Listen Listening Comic strips might evoke images of slapstick humor, superheroes, or political satire. But Michael Giangreco , a UVM education professor in the special education program, wrote more than comics lampooning the bureaucracy, absurdity, and challenges he saw in the implementation of special education. The strips were collected in three volumes, all subtitled Absurdities and Realities of Special Education. Michael Giangreco: Back in the early s, when I was making presentations of my research at conferences, at schools for professional development sessions, I was often using the cartoons of people like Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons, because, to make points, people like humor.
For Kids with Special Needs, Creating Comics Helps Communication
A Comics Collection Of The 'Absurdities & Realities of Special Education' | Vermont Public Radio
To get to their school, these three teens must also walk through a neighborhood that includes two methadone clinics. Many, including Jeremiah, Jasherah, and Paula, suffer from high anxiety, bouts of anger, teacher defiance, and serious behavioral problems generated by the volatility and poverty of their home lives. In this school, and others I have written about , more and more educators are relying on popular online comic creators such as Make Beliefs Comix and other digital teaching tools to address disruptive behaviors and serious academic challenges. Lined with colorful, floor-length curtains; comfortable chairs; tables; computers; and a glowing campfire projected onto a large screen, students can safely detox from their pent-up emotions. There, kids can engage in activities designed to support their social-emotional well-being, such as art, yoga, and meditation. But they also get access to another, less-conventional therapy tool: As an incentive for good behavior, and in an effort to strengthen their communication skills and readjust their problematic behavior, Fardig-Diop rewards the students with an introduction to Make Beliefs Comix, along with other online games and activities.
Digital Comics Boosting Skills of Students with Special Needs
Graphic Novels. Photo by Cindy Symonds. Libraries are always evolving. Stay ahead.
Subscribe Now. Prefer email? Sign-up for our email newsletter. Sharon Eilts, a special education teacher in Sunnyvale, CA, has given her low-functioning students, some of whom have autism or intellectual disabilities, a creative outlet that helps them communicate and deal with social problems: They make comic books. Eilts' students are integrated into the middle school and have lunch with other students and participate with them, when appropriate, in electives like physical education as well as regular academic classes.