Mick and Linda Carter were thrown into a spin during tonight’s episode of EastEnders by the news their son could be showing signs of autism.
The couple, played by Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright, attended a doctor’s appointment with their four-year-old son Ollie after he began to behave erratically.
Mick and Linda were shocked to hear Ollie could have the developmental disorder. However, they were told they would not know for sure until further tests had been carried out.
The BBC One soap is working with the National Autistic Society on the storyline, which will stretch across the summer.
Director of external affairs at the National Autistic Society Jane Harris welcomed the storyline as an opportunity to highlight the experience of those families affected by the condition.
She said: “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.”
EastEnders’ executive producer Jon Sen said: “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.”