New character introduced on ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’: Meet Max, who has autism

PBS Kids adds Max, Teacher Harriet’s autistic nephew

"Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood"
"Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" (Photo provided by Respect Ability)

There’s a new friend in the neighborhood!

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” that is.

This beloved children’s show -- which is basically a modern-day “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” -- is very wholesome and sweet, so it only felt right that they made this move.

Earlier this week, viewers got to meet Max, Teacher Harriet’s autistic nephew.

The show cast Israel Thomas-Bruce, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 4, as Max. Israel is now 13. He said this experience gave him “an extra boost of confidence,” according to a news release.

One in five people lives with a disability in the U.S., the release said. 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.

“Furthermore, when representation exists, almost all representation of autism on screen is of white males,” the group Respect Ability said. “By making Max’s character Black, ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ is ensuring that a population, which is often overlooked, is represented.”

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