The A Word


I want to write this post about something other than ‘The A Word’ and I can’t. And equally, I can’t bring myself to state publicly that I like it, because I don’t. I have a strange addiction to it and and although I know it’s not bad for me, I hate the fact that I can’t stop watching it and yet I want it to end. Is there anyone else still watching it or is it just me? I’m now up to date with the episodes and whilst I get delight from watching Joe and his curious ways, I feel like I want to kick his mother in the crotch. The biggest reason as to why I want to shove my foot where it will ultimately cause her pain is because she is everything I don’t like about myself. She believes herself to be right (all the time), she is painfully driven as far as her son is concerned and she won’t take no for an answer. Those who are watching her (or me) may see a parent with an overwhelming amount of dedication to her son, her resilience and her no nonsense attitude, but there is a fine line between the qualities being strengths as opposed to weaknesses.

I am wondering when she (me) will calm the fuck down and give her husband, the school, the professionals and the rest of her family (including her son) a break and eagerly waiting for the last episode to come, which ends with this chilled out mother who doesn’t look like she is constantly whizzing her tits off. I was obviously feeling brave tonight as I watched a double bill of episodes and went through the usual process of mentally ticking everything off.

  • Yes, I have hang-ups if someone is seen to be rewarding Joseph’s ‘undesirable’ behaviour.
  • Yes, I get annoyed when he plays the same music/video over and over again.
  • Yes, Joseph is the one with the little routine in the playground.
  • Yes, I get over-excited at the thought he has a friend and has shown some recognition of emotion and feelings.

And the list goes on…

My brother used to say that watching ‘The Royle Family’ was like watching our own family (yes he exaggerates too!) and that is how I feel about ‘The A Word’. It’s brilliant that it is showing an example of how life can be for a family dealing with a diagnosis of autism but just like I wish for my Amsterdam journey to end, I am eager for this programme to end up in Paris. Intriguingly, Joseph was sat with me and he was mesmerised at Joe’s behaviour. Was there something soothing about what he saw and did it in turn make him feel comforted?

Joe is smart, funny, intuitive and I think him and Joseph would make fantastic friends and I’d love him to have a sleepover at our house. But Joe, please leave your mother at home, if she would like to keep her crotch intact.

I love how the show has sparked conversation amongst people who know nothing and those who know a little. But what you will find when anything like this starts, is there are a group of people complaining that the story is not representative of their experience of autism. Seriously though, how can it represent the whole spectrum with one character? You will get parents or autistic people themselves banging on about how everyone with autism is different yet we expect to see everything in one character.

For me, I think they did a great job and remember it wasn’t mean to be a documentary, it was a drama. The fact that there is a show at all is progress so let’s not get caught up in the minor detail.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lynsey says:

    Hi Tina. I caught one episode of The A Word and it seems it was one you are referring to in this blog. It was more on in the background when I was doing other things but I got drawn in and have to admit I thought about you a lot. I wondered how similar the characters were to you and Joseph. It left me feeling quite sad for each member of the family and I wondered if that is the intention of the programme makers or my perception of it or is that just the reality. I don’t expect an answer to that, it’s just me thinking out loud really. Anyway, your blog has answered some of my pondering, so thank you. I love the blog and the insight into your life and your head!

    1. Tina Medlock says:

      Hi Lynsey, I think it a fairly accurate reflection of our lives although I think some families don’t feel the same way. The problem is, each child and family will have a different experience and that cannot be portrayed in one series. Thank you for reading and asking though…I bet I am a psychologist’s dream hahaha x

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