Sunday, April 01, 2007

Nick News Focuses on Autism on April 22

Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, the award-winning children's news program on the Nickelodeon cable network, announced it is going to "look at the lives of kids struggling with different levels of autism" in the show "Private Worlds: Kids with Autism" which premiers April 22 at 8:30 p.m. eastern and pacific times.

You can read a press release on the show here. See the Nick News website here.

The press materials explain that Ellerbee's show covers everything the "regular" news covers -- from President Clinton's impeachment to the issue of genocide from the Holocaust to the Sudan -- only for a children's audience. Notes on this autism program, which of course coincides with autism awareness month, convey a plain-spoken, down-to-earth style and include the following:

Private Worlds: Kids and Autism begins with the story of Andrew, a severely autistic fifth grader. It's difficult to understand what life is like for Andrew because he can't communicate his feelings. His family can't go places or do things with out considering his needs, or without worrying he might do something inappropriate in public. Though Andrew will never get entirely better, the family is doing what it can to make his life as full as possible.

The special also introduces viewers to Bond, a 15-year-old with Aspergers Syndrome, generally considered a more high functioning form of autism. He's smart and articulate, but still has problems socializing. Temple Grandin tells her amazing story through her groundbreaking books about being autistic, and implores kids not to tease their autistic classmates. Matt is fourteen and has "Savant Syndrome," which means he possesses an extraordinary gift, in his case, the ability to play the piano. "Savant syndrome" is rare, but it happens.

A final segment highlights how other kids can be a part of the lives and worlds of kids with autism. We meet kids who are part of a special hockey program where kids with autism play with typical kids. Their story shows us that kids with autism have a lot to offer as friends. Private Worlds also features commentary from kids who are not autistic, but speak about what it's like to be around kids who are.

Also see:

MTV's "True Life" Features Teens with Autism

CNN's Larry King Live" Features Autism Talk on March 21

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