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kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Feb. 8, 2016

There are days that challenge me. There are days that mould me. There are days that have a significant impact on my day-to-day grind. Last Wednesday was one of those days.

In addition to my duties as a webcomic blogger, I have been juggling several other “offline” jobs that are less connected to the Internet and based in a real world setting. Among one of these jobs is a school-based job where I get to interact with students from a large age range. On Tuesday afternoon I accepted a job at a school I had never heard about and I must have skimmed over the job description because the events that followed were less than half expected.

I showed up for the job with a big grin looking for a classroom of students. There were several adults in the room and the students were no where to be seen. One of the adults introduced herself and let me know that the classroom was intended for the students with severe disabilities and that all of the students were non-verbal. I have been interested in working in this type of classroom for a long time, so I was happy that I was going to get the opportunity.

At first, one second grade boy in the class was having a temper tantrum and was rebelling against one of the older adults in the class. By noon time he calmed down and we were able to play together on the monkey bars. At one point he had me place my hands over my eyes so I could count to ten before chasing him around the playground during tag or hide and go seek.

After outside play time, I saw him standing at the white board with a dry erase marker doodling a picture. Drawing and sketching have always been my favorite things to do, so I decided that we could bond with art. I tried to draw a pikachu, but it ended up becoming a rabbit hybrid animal. One of the adults said, “Look! They are drawing together on the board!” I turned around and said out loud, “Actually, I make Comics as a hobby.” Then I looked down to see what my young friend was drawing and there was a doodle of a traditional four paneled comic strip with the letters written above it that spelled:


The second “C” in COMICS was backwards, but that was not the point. When I learned that these students were going to be non-verbal, it did not mean that they were unable to communicate or understand everything going around them. When I saw this little boy write out “comics”, it touched my heart because it validated something that I have known all along–comics have the ability to transcend all ages, walks of life, eccentricities, and unique individuals. It can be used as a tool to find common ground between two strangers from different backgrounds. This experience reaffirmed the reason that I have been spending so much time working with comics.


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Gunwallace at 1:27PM, Feb. 8, 2016

Great post.

maskdt at 12:30PM, Feb. 8, 2016

Very touching! Too often people assume that non-verbal means the person can't understand anything going on around them, and that's not always the case as you saw. Definitely encourage this boy to communicate visually, if you can. It'll improve his quality of life both by giving him satisfaction and allowing him to make his wants and needs known.

ashtree house at 10:10AM, Feb. 8, 2016

Very touching!

HippieVan at 9:33AM, Feb. 8, 2016

@KimLuster: Pssst, not me. ;) Unfortunately I have no skills with children, only books.

Banes at 6:57AM, Feb. 8, 2016

Amazing story - finding a way to communicate with non verbal or disabled people is a big challenge; this story shows some of the power and potential of comics and drawing!

KimLuster at 4:25AM, Feb. 8, 2016

Lovely touching story, Hippie! - but next time you better read the job's fine print, lest you wind up teaching a Tantric Love Positions class!

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