NEW YORK — Max Burkholder strives to be a normal teenager while working on the NBC drama “Parenthood.”

The 16-year-old actor attends school when he’s not filming the show, which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT, about the ups and downs of a large family living in Berkley, Calif.

Burkholder’s character, also named Max, isn’t your typical teenager. He has Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism.

Burkholder says he was 10 or 11 years old when he got the part, and he didn’t know about Asperger’s.

“In the beginning … I would meet with a doctor who specializes in working with children with Asperger’s as well as the director of the next episode and we’d talk about what Max should be doing, how he’d react in certain situations, things like that,” Burkholder said in an recent interview.

“Parenthood” is now in its fifth season. Burkholder says he feels more comfortable with the character and receives guidance less frequently.

“I sort of feel that I’ve figured out how Max specifically acts rather than how a person with Asperger’s would generally act.”

Burkholder’s character is extremely intelligent. He rarely looks others in the eye or displays emotion, unless it is frustration.

He is blunt and matter of fact in his speaking, but his observations can be funny – even cringe-worthy, because they are so honest and unrestrained.

– From news service reports