November 25, 2002
Join PBS's ARTHUR® on a Communication Adventure
New episode and nationwide outreach initiative helps hearing and sighted kids learn about other ways people communicate.
Boston, MA. This season America's favorite aardvark is focusing on communication differences both on and off the small screen. A new episode, "Prunella Sees the Light," and its companion ARTHUR's Communication Adventure educational outreach initiative encourage kids who are hearing and sighted to become more aware of the different ways their peers who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing learn, play, and enjoy many of the same things they do.
In "Prunella Sees the Light," premiering Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28 (check local listings), Prunella learns that her worries about protecting Marina, her friend who is blind, are more about her own perceptions than about Marina's actual capabilities. Marina was introduced in last season's "Prunella's Special Edition," an episode that led the American Council of the Blind to award ARTHUR the Vernon Henley Award. This award is presented to a person who has made a positive difference in the media, helping the public recognize the capabilities of people who are blind, rather than focusing on outdated stereotypes and misconceptions.
Building off of this and other themes presented in "Prunella Sees the Light" is a new ARTHUR communications awareness outreach initiative. This initiative seeks to create awareness about the many ways people communicate, explore how to make communication accessible and inclusive of all, and promote positive attitudes about accessibility and universal design. The centerpiece of the outreach initiative is Arthur's Communication Adventure: Exploring Inclusion and Accessibility, a free 16-page teacher guide that targets second grade students in mainstream classrooms. To obtain a copy of the guide, write to:
WGBH, Educational Programming and Outreach
125 Western Avenue
Boston MA 02134
Or download a copy from the 'Grown-Ups" section of the ARTHUR Web site at http://pbskids.org/arthur/parentsteachers/lesson/communication/index.html
Finally, public television stations nationwide are being encouraged to host their own ARTHUR's Communication Adventure events. These customizable events will be scheduled throughout the year, and can range from a simple booth at a membership event, to a large-scale fair that they co-host with a local community organization.
ARTHUR is committed to making quality television accessible to all children. Since its premiere in 1996, the series has been closed-captioned for viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Thanks to a grant by the Department of Education, ARTHUR is now the only program on television to have both standard and edited captions (for young children with hearing loss who are not yet fluent readers). ARTHUR also made history in 1997 when the series became the first daily program described for viewers who are blind or visually impaired. Every ARTHUR episode is closed captioned and described by the Media Access Group at WGBH. The series' Web site at http://www.pbskids.org/arthur is also accessible to blind and visually impaired ARTHUR fans with descriptions available for some visual elements. Funding for closed captioning of ARTHUR is provided by WGBH and by the U.S. Department of Education. Description funding is provided by WGBH.
Based on Marc Brown's best-selling books, ARTHUR is one of the most watched children's television programs, with almost 11.5 million weekly viewers overall (Source: NTI September 2001 through July 2002). ARTHUR has won numerous awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award and four Daytime Emmys — three in the Outstanding Children's Animated Program category. ARTHUR is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston and CINAR Corporation. Executive producers are Carol Greenwald (WGBH) and Andrew Porporino (CINAR). Funding for ARTHUR is provided by a Ready-To-Learn Television Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education through the Public Broadcasting Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers. Corporate funding is provided by Libby's® Juicy Juice®, Post® Alpha-Bits® Cereal, and Chuck E. Cheese's®.
WGBH BostonWGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of nearly one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup and companion online content as well as many public radio favorites. WGBH is a pioneer in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband, and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible for people with disabilities. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards… even two Oscars. In 2002, WGBH was honored with a special institutional Peabody Award for 50 years of excellence. For more information visit http://www.wgbh.org.
CINARCINAR Corporation is an integrated entertainment and education company involved in the development, production, post-production, and worldwide distribution of non-violent, quality programming and educational products for children, families, and educators worldwide. CINAR's Web site is http://www.cinar.com.
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