Daniel Tiger, a recent creation of PBS, provides life lessons for all children, but his teachings are particularly effective for those who have trouble reading social cues.
Daniel Tiger is a relatable preschooler who wears a red cardigan and has friendly phrases to help children understand things like disappointment, frustration, anger and fear of the unknown. He also gives lessons on certain skills like turn taking, cooperation, problem solving, and empathy.
Rasha Madkour, who has an autistic son, says that she has seen Daniel Tiger’s lessons and sayings being used by her own children when they play with others. The first time she noticed it, she was waiting for her 5-year-old’s occupational therapist. The therapist was very busy, and a small child, was crying about wanting a toy that her child was playing with.
Madkour sang the words, “Think about how someone else is feeling; maybe you can help them feel better” to her son, a jingle from Daniel Tiger. Her son thought for a moment and then handed the toy to the crying child. The child immediately stopped and Madkour could see that her son understood that he had helped.
Individuals with autism often times have a hard time understanding unspoken social codes. Daniel Tiger uses a different approach by explicitly saying a certain social skill and then providing multiple examples in each episode.
From providing encouragement to teaching children what to do when they have wronged someone, Daniel Tiger’s words of wisdom are beneficial to all children.
By Sejal Sheth