April works full time in higher education balancing her time between her special needs son, handsome husband, elderly mother, and new baby coming in May 2014. She has a background in theatre, film, and television but somehow stumbled into the educational field. She loves spending time with her family, dreaming of the beach and organizing her house.

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PBS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

April at 3 years old.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a new show on PBS this fall and although I am not a toddler, I love it for many reasons my son will never understand.  For those of us who grew up with Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, this show is similar in many ways.  In fact, it is sponsored by The Fred Rogers Company and it even uses the melody (minus the words) of Mr. Roger’s Song.

This is one of the best programs we have found to discuss issues with kids like potty training.  In fact, we have protected it on our DVR so we can’t ever delete it!  The characters are animated;  but for those of us who grew up with the original show,  you will recognize names and variations of the names for the characters.  It’s almost like a home coming of sorts.

The show is mostly based on Fred Rogers’ studies of early childhood development.  In fact, a majority of his work is archived at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College.  There is even a special archivist who works for the Fred Rogers Center and assists the public and professionals with research at the center.

For children with special needs and young children, this program is very helpful in explaining the basic parts of everyday life.  It’s a combination of music, inter-action and research based show that fully entertains, yet creates teachable moments for kids.  Although it is meant for ages 2-4, I believe it can be useful for parents who are struggling with older, special needs kids as well.  It doesn’t talk down to the kids and it engages them entirely.  My son has even stopped playing and just sat down to watch the show.  That’s a huge deal for a kid with ADHD!

I highly recommend this show to parents who are struggling with their special needs kids as it is a non-threatening way to reinforce lifeskills that you are already working with them on doing. The songs are catchy and my son has run to the bathroom more now that he sings the song for going to the bathroom.  It has helped his potty training immensely where it had been stalled before the show.  If you can record it to your DVR like we have, it’s a great tool to play again and again.  Well done, PBS and Mr. Rogers Company!

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