PBS Kids is marking Autism Awareness Month with special new cartoon episodes

"Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum" and "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" will both introduce characters with autism next week.

PBS Kids is marking Autism Awareness Month
PBS Kids

A special new visitor is stopping by the PBS Kids cartoon "Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum." In an episode set to debut on Monday, April 5, little viewers will be introduced to Ben, a little boy with autism. He doesn't like loud noises, and he likes things to be done in a certain way.

The show's main characters Xavier, Yadina and Brad want to better understand Ben, so they travel back in time to meet Dr. Temple Grandin–the famed real-life scientist and activist who herself has autism.

The friends learn how to be more accepting throughout the 11-minute episode, and how to celebrate what makes someone unique. "People think and do things differently. And that's OK," the character Yadina says.


"We took great pains to portray what it means to live with autism and show inclusion," the show's illustrator Chris Eliopoulos said. He also noted that a young actress with autism was hired to portray the Temple Grandin character.

On "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood", Daniel and his friends will meet Max—their teacher's nephew who has autism. The kids learn how to be patient if Max doesn't respond right away, or when he only wants to play by himself. "Sometimes he needs more time to understand the question and decide how to answer. Let's give him some time," Teacher Harriet tells the class in one clip.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood | Daniel's New Friend Max Exclusive Clip | PBS KIDS www.youtube.com

We are so happy to see these new additions, because they're doubly important. Representation matters, and we hope kids with autism will be excited to see characters that may reflect some of their own experiences. For neurotypical kids, the new characters offer an amazing chance to learn how to be understanding and supportive of friends and classmates with autism—and that the things that make us different are also what make us special.

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