However, I am a bit horrified that this topic was covered so explicitly. The target audience for Arthur is ages 4-8, according to the PBS Parents' website. Was it really necessary to explain Asperger's to this age range? Personally, I think a show that handled the broader issue of how some kids are different and appreciating these differences would have been a more age-appropriate approach, while still imparting a wonderful message.
We are not ready for our daughter to know about her autism or Asperger's. We've boxed away all of our books on this topic. We keep any papers with the words "autism" or "Aspeger's" out of her sight. The last thing we need is for her to watch this episode of "Arthur" and to have a big AHA moment. Also, I'm not sure I want her peers to be educated on this topic yet and to make the connection with my daughter. At school. That would be just peachy.
So now, not only do I have to constantly check the DVR queue to be sure I delete this episode when it comes up, I also have to hope and pray that my daughter doesn't view the entire episode on the PBS website. Because it's posted there. That's how I watched it.
Another PBS kids' show that doesn't address Asperger's but is clearly geared to kids on the spectrum is called "Dinosaur Train," which covers two common areas of obsession for kids on the spectrum--dinosaurs and trains. My daughter recently discovered this program through the PBS website and absolutely adores it. I watched one episode and was amazed at it also. While the PBS Parents' website says that this show is geared to preschoolers, they certainly can't be accused of talking down to them. The show teaches about a variety of dinosaurs, using the full, scientific names. They also discuss which of the three mesozoic periods the dinosaurs come from (Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous). The train has the ability to travel through time tunnels that span through these three periods.
As if this weren't enough to excite a child on the spectrum, they have the world's least charismatic paleontologist, Dr. Scott Sampson, to give additional information about the species of dinosaur that was covered. At least I hope he's the least charismatic. If he's the most charismatic....the thought is too horrifying! They also stress that a lot of information is not known for sure, but are hypothesized. They throw that word around quite a bit.
Really? Three and four year old kids were the target audience for this show? Maybe they do love it, I don't know. I do know that this show probably attracts a huge viewership from kids on the spectrum.
I'm just saying!