Posted in Reference

BBC – The A word – Season three review

I have been putting off watching season three for quite some time now as one of the main themes for this season is Alison and Paul’s separation and subsequent divorce. As you can imagine this was hitting a little too close to home, so I had to turn it off until I was emotionally ready, but I think that time is now. So, I dug it out of my Sky planner and started again since things are no longer as raw for me although I am fully aware my review may villainise Paul, but I will do my best not to call him a c**t throughout.
I remember writing during my season two review that William’s dad and I needed to make a conscious effort to spend more time together so we didn’t end up like Paul and Alison, which is laughable now I read it back as he was already spending his time with someone else 🤣


Episode one… Oh dear god, I forgot just how much I love Christopher Eccleston as Maurice! I am sure I have said this before and will say it again many times, but when did he become the Grandad and not the leading man? Because I totally would 😍

Why is Alison blonde? It’s very off-putting… maybe it’s just that thing all of us girls do when we go through a breakup and try to have a glow-up. I’m mean I’m now a bloody red head 😂

The season kicks off in true A word tradition with Joe having a meltdown, he is seeing his dads new house for the first time, this isn’t the safe place Joe once called home. We like to think that wherever we are, is our safe place for our children but in some cases bricks and mortar mean just as much. This is hitting a little close to home. I hope I am ready to watch this 🤔 Especially as I have all this to come when William’s dad finds his own place. We do have a plan to slowly introduce William to the new environment and make it as familiar as possible which is why my spare bedroom has a mass amount of duplicated toys and furniture etc.
Joe has ran away from the new house to seek comfort in the old house, he has no boundaries or sense of ownership and doesn’t grasp the concept that it now belongs to someone else.
I chose to stay in my house after William’s dad left, some of the memories and lies that went on here hurt but this is my home, William’s home. This is his safe place. my safe place. our safe place.

Paul is angry at Maurice about the fact Joe has started to reject his headphones and music in which he usually takes comfort in, he’s saying Maurice taking Joe to the new house has caused this… obviously it’s not Paul’s fault for not being able to keep his dick in his pants 🙄
I’m grateful in a strange way that William is still very young and may not remember us as a family unit, hopefully he will just remember the way it is now. If he doesn’t remember, then he can’t be upset by it.

I think I have said this for each season’s review but I fucking love Maurice and Ralphs relationship.

Holy shitballs! Ralph has just announced he is getting married and moving out, Maurice looks like he’s about to keel over and after his collapse in a previous season, his high cholesterol and high blood pressure, this may finish him off. I do hope they don’t kill Maurice off as it would lead to such major heartbreak for Joe. Death is inevitable for all of us but the hole someone leaves when they die has a much greater impact for someone with autism.
Rusty is now 7 and I am already freaking out about if something happens to him or he passes away. How would William cope without him? He sleeps on the landing outside William’s bedroom and in a morning, William lays on his side of the baby gate next to him just stroking his fur. How do you replace that kind of love, that comfort? You can’t!

“when you’ve got a kid that’s like Joe, you get used to feeling like you’re failing’

Alison Hughes – The A Word

Amen to that 🙌🏻 Amen to those tiny moments in which you don’t feel like a failure because I can tell you this in all truthfulness; they are so rare. It makes me happy that this has been vocalised. Honestly sometimes I feel like I have a VIP membership to the shit moms club and take responsibility for loads of bad things that are outside of my control.
Some days, it’s my fault, it’s all my fault, it’s always all been my fault… but I know that’s it’s not but it doesn’t stop that guilty feeling which is why I often seek validation in my parenting from the professionals I deal with. Jane from the incontinence service telling me I was doing amazing boosted me more than she could ever have known.

“I am so ready to fight people all the time”

Alison Hughes – The A Word

I can wholeheartedly get onboard with this feeling, as a parent of a child with special needs you become so conditioned in have to fight due to flaws in the massively fucked up system, fighting for support, education, facilities, services, we have to fight for everything, and it ever gets any easier and it is hard to get out of that fighter mindset.

  • Stare at my kid – I’ll fight you!
  • Comment on why my child is in a stroller – I’ll fight you!
  • Let my child down – I’ll fight you!
  • Mess up his routine – I’ll fight you!

The list goes on and on and in soe instances a fight isn’t necessary and in some you have to fight harder than ever before. How do you learn to differentiate between the those that require a fight and those that do not?


Episode two and Rebecca is having a baby! It will be interesting to see how Joe reacts to someone taking his sisters attention from him, he is asking a lot of questions about where the baby is now? Where will it sit? Will it cry? Its almost as if he is preparing himself.

There is a beautiful montage showing Joe going to school and his relationship with his teacher, Heather. I don’t think I will ever see Julie Hesmondhalgh as anyone other than Hayley from Corrie, I half expected her to be wearing that red anorak.

I have just nicely received Williams draft EHCP (but we will discuss that in more detail soon) and it talks about describing transitions to William and its great to see it in action between Joe and Heather.

Mark had decided he isn’t autistic anymore because he has stopped banging his head and smashing up his mom’s furniture. Paul rightly explains that, that isn’t all autism is.

‘I know what autism is and it isn’t me’

Mark Berwick – The A Word


I am not ashamed to say I was crying at this point. Messy crying. Loud messy crying, well it started out silent but didn’t end that way.

They are using social stories as a communication method which again is something mentioned in Williams EHCP, so I enjoyed seeing it in practise. The story used to explain Rebecca’s pregnancy and what the baby means to Joe is really well suited to the situation, I’m guess that’s the point, but it makes me eager to start looking into these for when William reaches that level of understanding.

❤Ralph & Katie❤
Aren’t they just couple goals?

Joes’ attachment to Heather is apparently a problem, I don’t quite understand this, so I hope they elaborate more. I know first-hand about the disappointment that comes with attachments to professionals. We have seen it so many times when William forms attachments and then someone leaves or moves on in their careers that it can be catastrophic, also known as blowing William’s routine apart… Linda, Val, Sarah and even his dad. These people coming and going from his life have had massive impacts upon William routine and often cause a regression in his behaviours.


Episode three and there is a Ben? Who is Ben? Is it wise to introduce a new person to Joe? Is he new? I mean he will have seen him in the playground. I have spoken about introducing new foods but if your child doesn’t like a different brand of chicken nugget how can you knowing introduce new people? Especially if you don’t know they will stick around because after all people do always leave in one way or another.
How can we as parents know if someone has the best intentions towards us? William can’t tell me if someone is mean to him or has hurt him. How would I know? How could I trust someone? Not only with William but with myself? After everything how do you even consider letting someone into your life again? It’s a hard thought to process so I think I will put that aside for now and revisit at a much later date.

Paul is upset that Joe has done things with Ben… He needs to go and fuck himself! Their separation was his doing! He had an affair! He can’t expect Joe not to have life experiences when he isn’t there, he made his choice and he need to accept the consequences of that choice.

This episode isn’t very Joe focused, its more about how the family is handling their other relationships. You kind of forget that these needs maintaining too. Joe wants his dad late at night and Alison simply drives all those miles to take him, I don’t have that option nor that kind of relationship with William’s dad but maybe one day things will be easier.


Episode four, Paul and Bill’s worried mom Sarah just makes me feel a little queasy. Their relationship is soo forced and the lack of chemistry is laughable.

Rebecca is in an antenatal class and her sheer discomfort takes me back to when I was pregnant with William, she looks utterly lost and frightened. I remember it very well, that feeling of wondering if you are ready, will you ever be ready and then the realisation that its too late to prepare and 9 months definitely isn’t long enough. 😂

Oh no Maurice isn’t Ralphs best man! How could he pick someone else? Who is this, Josh?
Ralph has just told Maurice off for being pushy ‘You’re not my dad’ I like to say I’m good at foreshadowing so I’m presuming that his dad may make an appearance or there will be a revelation of some sort 🤷🏻‍♂️

‘It’s guilt you know; I never know where his autism ends, and my bad parenting begins.’

Alison Hughes – The A word


I feel you Alison, I really feel you. You plan everything like I do and for the same reasons. This season my heart is truly with you and I don’t think it was before, it was easy to hate you as I saw a lot of myself in you and it was a projection on how I felt as a mother and sometimes still do.

Joe is overwhelmed at the prospect of the walk his mom has organised, he’s withdrawn and trashed his room… It’s a familiar scenario for me.

Ooh I don’t like the fact Ben has jumped in to back up Alison in a disagreement with Paul about how to handle Joe. Its not really any of his business and how can he presume he knows Joe well enough to comment! Strike one Ben, Strike one! ❌

‘Why do you have to be different? Why do you always have to be different?’

Joe Hughes – The A Word

More tears… not ashamed in the slightest! How can that not make you sad? My heart breaks for Joe 💔
Rebecca has convinced him to go on the walk, he turns up in true style with a hat, his headphones and a bubble gun 🔫 he seems happy even though he was struggling with the thought of the walk, he seems truly happy and its beautiful. There are even more tears #sorrynotsorry

Rebecca is scared that her baby may be like Joe, she feels bad for it as if it means she doesn’t want Joe. I think despite the fact there are many reasons I never wanted more children, the main focus is because I am scared, what if I had another child like William? I think it solidified it for me.  What if William couldn’t cope with a sibling? I think I struggle with William sometimes so how could I handle two children let alone the possibility of two children with additional needs. I know people that do it and make it look so easy and I’m envious of them, but I guess I’m also scared for me, can I do that to my mental health? What if I have another breakdown? It was so hard coming back from that dark place; I don’t think I could make it out again? But then there is a new reasoning to my decision… do I really want two kids to two different dads? What if it didn’t work out? I never imagined my marriage would breakdown… forever doesn’t always mean forever, apparently forever means until someone else turns my head, the grass looks greener or life would be easier 🤷🏻‍♀️
Maybe I should become a spinster and then I can stop worrying about this stuff, I could collect Cats stuffed animals and refer to them as my babies, wouldn’t have to worry about introducing new people into Williams life then… a stuffed bunny never hurt anyone 🐇

I sense tension between Ben and Alison already… He wasn’t happy with the fact she said she would be coming up to bed in a minute and not straight away. Strike two Ben, Strike F***ing two!


Episode five…

‘Now I walk’ – Joe Hughes.
They just let him walk? Is this normal? Should I let William do as he pleases, when he pleases?

I called it! Ralph’s dad has just arrived and its Owen from Corrie! Poor Ralph didn’t know he was coming, and he looks confused and unimpressed. It’s been 10 years, what did Owen Doug expect?

I love Louise, she is a warrior, the true embodiment of the phrase ‘tiger mom’. If I am half as good of a mom as she is, then I am happy 🥰

🤮 Sarah and Paul… I just can’t handle it, she is so awkward and his is a c**t so slimy.

Mark has offered to take Joe to the Zoo Park? I’m guessing this is like a petting zoo. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Paul has agreed to let him, but he is freaking out, I’m not sure if he is freaking out because Mark is autistic or because he hasn’t looked after Joe before. He’s responsible enough to have a job in Pauls pub but I do understand the worry, as I’m not sure how I would feel about it if it was William he was taking out but then again I don’t really trust anyone with him. I can count on one hand the people who have looked after him away from me, not including his dad…
* Mom & Dad
* Helen
* Julie & Dave
* Leanne and family
* Danielle & Shannon

It’s a small list for a four-year-old but it took me a long time to trust anyone with him and that has nothing to do him having additional needs but more about how I felt as a mom.

Ralph’s dad is opening up to Maurice about how he felt so disconnected from his family due to Louise’s closeness with Ralph, I sort of understand this as I don’t make it easy for people to understand William the way I do. Although that being said it doesn’t justify the fact he abandoned Ralph!
It does upset me that Ralph feels like he should apologise for liking his dad. Her obviously senses the tension his dad’s presence causes and it’s really painful that he feels that it means he shouldn’t like him. I do hope Louise hasn’t badmouthed him in front of him as parents should never do that to their kids no matter how much they are hurting or the circumstances.

It’s the wedding day! Louise and Katie both look stunning 😍
Maurice has gone to collect Doug for Ralph, that’s love. That’s pure and selfless. I really do hope he gets a last minute promotion to best man #MauriceForBestMan

Ralph is so happy his dad is there; I have genuine tears in my eyes. He truly deserves happiness after everything he has been through.
Ralphs entire face lit up as he sees Katie walking down the aisle. Their vows are amazing, so lovely and very them 😊
Josh’s speech is good but I stand by my hashtag!

Paul keeps getting cockblocked by Bill which is the highlight of their relationship for me although if I have to watch Paul roll his eyes one more time, I swear to god I will jump into the TV and punch him in his throat 🤬

‘You’re not my dad. You’re better.’

Ralph Wilson – The A Word

More tears, happy tears… Team Maurice!


Episode Six is the last in this series and there are no more to watch, no more have been made but season four is expected to be released in 2022 however this is yet to be officially confirmed by the BBC.

The episode starts off with Rebecca walking instead of Joe… Is the baby about to make an appearance?
I love Maurice! He’s following her with a wheelbarrow haha 🤣 he has my dad sense of humour so if I was Louise (or even my mom for that matter) I would have murdered them.

Oh dear god, I hate Paul so much!!!
and Ben, I hate Ben too!!!

Its Ralph and Katie’s moving day, their little house is lovely. Maurice sitting down with a drink and the TV remote after all the heavy lifting is basically channelling everyone’s dad ever! And yes Mr H, that is you too 🤣

And…… he’s out of here! Strike three for Ben! ⚾ Bye-bye dick head! He’s just railroaded Alison into a corner and forced her to end thing because she isn’t in love with him yet. He been on the scene like 2 minutes!

Louise silently breaking down in Ralphs old room is devastating, it feels so real and raw that it breaks my heart 💔 she is a superb actress.

Shitting hell Ben is back, well he’s not back but he’s still in the café with Alison. He’s pushing Alison and she has been hurt too much to open herself up like that and he should have been patient with her but its too late now. He redeems himself a little bit by doing Joe’s signature goodbye… ‘Hug or Handshake’ and Alison chose handshake, good lass!

Sarah and Paul 🤢 the slow cooker analogy is quite cute but that’s probably because it was Sarah’s way of ending things. Serves you right Paul, you c**t!

‘Change can be good’

Mark Berwick – The A Word


Can it be good? And I don’t just mean for our autistic kids but for us as their parents? Change never initially proves to be good for William but he does slowly adapt, I think if I had my way, I would make sure nothing changes in our lives, but I know that’s a naïve was to expect life to be. There are changes you cannot predict that you just have to react to and hope you are doing the right thing. There are changes we bring about ourselves that can be planned and brought about with a strategy. My inner control freak needs at least three months’ notice for changes 🤣

Rebecca has gone into labour and she is on her own in the car with Joe, he isn’t handling it well and just put his headphones on and walked off! I would love to know what that kids step count is.

‘Its private, I don’t want to see her vagina’ – Joe Hughes

Not the best way to tell strangers that your sister is about to pop out a sprog 🤣

Its very unrealistic to see the full bloody family in the waiting room, I know this isn’t set during the pandemic since I put it off for so long but it just feels even more unbelievable because of the current situation.
Rebecca also has a ward to herself which is utter bullshit! 💩 I had a twin room and must have had at least 4 different cellmates roommates by the time I was discharged.

Aww Louise has finally told Maurice she loves him, even though we all knew it already. They are soo brilliant together 💑 They are engaged by the end of the episode which makes me very happy, its like watching your mom and dad get a happily ever after.


OK, so I am not sure how I feel about series three, the ending seems so final as everyone has their happiness, I do hope we get a series four. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed it as much as I did the previous two series, I am not sure if its because the primary focus was the aftermath of the divorce or because I didn’t learn as much as I had whilst watching its predecessors. Who knows? 🤷🏻‍♀️
I am looking forward to another series but it’s a long way off if ever.

If you have any recommendations of what I can review next let me know in the comments or drop me a message on the let’s talk page, I’m thinking Atypical but open to ideas 😊

Much love M xx

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Posted in Reviews

BBC – The A word – Season two review

Episode 1 throws you straight into a meltdown. Joe once again has put himself into danger and climbed the school roof.

I’m autistic, I’m autistic, I’m autistic. Nobody wants that.

Joe Hughes. The A Word.

After telling the whole village about Joe being autistic I would have thought his parents would have spoken to him about it. I understand he was 5 when he went missing but to not even address it is a little peculiar. It’s really sad that he had to hear he was autistic from someone else.

Telling William that he is autistic has never been a question for us. When he is old enough to understand we will explain it to him. Our main issue is how we tell him, how we will explain it to him. It’s not as if we can answer the why’s he may have. ‘Why me?’ I don’t know son. We asked ourselves the same question for years. It’s a hard thing to plan because we don’t know at what age he will be ready for this kind of conversation.

When things like this happen, it’s always Joe it happens to.

Sarah Hibbs. The A Word

The speech with the other parents at the school was interesting. It’s a lack of understanding. It’s like the other parents expected them to be able to just come up with a way he can stop these behaviours but it’s not that simple. The reasons behind not sending him to special school were very similar to the ones we had before we decided where to send William. It’s a hard decision to make. Do you want them to have a ‘normal’ school life? But then who is it normal for?  Or do you send them to somewhere who can speak and educate them on their own level?

I’m not the same.

Joe Hughes. The A Word.

Episode 2 starts with the change to Joe’s morning routine. Not only is the school itself different but due to how far away it is there isn’t time for his morning routine meaning Joe is struggling even more with the change. I really love the look book they created for him. Pictures of his old school, teacher and friends and the pictures of what the new school is like. I’ve seen parents in my support group who’ve made very similar things to address changes or events. To go step by step through what will happen on a holiday, in an airport etc. They’re brilliant and if it’s something we will need in the future I look forward to naming them for William. I love a bit of crafting ☺

He’s our family’s north star, we follow him. It’s how it has to be.

Alison Hughes. The A Word.

Paul’s face when Mark is having his meltdown is so full of fear and I understand that. Is this kind of meltdown what he has to look forward to? Autism isn’t something children can grow out of and it looks as if Paul has just realised that and it is hard. That realisation that this is with you for life and it’s hard. That moment if first dawns on you. It hits you like a brick to the first but hurts twice a much. 🤕


Episode 3 had more Ralph ❤ I love Ralph so much and his relationship with Maurice is so innocent and really good to watch. I’m so glad he hired him at the brewery.

Well to be honest I did feel a bit of a stirring in the glove compartment 🤣

Maurice Hughes. The A Word

Episode 4, the night away without the kids. Without Joe. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be the centre of their universe but they have massively lost touch with themselves as a couple. I worry about Dave and I, before I was on furlough we rarely saw each other and just touch base every now and again but it was always William centred. I think we need to make a conscious effort to spend time as ourself when lockdown is over. Dinner and a movie as Marie and Dave instead of as William’s parents.


Episode 5 starts with a video of Joe. A video his auntie has compiled of his behaviours. She wants to use the video to help parents who have ‘Joe type’ autism. She clearly explains that when people think of autism they either think of a non verbal child in meltdown or a rain man type. Autism is such a big spectrum it’s difficult not to picture one type of person. I suppose autism has a stereotype just like anything else. I will forever picture William when I think about autism but that’s not what I pictured before. I suppose its difficult to be educated in something so vast. I can honestly say that until it became part of our lives I hadn’t bothered to learn anything about it.

The arguments between Paul and Alison are so hard to watch. Paul seemed so accepting in season one but as time has gone on he seems to regress and swap places with where Alison was in the beginning.

I love Joe but I hate his autism!

Paul Hughes. The A Word.

I’m really struggling to sympathise with Paul. It feels like his character has done a complete 180° he was accepting and understanding and now he is just a bit of a pathetic dick. Especially with his views on the video. I can’t understand why he doesn’t want it used if the footage of their son can help local GPs diagnose autism sooner by giving them a better understanding.

It’s a different way of being human

Alison Hughes. The A Word.

Mark ❤ he reads his hope’s and aspirations that I believe are for his EHCP. His just wants things everyone else takes for granted, the be happy, to have an education and to be accepted by friends. Its heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time.

Every bit of progress that has ever been made to peoples attitude towards autism has been made because people talked about it, were open about it, explained it.

Nicola Daniels. The A Word.

Episode 6, season finale. Paul just wants to run away, he wants to pretend nothing is happening. He wants to end his relationship because he can’t cope with how well Alison is coping. Its upsetting because they should be pulling together but statistically parents raising a child with autism are 10% more likely to get divorced  compared to those with neuro typical children. This is much more prevalent for those who’s children are 8 or over. So 5 years left of married bliss before I have to give Dave the old heave-ho 🤣 but on a serious note it is difficult to pull together when you each have your own ways of dealing with a diagnosis. We do worry about it, me more than Dave as I’m often a neurotic mess but the thoughts are always there. Will we make it through this? Can we make it through because there isn’t an end really? There is just the journey.


Overall season 2 was brilliant but in a completely different way to its predecessor. It seemed to focus more on the fractured relationships of the family rather than on Joe. It was a greta watch but again not in the same way the first was.

I would still highly recomend it and personally look forward to season 3. 💙

Posted in Reviews

BBC – The A Word – Season one review

People were shocked when I said I hadn’t heard of this little BBC show. You know cause as parents of an autistic child we automatically should have seen it 🤣

So the first episode throws you straight in to everyday life for the Hughes family, Joe’s behaviours, the ways in which his parents compensate for him and explain away any problematic issues (He just likes music…) and the way others have already started discussing him behind their backs.

When season 3 premiered I received deluge of texts and calls saying it was back on,  I had to watch it, It’s about autism! Although I am really glad otherwise I wouldn’t have known to check it out. It did make my laugh at the time because Big Nan called as her friend called her to tell her to call me 🥴

I think i must be about 10 mins in and the confrontation between Alison and her family who think there is something wrong with Joe is so familiar that it has me sobbing 😭 The blinds are open so anyone passing may think I’m having a breakdown. Its not in any way easy to admit your child is different and its most definitely not easy to listen to someone else say it.

The cast is brilliant especially the 3 main family members; Mum, Alison. Dad, Paul and Joe. I’m slightly concerned that Christopher Eccleston is the Grandad and not the leading man… when the Hell did that happen? How old am I?🤔

Alison is doing exactly what I did, she is researching and dealing with Joe’s issues in secret like there is something to be ashamed of. Almost as if its dirty. Not the fact there is something wrong but the fact you believe it.

During Joe’s assessment with Dr. Waites Paul keeps jumping in and she threatens to make him wait outside. Dave was always so quick to jump in a explain away William’s issues and sugarcoat things. To be honest I think we both were but it took Dave longer to be honest about it.

The whole thing about birthday parties and invites is something that I worry about massively as William gets older. Will William want to be invited to parties or will it be us wanting him to be invited? It seems like the lack of invite for Joe is affecting Paul and Alison but Joe himself is oblivious.

Someone shared something on Facebook the other day about how hard it is to have people stare and judge when your little one is having a meltdown.
It really does hurt when people do this. I totally understand that some people may not grasp what our child is doing and why but that doesn’t give them the right to pass judgement. It is hard to keep your chin up when your little one is trying to take other peoples food in a restaurant but then throws their own food behind their back or decides to lay on the floor or crawl instead of walking. We have actively avoided certain places. It sound ridiculous but planning to take William anywhere takes more preparation than a bloody wedding. 👰

It’s not going to go away if we call it something different.

Dr Waites. The A Word

Episode 2 jumps straight in showing Joe isolated at school, he seems perfectly happy but it hits Alison hard. William is really happy alone and we have had to learn how to play with him rather than teaching him how to play with us. However more times than not he chooses to be alone and will walk away from us to do his own thing. It took us a long time to get used to this as following him will upset him.

They push Joe into doing things he doesn’t want to do. To play in different ways, to play in a way in which is deemed ‘normal’ but this isn’t Joe’s normal and its uncomfortable to see.

Alison worries about him becoming labelled in school and how it will effect him. Paul argues that he already has a label with his autism diagnosis but she is having none of it. I guess this brings us back to one of our older posts about the benefits and pitfalls of having a diagnosis. Check it out here…

Its interesting to see how Joe’s diagnosis effects the rest of his family and to watch the conversations had behind closed doors, especially from Maurice as he doesn’t hold anything back and says it as it is. It does make me wonder what our families have said about William before we were so open about it. Did they say things like ‘he isn’t normal’? Did they grieve for the grandchild, nephew or cousin that they thought they would get? It is eye opening as in the beginning you are very much in a bubble, its just you and your child fighting for diagnosis and help but you forget the rest of family are still there with the same worries and feeling you have.

I really feel for Rebecca as the older child. She seems to be going through a pivotal part of her adolescence and no one seems to be noticing or caring. She is just left to her own devices and frankly a little neglected. She obviously cares for her brother a lot which is brilliant and they have an amazing bond, she just ‘gets him’ but it also beautifully highlights both the disadvantages and advantages of having other children. Check out our post about it here…

Watching Joe have a meltdown because he can’t get what he wants is an all too familiar situation. Joe is very vocal about wanting his music and shouts and breaks things. Whereas William will lash out at me or himself to vent his frustration. Before we could admit anything was wrong I used to think it was a way of him manipulating us into getting what he wants, although we now understand that it’s more like what William needs rather than wants. Needs to feel safe and comfortable. Whether it is a biscuit or BabyTV or even for us to press Duggee’s musical arm 5 million times in a row 🤯

Shame (insert naked Cersei Lannister here)… its something we all feel no matter how old our child is when autism is first addressed or even whispered about. Paul hit the nail on the head when he is telling Alison she is ashamed of him for having it, ashamed of them for not picking it up sooner and ashamed for feeling ashamed in the first place.


Episode 3 starts with the first meeting with a speech and language therapist… It feels a little unrealistic as it happened so quickly. There are no wait lists in the lake district? She came from Manchester so there must be no wait lists there either… Think we need to relocate 🤔

Maggie, their SALT is nothing like ours. Its was a frightening experience but that was all in our heads. I’m not a massive fan of people I don’t know coming into our house. I tend to get really anxious and end up snapping at Dave every time. our SALT was lovely, her name is Sally and she really put me at ease and William enjoyed interacting with her.
Maggie is very straight talking and blunt and although it makes me like her from a viewing point of view, I can not imagine she would have gone down so well had she been the one to turn up at our house. I suppose all professionals have their own approach and use it to determine how to help their patients.

Alison is desperately trying to communicate with Joe and even tries to engage him in play. She is desperately trying to bribe him to do things with her, it feels like she wants to show Maggie that this isn’t her fault. In a look at me sort of way.
I feel her pain. I would love William to sit with me and read books without eating them or play with cars on the floor in the conventional way but that’s not how he plays. He takes comfort in lining his toys up and moving them from place to place which is a solitary activity and if I get involved he gets upset.

Another thing I find super unrealistic is the fact Maggie spends so much time at their house on first visit and the fact she is coming back the following day. Is she privately paid? If that is the case why didn’t Alison recognise Maggie’s name? We waited Months and months for a SALT visit and months after that we have still only had the one which lasted about an hour.

More prime examples of Rebecca being brushed aside and forgotten.  She is trying to get her parents to show an interest in her school play and they immediately turn it into another conversation about her brother. Every time she tries to talk they ignore her.

It is something we are very aware that we already do, our world revolves around William, making sure William is getting the adequate support is our main focus and it is one of biggest talking points. Why shouldn’t we tell people what’s going on, his achievements or even how hard it is? But this shouldn’t been done at the detriment of other siblings. This is why having another child worries us so much. The unfairness of it all. How could we go from giving William 100% of our time and energy to splitting it? could it be split equally? Should it be split equally?

Alison missed Rebecca’s play, she missed it and it was so important to her. All because she wanted to bully Maggie into seeing Joe. To top things off they end up arguing about Joe and don’t even realise that Rebecca has gone 😢 I can almost smell the teen pregnancy story line in the works.

I must say the soundtrack is absolutely belting 🎧


Episode 4 starts by showing how much strain Paul is under and how Alison is pushing all her energy into Joe and getting him help. She has actively volunteered for the school in order to gain more insight into Joe’s behaviour with other kids and it’s difficult to watch. It made me feel uncomfortable, she is there to supposedly help the other children read but is focusing on spying on her own child the entire time. However I don’t think I should be surprised she is neglecting other peoples kids when she ignores her own daughter all the time.

The Fever Effect, A fever usually makes you less alert, tired, and ratty however in some children with autism, a fever makes them ‘better’, more social, alert, even talkative. It has been described as providing a glimpse into what your child might be like without autism.The hope in Alison’s voice as she tell Paul that Joe is ‘turning a corner’ after he has been poorly is absolutely heartbreaking. You can see it in Paul’s face as they embrace that he knows it’s not true. And then the next day Alison describes him as being ‘back to abnormal’ 😢

She said she felt like she could see the real Joe underneath all his autism. 🤔 Joe is Joe. Having autism is part of who Joe is, it’s a pivotal part of Joe’s make up the same way it is William’s. Those moments in which he looks at me and I mean really looks are so special and I wouldn’t trade those for the world. even the times he can stare into space and be in his own world and then just giggle at whatever is in his head…. granted late at night this creeps me out and I often refer to him as a psychopath 🤪

Oh god Rebecca hit the nail on the head suggesting Alison’s manifesto for school governor. ‘All children matter but not as much as Joe’ ouch! Shots fired! 🔫🔫🔫


Episode 5 shows how the loss of a person can massively effect not only someone with autism but their family too. It beautifully displays the slow build up of Joe’s emotions and how he struggles to release them. He loves Maya in his own way and the fact that she has been taken away from him takes it’s time to sink in fully and its heartbreaking to see. He begins by withdrawing slightly and then slowly goes into full blown meltdown. Its beautifully handled by actor Max Vento.

William’s main worker at nursery was originally a woman called Linda, he loved Linda so much and couldn’t wait to be with her. He didn’t bother with other children but could happily spend all his time with her. Linda was lovely and motherly not only to William but to us too, she just had a way about her that immediately put you at ease. I knew our little boy was safe with her.
BUT William couldn’t stay with Linda as he needed someone who was trained in children with SEN to help him develop.
In came Val… she specialised in SEN. She was going to be William’s key worker meaning he couldn’t spend his time with Linda. It was OK at first but then William started actively trying to find Linda at nursery, giving Val the slip. When this didn’t work he stopped wanting to go to nursery at all. 😢 Do you know how we fixed it? We didn’t. It was hard and difficult but he needed Val. He needed her to support him properly in his education but he needed Linda for comfort and we had to chose which was most important and that had to be his education.

Paul’s and Alison’s discussion about having another child perfectly represent in equal measures our own thoughts on the subject. They argue about it as two sides of the fence but with us we just sit in the middle both agreeing with the reason for and against but commit either way. One day it’s a 100% not a chance in Hell and the next we are a little broody. 🤷‍♀️


Episode 6, the series finale. It kicks off at the launch of their family pub and Joe is struggling. It’s hard for him to be around so many people in a new environment. It’s bloody hard for me to be around so many people in a new environment and I don’t have autism. Alison is desperate for Joe to stay as he is part of their family but Paul is quite happy for him to be left out and removed from the situation which feels as if it’s done to save embarrassment.

Joe goes missing whilst with his grandad. Paul and Alison are speaking to a search party and they’ve just admitted to everyone that Joe is autistic for the first time. Alison describing the fact he may not know he is lost or in even in danger has really struck a chord. One of my biggest worries about William’s future is because he has no perception of danger. I’m sure I have said it before but he would walk off a cliff if it was to get to biscuit.

The suspicion that falls to Ralph is awful. Alison immediate pegs it for what it is and that it’s because he has Down syndrome. Just this small conversation shows how much Alison is growing in her acceptance of disabilities but then she goes round to their house and confronts Louise and Ralph anyway 😕. She shows these signs of growth but then disappoints as usual. The theme of prejudice runs strong in this series finale especially how bad it can be within such a small community.

Overall season one was brilliant. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t an easy watch and some parts have been like re-watching conversations and feelings Dave and I have had over the past two years. The stress placed upon Alison and Paul’s relationship. The lack of communication. Its things we have all gone through as we come to terms with as Paul puts it; our grief over the children we could have had.

Its is definitely a series I would recommend to anyone who has an autistic child within their lives as it gives an accurate insight into not only what the child goes through but their families too.

I look forward to starting season two and hope it is as good as the first 😊