Headline, November 15 2021/ " ' ACCEPTANCE - AUTISM - COMICS ' "



The World Students Society is built to spread happiness in every segment of society and provide total acceptance to all the students of the world.

The questions were endless. So Ms Kalra decided to take a different approach to answering them: a comic book.

The comic, called Not That Different, imagines Madhav's journey going to a regular school instead of one for children with special needs.

"I was very clear that the neurodiverse character in the comic book had to be Madhav," Ms Kalra said. "Why hide him? Instead let's give his experience a voice. And without baring yourself, you won't find empathy. People would just not engage."

Neurodivergence - also known as neurodiversity - refers to the community of people who have dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, are on the autism spectrum, or have other neurological differences.

Madhav's mind is too young to understand the comic, which is abstract, based on humour and a level of comprehension that he does not have, his mother said. His two teachers help him learn three-letter words, basic addition-subtraction and focus on life skills, like concepts of "what sinks, what dissolves" or identifying currency notes.

For the comic book, Ms Kalra collaborated with three women: Nidhi Mishra, founder of a global creative publishing platform called Bookosmia; Aayushi Yadav, a children's illustrator; and Archana Mohan, an award-winning children's author.

Aayushi Yadav said she had never spent time with a child like Madhav before this project.

Her illustrations are typically rooted in distinct forms of exaggeration. So, a laughing face would show all teeth out and even the back of the throat.

But drawing Madhav was a reverse experience, Ms Yadav said. It made her question the concept of what is widely understood as "a likeable character". She said she worried about making the child look "blank or rude".

Ms Kalra would send pictures of Madhav to the team, show them his room over Zoom calls, and share anecdotes that would form the basis of the comic book.

For instance, one of the comic strips explained how Madhav tends to shut his ears because he does not like loud sounds. This was something Ms Kalra learnt on her son's sixth birthday.

So, birthdays now mean getting his ceiling filled with helium balloons, having his favourite food - noodles - and perhaps a trip to the zoo with one or two friends.

But telling Madhav's story has not been easy.

Ms Kalra said her pitch was rejected multiple times. Several publishing houses did not want to take it up - they found the issue "too boring or not one most people would identify with". However, Ms Mishra was willing to take the chance.

Ms Kalra said that sharing her experiences of raising an autistic child has made her more perceptive. Besides the comic, she uses the internet - a blog, a YouTube channel, and her Instagram - to create discussions.

It has also helped her fight back against negativity, she said.

In 2019, Madhav had a seizure for the first time. His parents rushed him to hospital where he was stabilised after medication.

Madhav has been fine since, though the possibility of another attack lingers, Ms Kalra said.

It has taken time, but she has trained herself to live with the expectation of happiness and not fear, she said.

"That's why I am doing what I can to leave him in a world that is loving and understanding. Even if not loving, at least understand him, and let him be."

With respectful dedication to Mankind, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!