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Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), as part of its strategic partnership with Thomas & Friends, via agent, Haven Licensing, has revealed the results of its online Australian-based market research survey, which investigated children with autism who wat

April 6, 2018

2 Min Read

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), as part of its strategic partnership with Thomas & Friends, via agent, Haven Licensing, has revealed the results of its online Australian-based market research survey, which investigated children with autism who watch "Thomas the Tank Engine."

The results show that 96 percent of respondents said that their child likes Thomas & Friends more than any other children's characters. For 72 percent of those respondents, Thomas was the first children's character that the child associated with. The survey showed that children with autism responded well because of the characters' simple, clear facial expressions (73 percent); the well-defined, recognizable characters (84 percent); calm, clear narration (73 percent); and the recognizable colors (76 percent). In addition, 81 percent of respondents said the characters in "Thomas & Friends" helped their child with autism understand feelings and emotions of others. The study reports that the kids were particularly enthusiastic about the things that children can learn from Thomas & Friends, such as learning of emotions/facial expressions (70 percent), and language/speech (66 percent). Survey responses also indicated that the familiar characters provided a calming effect for the child (83 percents of respondents agreed); a feeling of safety and security for the child (82 percent); and a way for parents and children to communicate (80 percent).

"The importance of a vehicle that enables children with autism to learn about other people and emotions in a fun way cannot be underestimated," says Anthony Warren, Aspect's director of young children and families. "The fact that so many children engage with these characters highlights the way in which a fun program can be used to teach important concepts that benefit children, parents, and the relationships between them."

HIT, Haven Licensing and Thomas & Friends have developed bumper stickers to generate donations to support Aspect and their important work in the community, as well as producing the song "Through My Eyes."

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