This April, just in time for Autism Acceptance Month, three popular PBS Kids shows – the Emmy-winning Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum based on Brad Meltzer bestselling books, and standout superhero series Hero Elementary, will premiere thoughtful stories that shine a spotlight on characters with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Monday, March 29, kicks off a week of brand-new Hero Elementary episodes, including “AJ’s Extra Superpower,” a special half-hour show, debuting on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2.
In the new episode, when a little girl’s toys keep disappearing from her backyard, Sparks’ Crew discovers the culprit is a neighbor’s dog. How will they keep it out? AJ’s Extra Superpower (his autism) is the key.
Then, starting Monday, April 5, a week of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episode premieres kicks off with a special episode that will introduce families to Teacher Harriet’s nephew, a new friend Max, who is autistic. As Max joins Daniel and his friends in various activities, the group and young viewers at home learn a brand-new strategy song, “When a friend needs different things than you, there are some things you can do.” Max is voiced by Israel Thomas-Bruce, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 4, and is now 13 and in 8th grade. An active, smart, and ambitious teenager, Israel is very social and loves to tell jokes, play basketball and video games, and hang out with friends.
Also on Monday, April 5 is a new episode of the hit series Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum — featuring world-renowned scientist and autism advocate Doctor Temple Grandin. In “I am Temple Grandin,” Temple helps Yadina make friends with a new boy at school by showing her that people think and do things differently.