Meet 4 PBS KIDS Characters with Autism

Meet 4 PBS KIDS Characters with Autism

April is National Autism Acceptance Month, and we’re spotlighting shows with great representation!

By Allison Fuller

One in five people lives with a disability in the U.S., and the lack of representation - less than 1% in children’s television - means that millions of children are unable to see themselves in media today. For National Autism Acceptance Month, we're sharing 4 wonderful PBS KIDS series to watch on Alabama Public Television.

Did you know Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has a friend with autism?

Meet Max – Max is Teacher Harriet’s nephew, and like many kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, he is sensitive to overwhelming stimuli like loud sounds, bright flashing lights and uncomfortable fabrics. Daniel Tiger and his friends learn what they can do to help make situations calmer so Max can play, too.

Are you familiar with Julia from Sesame Street?

Meet Julia – a sweet and curious four-year-old with autism. Elmo and Abby help the other kids on Sesame Street understand that even if Julia doesn’t look you in the eye, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to be your friend. Simply by making Juila “part of the gang,” she is already having a big impact. Sesame Workshop has additional autism resources available for educators and parents here.

Have you seen this superhero-in-training from Hero Elementary?

Meet AJ – a main character of the show’s “Sparks’ Crew” with the power of thought projection. He is a student at Hero Elementary who is full of passion for all things super: comic books, superheroes and the gadgets they use. He also happens to be on the autism spectrum. Learn more about AJ and the other characters here.

Did you know Carl the Collector, a series centering autistic characters, premieres this fall on APT?

Meet Carl – an autistic raccoon and the main character of Carl the Collector, a series following Carl's everyday adventures. He is logical and precise with a lot of energy, yet he often struggles with anxiety in new situations and has difficulty when things don’t go according to plan. Like all of his friends, he is learning that there is no right or wrong way to be himself. Learn more here.

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These educational programs and services of Alabama Public Television made possible by the generous support of the following contributors:

Community Events & Engagement
  • Books-A-Million, Young Heroes
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama, Be My Neighbor Day/Young Heroes
  • Brookmont Capital Management, Young Heroes
  • C. W. Daniel Charitable Trust, Young Heroes
  • Medical Properties Trust, Young Heroes
  • Fred Rogers Productions/PNC, Be My Neighbor Day
  • WNET-CPB, Sesame Street in Communities
General Support
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)
  • Public Broadcasting Services (PBS)
Learning Adventures
  • Alabama Bicentennial Commission
  • Alabama Humanities Foundation
    a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Alabama State Council on the Arts
    a state program of the National Endowment for the Arts
  • American Graduate
    a program of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Daniel Foundation of Alabama
  • Malone Family Foundation
  • Robert Meyer Foundation
  • Sybil Smith Foundation
  • Troy Univiersity
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
Media Library
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, American Graduate
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, American Graduate, Getting To Work
PBS Kids Programs
  • Alabama Department of Human Resources
  • Alabama Power Company
  • Books-A-Million
  • Children’s of Alabama
  • HEAL Alabama
  • Medical Properties Trust
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Professional Development for Educators
  • Community Foundation of South Alabama, PBS KIDS EdCamp
  • Sybil Smith Foundation, PBS KIDS EdCamp
Workforce Development
  • CAWACO, Career Forward
  • Southeast Alabama Works, Career Forward

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