Meet Bruno: Mattel’s First Autistic Character Designed for Thomas & Friends Thomas & Friends Launches Initiatives to Raise Awareness about Autism in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 14 May 2024 – April is Autism Awareness month and for Thomas & Friends, it is the perfect time to celebrate Bruno, the new autistic brake car that joined the engines on Sodor just last September. Thomas & Friends are inviting parents and children alike to learn more about autism and autistic people through play, hoping to create more teachable opportunities and to remind us all that our differences are what make us better!

Bruno the Brake Car is Mattel’s first autistic character created for Thomas & Friends. He is smart, relaxed, and joyful. As a brake car, his job is to keep big, heavy cargo steady with his strong brakes. He travels facing backwards at the rear of the train which gives him a unique perspective of the world. He is detail-oriented and likes routine; taking a special interest in the schedules, timetables and where all tracks lead – which is why he’s often entrusted with guiding other engines.

Bruno was introduced on the 26th season of the TV series, Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go. Parents and kids who tune into the TV can enjoy watching the red brake car both at work and at play with his friends who love and accept him just the way he is. Bruno is also available for purchase as part of the engine assortment.

“Every child is a gift. We believe that all children deserve to see themselves represented in the stories they hear and that must include neurodivergent kids. With Bruno, we hope to play a role in encouraging kids and parents alike to find joy in our differences and to show what it means to have a supportive community,” said Murat Ariksoy,  General Manager, Mattel South Asia. “And as we have a role to play in our community as well, we have launched some initiatives in collaboration with NASOM, Sunway Malls, and Toys ‘R’ Us.”

The team at Thomas & Friends worked with Sunway Carnival Mall to set up a toy library at the Butterworth chapter of the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM). What’s more, each child supported by NASOM Butterworth was given their very own diecast of Bruno the Brake Car. The brand also worked with Sunway Pyramid and Sunway Velocity to put together 100 “Autsome starter kits” that contain Thomas & Friends and Mattel toys, role-play toys, and books for B40 communities, in support of the outreach effort of Early Autism Project Malaysia (EAP).

In conjunction with Autism Awareness month, shoppers who spent over RM80 on Thomas & Friends toys in Toys ‘R’ Us also received a FREE Bruno the Brake Car diecast.

Upcoming Roadshows

Fans of Thomas & Friends who are interested in experiencing even more of Bruno and the other engines of Sodor can visit Sunway Pyramid, LG2, Central Avenue from 11 to 17 June.


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