FISA Foundation Grant to Support Children with Autism
Children with autism have long had a special connection with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. With this grant, we will be able to offer a DVD of selected episodes along with newly produced supplemental materials to highlight the social-emotional benefits of the program for this audience.
There are many file folders here at The Fred Rogers Company filled with letters from parents of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. We hear time and again that watching and reflecting on episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood helps children in numerous ways, such as decreasing anxiety and excitability, improving listening and speaking skills, increasing attention to learning tasks, and building capacity for imaginative play.
With the FISA Foundation's support we will be able to continue supporting children and adolescents with autism through Neighborhood episodes and newly developed utilization materials. The grant will facilitate producing and distributing a DVD compilation of some of the most sought-after Neighborhood episodes for this special community. It also will sponsor the development of "extras" for the DVD such as role-playing games and conversation guides to help viewers apply each episode’s content to their everyday social and emotional experiences. We intend to develop and distribute these resources in collaboration with leading autism service organizations such as Autism Speaks, The Watson Institute and The University of Pittsburgh Center for Excellence in Autism Research. While the FISA grant focuses on the greater Pittsburgh area, we are seeking additional support for a national rollout.