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URLwire for Monday 6/30/03- Online news headline linking services are welcome to link to this story.
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PBS KIDS’ Arthur Launches Communication Adventure 

Much of the attention in the media surrounding kids with disabilities focuses on the kids themselves and the challenges they face with the world around them. But what about the kids that don’t have disabilities? How can children better understand others who may seem different at first, but really are more like them than they realize?

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About Face at the Arthur Web site
PBS KIDS’ Arthur Launches Communication Adventure
 
“Since its 1996 premiere, it has been a priority that Arthur be accessible to all children. In addition, we have always strived to help children have positive attitudes and to accept and include others, in spite of their differences. The new Web features are a fun way to help kids do this.”
Carol Greenwald
WGBH executive producer
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The Arthur Web team at WGBH has created a series of new interactive games that encourage hearing and sighted children to become more aware of how their peers who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired learn, play, and enjoy many of the same things that they do. Three new games that explore this issue have just been added to the Arthur Web site at http://pbskids.org/arthur/  The final feature in the series will be added this summer.   

“The season focus on communication differences is an extension of some of the original goals of the series,” says WGBH executive producer Carol Greenwald. “Since its 1996 premiere, it has been a priority that Arthur be accessible to all children. In addition, we have always strived to help children have positive attitudes and to accept and include others, in spite of their differences. The new Web features are a fun way to help kids do this.”

Look for these features at <http://pbskids.org/arthur/>.

About Face: This game enforces the idea that facial expressions communicate information. The concept is especially important when communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
<http://pbskids.org/arthur/games/aboutface/>  

You’ve Got Braille: Kids can create coded braille messages to keep or pass on to friends.
<http://pbskids.org/arthur/print/braille/>

Fern, The Effective Detective: In this feature, kids will hone their observation skills and learn the benefits of using descriptive language, both of which are important, especially when communicating with someone who is blind or visually impaired.
<http://pbskids.org/arthur/games/effectivedetective/>

Sign Design: Launching July 2003
This feature will give kids the tools to learn some basic finger spelling and signing skills through demonstration and application. 

Currently in its seventh season, Arthur remains one of the most watched children’s television programs among two- to five- and two- to eleven-year-olds, with more than 11.5 million weekly viewers (Source: Nielsen Television Index September 2002 through January 2003). Arthur has won numerous awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award and five Daytime Emmys-three in the Outstanding Children’s Animated Program category. The series has recently been nominated for two more Daytime Emmy Awards, including another for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program. Based on the best-selling books by Marc Brown, Arthur is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston and CINAR Corporation. 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®.

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. Funding for closed captioning of Arthur is provided by WGBH and by the U.S. Department of Education. Description funding is provided by WGBH.

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of nearly one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup as well as the award-winning children’s series Arthur, Between the Lions®, and ZOOM®. Under the leadership of vice president Brigid Sullivan, the WGBH children’s lineup leads the field 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 fifty years of excellence. For more information visit <http://wgbh.org>.

CINAR Corporation is an integrated entertainment and education company involved in the development, production, postproduction, and worldwide distribution of nonviolent, quality programming and educational products for children and families. CINAR’s Web site is <http://www.cinar.com>.

Contact for more information: Elizabeth Coté, WGBH Boston (elizabeth_cote(-at-)wgbh.org),
Lesley Taylor, CINAR Corporation, (ltaylor(-at-)@cinar.com). Photography contact is
Amee McNaughton of WGBH Boston (amee_mcnaughton(-at-)@wgbh.org)
 
 

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