The move follows other, similar, partnerships the children's brand has formed with autism organizations around the world. Research studies conducted in both Australia and the U.K. have demonstrated that many children with autism have a particular love of Thomas & Friends, who is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. Results from a survey of parents of children with autism, commissioned by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) mirror that of a similar survey conducted by the National Autistic Society (NAS) in the U.K. Findings for both studies revealed children with autism like Thomas & Friends more than any other children's program due to the characters' clear facial expressions, which make them easy to identify. Parents also reported that Thomas & Friends helped their children understand the feelings and emotions of others, which is an important step in assisting these children with developing social interaction skills and engaging with people around them.
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