There’s a whole host of brilliant children’s TV for pre-school aged children available at the moment- many of which manage to strike the balance of being exciting for kids whilst ticking the educational box for us, their parents!
But what about teaching children about special educational needs and disabilities?
Are there any pre-school tv series that help children to understand about special educational needs and disabilities?
We’ve recently discovered a wonderful Children’s TV Series called Pablo that, through it’s fun episodes, helps children to understand about autism. It illustrates how and why some children find certain situations, such as strange sounds, busy environments and changes to their usual routine, difficult. Pablo has also been created to help autistic children identify why they may feel certain ways in different situations. This series is also wonderful as it helps the peers of autistic children to understand autism and learn how to support their friends.
What are the episodes about?
We’ve been watching Series 1 of Pablo which, through its 52 fantastic episodes, depicts the day to day life of a 5 year old autistic boy called Pablo. During each episode Pablo draws his own imaginary animal friends that ‘come to life’ and help him to make sense of any difficult situation or feeling he may encounter during the day. The episodes cover everything from busy children’s parties to anxiety over strange noises.
What did we like about it?
- Enjoyable to Watch– Most importantly, the children really enjoyed watching it and were desperate to watch more and more episodes. Enjoyment is absolutely crucial with children’s TV programmes, as there’s no point having a series with fantastic messages like this one about inclusion, if no one watches it. The kids loved the mix of live-action and animated scenes. The cartoon characters are colourful, beautifully drawn and fun. They also cleverly depict the imaginary world that Pablo has created using his crayons. This world and it’s characters help him to make sense of any difficult situations that might arise. The children learnt so much from listening to the different characters perspectives and their ideas of how to solve tricky situations. It not only provided them with tools themselves to deal with similar situations, but fostered empathy for others who might find some situations more challenging. During one episode, for example, Pablo hears a strange noise from his room and goes into his imaginary world to ‘work out’ what this noise could be. Whilst watching this, we saw the children guessing too about what the noise could be and why it might be upsetting Pablo so much. It was lovely to see them emphasising with Pablo and his worries.
- Realistic Storylines– What I particularly liked about Pablo, was how relatable the episodes are for a young child. The characters aren’t whizzing off to space or diving under the sea, instead it’s real life, day to day life that children can truly relate to. I think by relating to what Pablo was doing in each episode it also helped them relate to him as a character.
- Encourages Understanding and Empathy– I was struck by how much the children learnt about autism whilst watching this programme. They had lots of questions about why Pablo was upset and why he didn’t want to do certain things. These questions provided a great and natural opportunity to discuss autism and special educational needs in general. Pablo is a brilliant programme for developing empathy skills too, the children were desperate for Pablo to find ways to cope with certain situations and were coming up with their own suggestions to help. Truly heart warming to observe and hopefully nurturing a kind and empathetic nature in the children that they will put into practise in the ‘real world’.
- Inspiring– Pablo is the first animated TV series to star an autistic character and the first TV programme with an all-autistic core cast. The series helps to celebrate the differences between us all and as the series’ creator Grainne McGuinness explains, “Pablo is not just a TV show, it is a movement for change, and it is helping the next generation understand autism!”
Where can you find it?
*Please note this blog post was Sponsored. All opinions are our own.