All Engines Go for Thomas & Friends’ New Autistic Character, Bruno
September 09, 2022
September 09, 2022
We can’t say it enough: representation is important, especially when it comes to kids. From the books we read to them, to the toys they own, to the shows they watch on TV, it’s everything when children can see pieces of themselves in the characters and items they idolize … which is why we jumped for joy when we learned the beloved “Thomas & Friends” is introducing a brand-new friend to the mix—and he has autism!
The Thomas crew’s newest friend, Bruno, is a “joyful, pun-making brake car.” Frankly, that’s something we can get all aboard with (pun intended, of course). We love that Mattel Television and the show’s creators are planning to show off Bruno’s personality and sense of humor, as it’s one of the things we adore about so many of our kiddos here in our centers, which you may remember from reading about Jonathan and Pascal on our blog.
Bruno is said to have a vital role as the brake car and is great at his job as he keeps the big, heavy cargo steady with his strong brakes. He rolls in reverse at the end of the train, which gives him a unique perspective on the world. He’s detail-oriented and enjoys schedules and routine, plus knows where all the tracks lead on Sodor. He has stairs and a lantern, which move up and down when he’s feeling excited or cautious, which serve as another similarity to the stimming some of our children experience.
Almost as cool as the character himself sounds to be, it’s pretty neat to find out that Bruno was created with collaboration from writers who have autism and other self-advocates, and is voiced by an autistic actor!
If you’d like to watch Bruno’s debut on the big screen – as we certainly do! – check out the season 26 premier of “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go” Monday, Sept. 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET/PT on Cartoonito on Cartoon Network.
Bruno is not the first character from a children’s show to have autism, and we certainly hope he will not be the last. “Sesame Street” introduced Julia in 2015. She’s a 4-year-old girl who has a keen eye for detail and often uses an AAC device to express herself. If you want to find out more about Julia and her family, there is a digital storybook available called, Family Forever: A Julia Storybook.
Though we know each person with autism is different with their own special skills, challenges, personalities and characteristics, it’s refreshing to see some of the traits and preferences of the neurodivergent kids we care for reflected in media and entertainment. Could your child use a little more support finding and using his strengths to flourish like Bruno? Let us help your kiddo thrive in a compassionate, inclusive environment at Hopebridge where they can have fun while building even more skills. Contact us today to find out more about what we have to offer at the center near you.