PBS KIDS to Air Autism-Related Episodes of Popular Children's Shows


To help promote autism awareness, acceptance and understanding, PBS KIDS will air autism-themed episodes of several popular children’s shows throughout April, Autism Awareness Month.

PBS KIDS’ autism-themed programing starts April 10 with the “Meet Julia” episode of “Sesame Street,” which introduces the show’s newest character, Julia, a muppet on the autism spectrum. The channel will also be featuring autism-related episodes of “Dinosaur Train” and “Arthur.”

“Our PBS KIDS Autism Awareness Month programming is important as we reflect the diversity of our audience through our characters. The more kids can relate to these characters, the more they will learn from them,” Linda Simensky, vice president of children’s programming at PBS, told The Mighty. “We feel that including special needs and disabilities into that definition of diversity is vital, and we want to set an example for kids so that they are comfortable interacting and communicating with those who may be a little different from them.”

In addition to autism-friendly programming, PBS also offers a website for parents featuring educational resources and a website for teachers with materials and activities for kids on the spectrum.

The full schedule is as follows:

Sesame Street 

“Meet Julia”

Sesame Street residents meet Julia, Sesame Street’s newest addition, a red-haired, green-eyed muppet on the autism spectrum.

Dinosaur Train 

“Junior Conductor’s Academy (Part I)” – April 10

The kids are all excited! Why? Because they’re off to Junior Conductor’s Academy in Laramidia to try to become Junior Conductors First Class. Buddy has a feeling he’s going to be a star in class, until he meets Dennis Deinocheirus – a kid who knows even more dinosaur facts than he does! Can Buddy get over his disappointment that he’s not the smartest kid in class, and make friends with Dennis (who seems like he’s having trouble making friends on his own)?

“Junior Conductor’s Academy (Part II)” – April 10

Now that Buddy and Dennis are friends, they have to work together (with the other kids) in order to pass a series of tests. If they succeed, they’ll receive their Junior Conductors First Class pins! But standing in the way of their success is the most challenging instructor of all… Thurston Troodon!

Arthur

“When Carl Met George/D.W. Swims with the Fishes” – April 10

George is excited about spending time with his new friend, Carl, who seems to know all kind of cool facts about trains and about… well lots of things! Then George learns that Carl has Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes Carl see the world differently than most people. Can George and Carl remain good friends – and perhaps even learn from each other?

“Pets and Pests/Go Fly a Kite” – April 11

There’s a mouse loose in the Read home! And D.W. wants it gone… NOW! When traps fail, Arthur enlists the help of an expert mouse catcher…a fearless hunter who laughs in the face of danger: Nemo??  / While playing in the park, Binky, Muffy, and Ladonna stumble upon an abandoned kite. After failing to find the owner, the trio decides to take joint custody of the toy. But sharing it is easier said than done…

“Carl’s Concerto/Too Much of a Good Thing” – April 12

Carl has agreed to play the accordion for George’s puppet show. But his routines are getting in the way of rehearsals. Now George must decide: keep Carl and risk the show, or replace Carl and risk his friendship? / Buster enlists Binky’s help to keep him from gorging on delicious Tuvaluna cookies. Will Buster’s self-control hold…or crumble?

“He Said, He Said/Bunny Trouble” – April 13

A special episode of Bionic Bunny is interrupted, and Arthur, Buster, and George try to remember what comes next. But Carl is the only one who can straighten out the story. / D.W. is excited to be taking care of the class bunny, Larry. But when Larry is feeling adventurous and wanders off, it’s up to Ladonna the “Bunny Whisperer” to help get him back.

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