Po Wilson

From Autistic Characters Wiki
Po Wilson
Po wilson.png
AliasesPatrick[note 1]
Portrayed byJulian Feder
Appears inA Boy Called Po


Po "Patrick" Wilson is a character in the drama film A Boy Called Po

Character creation[edit]

Actor Julian Feder worked with director John Asher to aim for a respectful and accurate portrayal. John Asher's son is autistic[note 2] and they met with students at a school for autistic children. Julian Feder also watched documentaries about autism.[1][2] A variety of staff members also have autistic children, including Christopher Graham (who plays Po's dad),[3] writer Colin Goldman,[4] Andrew Bowen (who plays Jack)[5] In addition, the film is loosely based on the life of writer Steve Roberts, who also lost his wife to cancer and raised his autistic son by himself.[6] Christopher Graham has stated that it was important to get an actor who was not autistic, because they needed someone who would be able to play both Po in real life and Po's inner world where he is "a typical kid."[7]

Biography[edit]

Po Wilson is a 12-year-old autistic boy living with his parents, when his mother dies from cancer. His father, an airplane engineer, struggles at work while also trying to raise Po by himself. Po is struggling and being bullied at school, and turns more inward into his fantasy world. In this world, he encounters Jack, a fictionalised version of the school janitor who protects him from bullies, in various forms (pirate, knight, etc.). He also meets a British girl Amelia Carr, whom he tells his dad about, although his dad thinks he's talking about a real-life friend. His school considers him to be regressing and wants him to go to a special education school, but his father pushes back against this. When his dad also loses his job and health insurance, it becomes more difficult to look after Po, and child protective services get involved after a benign trip to the ER. After another series of incidents, his dad caves in and sends him to a residential school where they do ABA. This causes him to turn inwards even more and he is on the verge of staying in his inner world permanently. In the end, everything turns out okay where Po comes out of his inner world, his dad gets a breakthrough on his airplane design and begins a relationship with Po's occupational therapist, his school wants him back with a plan form his dad, his bullies get expelled with the help of Jack's witness account, and it turns out Po has used his interest in financial news to get US$400,000 worth of investments into his dad's bank account.

Appearance[edit]

Po is a 12-year-old boy. He has brown hair styled in a bowl cut.

Autism[edit]

Po speaks mostly by echolalia. He is constantly stimming with this hands.

He retreats often into his inner world, dubbed The Land of Color, where he is seen to be fully verbal and has a more neurotypical body language. Here, he meets Jack, a fictionalised version of a school janitor who helps him after he's been bullied. Jack appears in various forms, including a cowboy, knight, pirate, and astronaut. He also meets Amelia Carr, a British girl his own age who reads from an encyclopedia and helps him escape from school bullies. Amelia Carr is initially not revealed to be part of his imagination. Both Jack and Amelia try to convince him to stay in the Land of Color permanently, but a desperate pleading from his dad pulls him out of it.

The Land of Color is explained as a sort of series of alternate realities that only certain people can tune into, and by tuning into these alternate realities, one appears tuned out of the actual reality.

Reception[edit]

A Boy Called Po had received mixed reviews, with some praising it for being a touching story and others cricitising it for its use of cliches such as the magical autism trope.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. his full name is Patrick, but he always goes by Po
  2. Evan is the son of John Asher and Jenny McCarthy, of anti-vaccine fame

References[edit]