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. 😢

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 autism and covid19, Autism In The News

EHCP Announcement part 2

Remember when I last posted about the ‘temporary’ suspension to EHCP’s?
Remember how I worried that it wouldn’t temporary?

I hate to say I told you so but the suspension has now been extended further until 30th June… This could be extended even further closer to the time.


In case you are unaware an EHCP is an Education, Health & Care Plan which is a legally binding document that is written by the Local Authority (with parental and other professionals help) regarding a child’s additional educational and care needs. The plan outlines the type of support or intervention that the child will receive to ensure that their needs are being met.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic I did understand why this had been placed on hold due to the changes which schools were facing in regards to social distancing and how many staff and pupils in a room etc however June 1st is the day they have been pushing for kids to go back to school but with the latest announcement it seems they didn’t mean all kids, they didn’t mean the kids that need additional support.

“Make no mistake, I want the UK to be the best place in the world to educate your child and make the most of people’s talents.

Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary

This was taken from a speech Mr Williamson gave about his plans for post-Brexit education. He focus on improving technical education and welcoming international students, what Gavin missed out in his little speech was education for the already under funded and overlooked SEN children.

The new announcement is disappointing but not surprising.

Instead of Mr Williams sharing any of this to his twitter account instead he shared this…

‘Hello NSPCC? I would like to report countrywide neglect of those with special educational needs.’

I suppose we will have to wait until the end of June to see if this suspension of pivotal EHCPs is lifted, I for one will not be holding my breath.