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.
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.”
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.
What happens in The A Word series 3 finale?
Tonight (June 9) marks the final episode of The A Word series three.
Rebecca (Molly Wright) takes centre stage when she drives up to Manchester visit Joe’s (Max Vento) school.
She makes the long car journey on her own after he asks her to talk to his classmates about her pregnancy.
After spending time with her brother and his classmates, Rebecca’s worries about her baby having autism are finally put at ease.
However, drama strikes when the siblings travel back home to the Lakes.
While travelling down a remote country lane, Rebecca goes into early labour.
And to make matters worse, her phone battery is dead.
Due to his autism, Joe becomes frightened when Rebecca starts screaming in pain.
Will the baby be okay?
Meanwhile, Ben (David Gyasi) asks Alison (Morven Christie) to join him for lunch to talk about their relationship.
Unfortunately for Alison, he doesn’t have good news.
Back at the Lakes, Sarah (Gemma Paige North) also has disappointing news for Paul (Lee Ingleby).
Fortunately, not everyone’s love life is going quite so badly.
After tying the knot last week, Katie ( Sarah Gordy) and Ralph (Leon Harrop) move in together – leaving Louise (Pooky Quesnel) struggling with empty nest syndrome.
Maurice tries to put a smile back on her face with a grand gesture but is Louise ready to take the next step?
You can catch up on The A Word series three on BBC iPlayer.
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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