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

Autism on the big screen – part one

After reviewing Jessie Hewitsons book and BBC’s The A Word it got us thinking about how autism is depicted in movies and I couldn’t immediately think of a single movie I had seen in which depicted an autistic character.
So after a quick google search (what did we do before google eh?) I came up with a list of movies we want to work through and review or in some cases pick apart 🤔

So our first choice was on all the lists of movies we found and it was the first to come to my head and Dave kindly agreed we could watch it (not that he has a choice, I don’t think he even knows how to use our smart remote 🤣)

Forrest Gump

Author Winston Groom, star Tom Hanks nor director Robert Zemeckis have ever commented on if Gump was intended to be portrayed as autistic but there are so many traits scattered throughout the movie that it would make it too much of a coincidence however the novel was written in the mid 80’s and autism at that time was not widely recognised or understood so I highly doubt that the character was written with autism in mind but realistically in the mid 80’s did anyone have autism in mind?

Don’t let anybody tell you they’re better than you Forrest… If god had have wanted us all to be the same he would have given us all braces on our legs

Mrs Gump

That journey to school is excruciating to watch, his little face as he walks down the bus. Kids can be awful. This is what terrifies me if we can’t get him into a special school. Kids are not easily accepting of any one different to them especially as they get to high school age.

Young Jenny: Are you stupid or something?
Young Forrest : Mama says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Their first meeting is so iconic but what really jumped out for us was that Jenny just accepts Forrest for the way he is. She asks the question and that is it. She wasn’t malicious about it and didn’t push the question.
Will that be what it is like for William? Will we have to warn every parent & child that William is special, that he has autism or that he is different? Or will he be able to handle it on his own?

Oh god the bullies 😭 I would personally climb into that TV screen and knock those little bastards off those bikes!! 🥊
Poor Forrest bleeding from his head but he ran those braces right off! My heart immediately thinks ‘yes, go on Forrest! you outrun the bastards’ but my parent brain is saying ‘his mother should be asking that Orthopaedic doctor for a refund. Those braces didn’t last long enough to straighten his back!’

One of the main stand out traits is that he is lacking of social understanding, he doesn’t understand the etiquette of social situations.
He meets two presidents, he tells one of them he has to pee and when the second one jokes about seeing his bullet wound he thinks its a serious question and reveals his buttocks.

He is a very literal in everything he does as shown with his facial expression and rigid response during this iconic exchange.

Watching Forrest put his rifle together with such sheer determination is like watching William play with his Mega-blocks. The process is almost mechanical, they know how it came apart and they know how it goes together so could happily and easily repeat it numerous times.

That look of love and admiration in Forrest’s eyes whenever he see’s Jenny is magical although if William ever brought home a girl like Jenny then she would be buried under the patio à la Brookside.

Tom Hanks is hands down the only actor I feel could have played Forrest, nor because he is the actor that does play him but because he does it with such an innocence about him that I feel many men of Hanks age would struggle to pull off.

I know we are purely speculating but if Forrest does have autism it make perfect sense as to why he would do so well in the army, not that I would ever let William join but think about it…

  • A strict and immovable routine
  • Constant clear instruction
  • Uniform

Every thing has a structure, your bed is made in a certain way. Your uniform has to be cleaned and worn in a specific way. Its ideal for those who relish a routine.
Its no surprise Forrest made it to sergeant during his enlistment. In one scene he is seen to be wearing several medals.

  • Purple Heart – awarded to those wounded in battle.
  • The army good conduct medal – awarded after 1 year of faithful service during times of war (3 years if no current war)
  • National defence service medal – awarded for service during time of conflict.
  • Vietnam service medal – for service within that specific war.
  • Republic of Vietnam medal – awarded by the Vietnamese to foreign troops.
    FYI – it is engraved with a start date but no end date as they were made before the war was over.
  • Medal of honour – given to those who have performed distinguished acts of valour.

💕Bubba💕
He is such a brilliant friend, he immediately accepts Forrest for who he is, he helps him and genuinely cares for him. He plans to be friends forever. I hope William has a friend like Bubba when he’s older. Hell I wish I had a friend like that now.
After the explosions in Vietnam Forrest tell himself that he needs to go back and save Bubba and despite stopping and saving his entire platoon he keeps going back oblivious to the danger because all he needed to do was get Bubba and he was locked on that mission so everything else didn’t matter. I know its not no where near the same but William has no sense of danger at all would walk through fire to get to his hearts desire… usually food related, highly likely a biscuit🍪

Another thing that stands out throughout the movie is how literal Forrest is and his lack of inner monologue.

Forrest shows many of the common traits of obsessive behaviour but the biggest stand out obsession is ping pong.
He plays when no one will play with him.
He sleeps with his paddle and ball.
He didn’t want to change his paddle despite being offered a lot of money.

Some nights I have to pry my egg poacher out of Williams tiny death grip whilst he’s asleep.

He then becomes obsessive about running, he didn’t think about it and just kept going. Every dead end he reached he turned around and went in the other direction. In the film he was running after Jenny left and it could be that he was running away from the pain of her leaving but it seems that in my opinion he was running to fill the obsession gap that jenny had created. Filling the void so to speak.
3 years
2 months
14 days
& 16 hours
that is beyond obsessive! It’s not neurotypical behaviour.

I had never realised before but as Haley Joel Osment gets on the school bus and Forrest sits down he was keeping the promise he had just made to his son. He told him he would be waiting right there when he got back and that is exactly what he is doing.
He is sitting there until the bus comes back. 😢