We’ve already told you about Peppa Pig’s first same-sex couple, and now Thomas The Tank Engine is following suit with the first autistic character to feature in the animated show ‘Thomas and Friends: All Engine Go’.
The beloved children's TV show introduced Bruno the Brake Car, the first character to feature on the show with autism voiced by actors with autism.
Bruno the Brake Car will be voiced in the US by actor Chuck Smith, 10, and in the UK by 9-year-old Elliot Garcia, another young actor with autism.
In collaboration with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Easterseals Southern California, well-known authors, and people with autism, the character was created by Mattel Television.
The number 43 is painted on Bruno, which is a firetruck red colour with accents of black and yellow. On his exterior, he also has steps and a light that flashes to show his emotional state.
Bruno rolls in reverse at the end of the train, which gives him a unique perspective.
His character was carefully created to ensure an accurate fictional representation of a child with autism in the real world.
“Differences in abilities, skill sets, and ways of thinking - Bruno offers a unique addition to the types of stories we are telling in All Engines Go,” according to Monica Dennis, director of preschool content at Mattel, in an interview with Yahoo.
"Audiences will be able to see the real-life experiences of an autistic child through Bruno, including opportunities to learn and grow alongside him as he demonstrates his ability to give and receive support from his friends."
Future generations will have the chance to experience growing up with Bruno with appearances in a YouTube series, music album, the ‘Thomas and Friends Storytime’ podcast and the upcoming film ‘Mystery at Lookout Mountain’, Bruno's introduction will extend across all of the show's platforms.
It’s fantastic that we are beginning to see a reflection of society and help educate young ones on the uniqueness of different individuals. Bruno is an amazing addition to the show, and we can’t wait to see his relationships form with the other characters.