Three popular PBS KIDS animated series are debuting new themed episodes timed to Autism Acceptance Month, including a half-hour special from Hero Elementary (which is airing brand-new episodes all this week), a special episode of Emmy Award winner Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood featuring a bright young guest star, and a new profile in history from Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, based on the bestselling books by Brad Meltzer.
Viewers in the U.S. should check local listings for air times in their area. Coming up:
Friday, April 2 (World Autism Day)
Hero Elementary “AJ’s Extra-Superpower” – 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. (Half-hour episode.)
Monday, April 5
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood “Daniel Meets a New Friend” – Daniel meets a new friend named Max, who is autistic, and learns what he can do when Max needs more time to get comfortable and more space to play in his own way.
“A New Friend at the Clock Factory” – Daniel is at Chime Time with his new friend, Max. When Max is overwhelmed by the bright lights and loud sounds, Daniel and his friends learn what they can do to help make a calmer Chime Time so Max can play, too.
- New strategy song, “When a friend needs different things than you, there are some things you can do.”
- Max (Teacher Harriet’s nephew) is voiced by Israel Thomas-Bruce, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age four and is now 13 and in eighth grade. Active, smart and ambitious, Israel loves to tell jokes, play basketball and video games, and hand out with friends.
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum “I Am Temple Grandin” – World-renowned scientist, animal behaviorist and autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin helps Yadina make friends with a new boy at school, by showing her how great it is that people think and do things differently.
Tuesday, April 6
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood “Jodi’s Asthma” – Daniel is playing Splat Ball with his friends at the Enchanted Garden, but Jodi’s asthma makes it hard for her to run around. When she stops to rest, Daniel comes up with a new sitting-down game so everyone can still play.
“Daniel and Max Play at the Playground” – Daniel feels left out at the playground when there’s no room for him to play with Katerina and Max at the xylophone. Max’s big sister, Amira, helps them find a way for everyone to play.
- Guest stars Israel Thomas-Bruce as Max.