Arjo Atayde praised for portrayal of autism in ‘General’s Daughter’ scene

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2019 12:47 AM

Arjo Atayde, according to fans, captured how a young man with autism would react when confronted with the idea of death. Dreamscape

It's a difficult thing to do, to portray a man with autism. There are a lot of pitfalls actors can fall into, some of which could possibly reinforce negative stereotypes about those with the disability.

But it's clear that star Arjo Atayde did his research and put in the work needed to nail the role of Elai in "The General's Daughter" when, in Wednesday's episode, as his character, broke down and mourned the death of his father. 

Many were touched by Atayde's performance in the scene, where he belatedly realizes that his Papang (Emilio Garcia), who was shot at repeatedly by a mystery assailant, had died. 

It was at this point when Elai was first confronted with the idea of grief, and the delay --perhaps brought about by his unfamiliarity with the situation-- only made his meltdown ("Gising na, gising na," he tells his Papang again and again) more sincere. 

(A summary of the praise for Atayde can be viewed in the video below. To view the actual scene people have been talking about, skip to the 11:23 part of the video)

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On Twitter Thursday, Atayde wrote that he has read the positive comments fans have been making over the scene. 

"I can't explain how much I appreciate it. I love you all. Thank you so so so much. I am humbled and because of your love. I will not stop learning! Cheers!" he said. 

Prior to the airing of the teleserye early this year, Atayde had spoken about how he went and visited people with autism to learn how to properly portray them onscreen.

He also said that it became his nightly habit, before going to bed, to watch videos and movies about the disability.