.

Bryan’s review complete, over and out! Please watch “The A Word”!

A version of this post originally appeared on the Asperger’s Syndrome Awareness — Bryan’s Advocacy Facebook page.

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Originally published: March 23, 2016
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