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Tuesday 2nd June 2020

Does Max Vento have autism in real life? The A Word star plays Joe Hughes in the hit BBC drama

The A Word star has been praised for his portrayal of autism

Child star Max Vento has wowed fans and critics with his portrayal of autism in The A Word.

The ten-year-old gives such a convincing performance of Joe Hughes that fans have asked if Max has autism in real life.

Here's everything you need to know.

Does Max Vento have autism in real life?

Max Vento does not have autism in real life.

However, he does portray the condition excellently on screen.

There was some controversy initially when he was cast to play Joe.

READ MORE: Does Travis Smith have autism in real life? Actor plays Mark Berwick in The A Word

Some thought the part would have been an incredible chance for a child with autism given how few opportunities exist.

Peter Bowker, the show's writer, spoke out to explain why they deliberately made the decision to cast Max.

"I have always been committed to casting people with disabilities to play characters with disabilities," he said during n interview with the Mirror.

"But it was too big an ask for a six-year-old on the autistic spectrum to imitate a whole range of emotions in keeping with the piece. By definition they have difficulty processing and imitating."

READ MORE: Who is Ben Chambers in The A Word? Here's why Alison's new love interest may look familiar

The writer went on to explain that Joe has less severe symptoms of autism and that it was important the role wasn't over-dramatised.

Prior to penning The A Word, Peter spent 14 years working with children who have special needs.

Paul is concerned for Joe (Credit: BBC)

What happens in The A Word tonight?

Tonight's episode kicks off on the eve of Ralph (Leon Harrop) and Katie's (Sarah Gordy) wedding (June 2).

As the village prepare for the big day, an unexpected visitor turns up – Ralph's dad, Dough (Ian Puleston-Davies).

READ MORE: Who is Ben Chambers in The A Word? Here's why Alison's new love interest may look familiar

It turns out, Louise (Pooky Quesnel) wrote him a letter revealing their son was getting because she thought he should know.

Ralph hasn't seen his dad in ten years in The A Word (Credit: BBC)

But it was never intended to be received as an invitation.

How will Ralph react after seeing his dad for the first time in ten years?

And how will Maurice cope given that he already feels pushed aside after Ralph telling him last week "you're not my dad"?

Elsewhere, Paul (Lee Ingleby) and Sarah's (Gemma Paige) romance appears grows from strength to strength.

However, their relationship is tested when Mark (Travis Smith) asks to take Joe (Max Vento) out for the day.

Is Paul ready to see Alison move on? (Credit: BBC)

When the big day arrives, the pressure off being centre of attention proves too much for Joe (Max Vento) and he refuses to leave his room.

However, Rebecca (Molly Wright) turns up and the mother-to-be saves the day – but there's clearly something on her mind.

READ MORE: Why did Paul and Alison split up in The A Word?

Later on she finally comes clean to Alison about what's been worrying her.

Elsewhere, Paul (Lee Ingleby) is forced into a situation where he has to spend time with Ben  (David Gyasi)..

Alison then finds out she isn't the only one that's moved on from her marriage.

What is autism?

The NHS states that autism is not an illness or a disease.

Having it simply means that your brain computes information and reacts differently to other people.

People with autism may experience the following:

  • Struggle to communicate and interact with others
  • Have difficulty in understanding other people's thoughts and emotions
  • Find bright lights or loud noises stressful
  • Get anxious or distressed when in unfamiliar surroundings and situations
  • Repeatedly do and think the same things
  • Take longer to process information

Autism is a condition that people are born with.

Children will typically show signs of autism while they are still very young, however, it is possible to get diagnosed later in life.

It is a life-long condition with no treatments or "cure", although some people do benefit from different forms of support.

The A Word series three is on BBC One, Tuesdays at 9pm.

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