EastEnders is working with the National Autistic Society on a storyline which follows Mick and Linda as they worry their youngest child Ollie could be autistic.
In tonight’s (Tuesday 11th June) episode, viewers saw Mick (Danny Dyer) and Linda (Kellie Bright) attend an appointment with four-year-old Ollie where they were told their son is showing signs of autism.
“EastEnders has a history of doing ground-breaking stories that resonate with the nation. When Mick and Linda start to worry about Ollie’s behaviour, they face various challenges as they search for the answers necessary to help their son. EastEnders has been privileged to work closely with the National Autistic Society to accurately depict the pressure and struggles that can be felt by parents as they begin this journey.” – Jon Sen, Executive Producer of EastEnders
Over the past few years, since a fall from his highchair, Ollie has been having regular check-ups at the hospital which has led to the signs of autism being noted. In the coming weeks, Mick and Linda will begin the autism assessment process with Ollie. But first Mick has to come to terms with the fact the potential diagnosis isn’t as new for Linda as it is for him.
“We were absolutely delighted when EastEnders contacted us about this storyline. We jumped at the chance to be involved because we recognised that it was a fantastic opportunity to help millions of viewers understand more about the autism assessment process and what families go through in order to get a diagnosis.
“There are over 700,000 autistic people in the UK and most people know someone who is autistic, whether it’s a friend, classmate, colleague or family member. Yet only 16% of autistic people and their families feel the public understand autism and half of autistic people sometimes don’t leave the house because they’re afraid the public won’t understand them. So, it’s hugely encouraging to see more TV dramas representing storylines about autism in their work.” – Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society
Ranging in severity, autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people perceive the world and relate to others. To find out more, visit the National Autistic Society website at https://www.autism.org.uk/