The A Word

Autism is an interesting form of disability that is now more in the public’s eye. Recently a Disabilityscoop* article popped up on my computer and caught my eye. I share the article about the show so you can look for it on your TV schedule.
The A Word is a one-hour drama about a family with a young child who has just been diagnosed with autism and it’s headed to television. SundanceTV will air the six-episode series later this year.

From Disabilityscoop about The A Word:

Described as thought-provoking and lighthearted, the show focuses on 5-year-old Joe, who is newly-diagnosed on the spectrum, and his parents Paul and Alison who are struggling with different child-rearing approaches.
In addition, the drama follows Joe’s aunt and uncle who are working to overcome unfaithfulness in their marriage and the boy’s widower grandfather who owns the family brewery.
The A-Word is exactly the kind of intimate, unique and emotionally impactful story we want to showcase on SundanceTV,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “It’s hopeful, honest and ultimately about the power of family, and the range of issues that families can face together, from autism to aging to adultery.”
The show, which will premiere this spring on BBC One in the United Kingdom before airing on SundanceTV, is based on an Israeli series called “Yellow Peppers.”

From The Guardian about The A Word:

Former Doctor Who star says he is ‘proud’ to star in the six-part series looking at a family struggling to cope when the youngest son is diagnosed with autism Christopher Eccleston is to star in BBC drama The A Word. Revolving around the Hughes family, The A Word depicts their struggle to come to terms with life when the youngest son is diagnosed with autism.
Described as “a funny and thought-provoking series about parenthood and childhood”, it will tell the story of how the Hugheses learn to communicate properly with each other in order to communicate with their autistic family member.
Talking about the project, Eccleston said: “I’m very proud to be reunited with writer Peter Bowker on The A Word. This is a special job for us all. We hope the audience takes us to their hearts.”
Rounding out the cast of The A Word is Our Zoo’s Lee Ingleby, Grantchester’s Morven Christie and Fresh Meat’s Greg McHugh.
The original series, Pilpelim Tsehubim, was broadcast in Israel in 2010. It was written and created by Keren Margalit, who will be an executive producer on the UK version.
In addition to writing duties, Bafta winner Bowker, who won for BB2 drama Marvellous, will also executive produce.
Twice Academy award-nominated Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty, Rev) will direct.
Bowker said: “We have the opportunity here to make something funny, tough, realistic and inventive about contemporary family life and autism. In a society where imperfection increasingly comes with blame attached, it seems timely to look at how autism is regarded both within a family and the wider community – and to give some insight into how that experience might be for the child on the autism spectrum.”
He added: “It’s a drama full of ideas – about parenthood, about disability, about communication, about community – and will emphatically engage an audience whatever theirexperience of the subject.”

It will be interesting how the show depicts a family who has a member on the spectrum. I will be most concerned how they view and treat the subject. All too often individuals with disabilities are portrayed as helpless, which tends to perpetuate this negative view. Or they might glorify and will treat the person as some hero or having some uncanny ability to offer insight into the family. I hope they treat the family as normal – with the typical struggles and joys all families experience. We’ll have to tune in later in the year to see which path is chosen.








The Cast from The A Word


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