Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

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Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:22 am

In this thread, we can talk about the unique relationship between the autistic community and Thomas. There is a very interesting article about this, and I'll post the link when I find it again.

Me personally, as someone with Asperger Syndrome Thomas holds a special place in my heart for me; when I post the link I will tell my story, just so there's context.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by IsleofOdor on Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:26 pm

You know? I have an autistic brother. He's non-verbal and gets tantrums and he likes watching Thomas. Everyday, he pulls out the Engines to the Rescue UK DVD and asks me to put it in the DVD Player.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by whyofbladez on Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:45 pm

As someone with Aspergers myself, Thomas I accredit with helping me recognize facial expressions as a child. The static faces and the narration helped with that.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by SkarloeyRailway on Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:56 pm

While I don't have any form of autism or mental disability, I do have a cousin with autism who loves Thomas. It's always been interesting to me to see how it helps him along. I think it's a unique and beautiful relationship the series has with that community.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:53 am

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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by SkarloeyRailway on Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:26 am

I've seen that before, I think its very interesting! Thanks for sharing it with us, Frank!
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Jlouvier on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:41 am

What a wonderful discussion! Through the years I have had many parents get in touch with me about their children with autism and what my channel means to their kid. I thought it appropriate to share this email that was personally sent to me a few months ago.

Hi Josh

I thought I'd just drop you line from *sunny* England to say thank-you for your fantastic YouTube Channel, which my son adores. He was diagnosed at 3 with severe autism and, like many with his condition, is obsessed with Thomas. At that time he was completely non-verbal and didn't even respond to his name or make eye-contact. Over the next few years, to de-stress, he would watch DVDs (especially Thomas) incessantly - I would often rewind the same 5 sec clip of a train crashing over and over again for anything up to 7 hours non-stop. Thomas has been his launch-pad for everything in life. Gradually, with interventions and perseverance and support he has built up his vocabulary and confidence and even though he has 1:1 help at his mainstream school, I doubt you'd notice he is any different from any other 8 year old. He's even just realised that in public at least, he'd better move on to Mario Kart Wii! In the space of a month he's an Expert on that now as well ;-)

But there has been a lovely interim period where there was nothing made him so happy as watching your YouTube Channel on his iPad: through avidly watching and rewatching all your clips - rushing home from school in anticipation you'd uploaded another one, or making us look for internet cafés on holiday so he wouldn't miss any - he has developed a very fluent speaking style. He spends a lot of time in private (well, he thinks!) in another room 'presenting' to an imaginary audience, and your style of presentation permeates the confidence of his 'show and tell' sessions at school and now his presentation of information to the rest of his Cubs pack when he's earning another badge. He absolutely knocks the other kids in to cocked-hats, and was even the only Cub who would do an on-the spot unseen Bible reading before a large congregation when the Vicar's candidate dropped out at a Rememberance Day service.

All down to you! So I thought you may not be aware of how significant an impact you make on some peoples lives, nor how much joy you bring them, and I ought to point it out and say, very sincerely: "thank you!"

Best regards,
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:20 pm

For me, Thomas was a source of comfort in a very complicated world. I had few friends growing up, and some of my happiest memories were watching the VHS tapes and playing with the wooden railway in my basement. The world to the autistic/Aspie can get very lonely, but thomas and friends is a show that holds a special place in my heart
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Boomer10 on Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:18 pm

Well I don't have autism, but I do have tourette syndrome. Not sure if that is as common as Thomas and the autistic community.

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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:51 am

That's a great question actually; no idea about Tourette's, but there is definitely a relationship between Thomas and the autistic community.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Wellsworth1888 on Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:02 am

Frankthetriviaman wrote:For me, Thomas was a source of comfort in a very complicated world.  I had few friends growing up, and some of my happiest memories were watching the VHS tapes and playing with the wooden railway in my basement.  The world to the autistic/Aspie can get very lonely, but thomas and friends is a show that holds a special place in my heart

While I have never been diagnosed (to my knowledge) with Autism/Aspergers, I am sure I have it. And I quoted Frank's post because what he said applies to me as well. Smile Sad
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:45 am

Didn't know where else to put this; but today is World Autism Day, so today is a special day for the Autistic community, and those within who like Thomas
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Dan5589 on Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:48 pm

Due to a popularity of last year's biggest Train Walk outside Drayton Manor in Tamworth, Staffordshire, the National Autistic Society have set up another one for this year on Saturday September 26th, 2015.

For more information:
http://www.autism.org.uk/allaboard?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social%20Media%20Organic&utm_content=All%20aboard%20returns&utm_campaign=All%20aboard%20for%20autism
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Diesel 11 on Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:53 pm

I don't have autism, but I do know that it's hard on people. I think that this forum is pretty special because we share a common interest: Thomas. Thus, you'll have plenty of friends here. It's a great place to go to when life's getting you down.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by luctheminecrafter on Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:02 am

I dont have any syndrome, but I have to admit it's clear Thomas helps teach: The subtitles in the songs helped me teach myself to read!
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:29 am

And there is much more to it than that for the autistic community; for example, it taught us how to recognize facial expressions and recognize what emotions are associated with them.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by luctheminecrafter on Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:17 pm

Mm Hmm. Totally.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Dan5589 on Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:57 pm


This video was especially made to celebrate 70 years of Thomas & Friends, and the success of the National Autistic Society's second big train walk event outside Drayton Manor Theme Park, which also celebrated it's 65th anniversary this year.


Filming took place at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Tamworth, Staffordshire, England on Saturday September 26th, 2015.



All feedback will be accepted, as long as criticism is constructive.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by TTTEFan1997 on Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:33 pm

I myself have autism, and Thomas has been a big part of my life. I don't remember myself, but my mom would use my TWR trains to show me what I did wrong if something bad happened, so I could know what was going on. Obviously, the personalities play a big part in Thomas' autistic fan base.

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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by TheIsraeliSudrian on Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:54 pm

You mean "the autistic part of the Thomas fanbase", since not all of them are.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by luctheminecrafter on Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:46 pm

I was thinking something: autism is when you're a very slow learner right? Well then why is that suddenly a sickness? Should there be fastlearnerism too? That doesn't make sense does it? And it can't even be a true sickness, especially that if it was a normal sickness, it would have been noticed way before 1908! Sorry if I offend anyone, just trying to point something out.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:32 am

A couple things:

-Autism is not an illness, it is a "Pervasive Developmental Disorder"
-It is not so much a learning disorder as it is a social disorder; from personal experience as someone with Asperger Syndrome (the milder form of autism), I can tell you that for me, learning has never truly been an issue; it is social skills that have been problematic for me.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by luctheminecrafter on Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:52 pm

Sorry, I was looking for a word and sickness came up. I would have liked to use "Pervasive Developmental Disorder", but I didn't find it.

In that case, why isn't there verysocialpeopleism?
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by DonaldDouglasandToby6 on Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:17 am

Because being social isn't exactly a mental disorder... autism is an actual mental disorder that effects the brain.

As a person with Asperger's myself, Thomas helped me a lot in my childhood. I didn't really have any friends so I was happy to have an escape from the complicated world.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

Post by Frankthetriviaman on Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:39 am

Same way for me; I didn't of it that way at the time, but subconsciously, that may have been an influencing factor though.
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Re: Thomas the Tank Engine and Autism: a special relationship

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