Matt creates Disney Junior's first character on the autism spectrum!
Having grown up with a developmentally disabled sister (who rarely saw herself on screen and who had trouble making friends), I believe passionately in the power and importance of disability representation, especially in children's television.
That's why I created Disney's first princess with a disability on SOFIA THE FIRST.
And it's why I'm so proud to report that today - for World Autism Awareness Day - Disney is premiering the episode I wrote of FANCY NANCY that introduces Disney Junior's first character on the autism spectrum... Sean!
It's called "Nancy's New Friend" and is the second of two 11-minute episodes in the 22-minute show (the first is "Bon Voyage, Nancy!") You can catch it on the Disney Channel at 8am ET/PT - and on demand on DisneyNOW.
Sean is voiced by a fantastic young actor who is on the spectrum himself - George Yionoulis. Watch the video he made for his 4th grade class that caught our attention - and got him the part!
Our goal with this episode is to empower kids (and adults) with autism by seeing themselves in the shows they watch - and also to show neuro-typical kids (and adults) that with if you take the time to get to know your neuro-diverse neighbor or classmate and make a few adjustments, you'll gain a wonderful new friend! So please, watch it - and spread the word!