The lack of accurate neuro-diverse character representation in graphic novels and comics strains relationships and stifles societal and cultural growth. Authentic interaction between neuro-diverse and other characters promotes thinking about other positionalities and intersectionality.
My talk draws upon my personal narrative, education, work experience, and consulting on an autistic comic-book character, Scarlett, for Archie Comics. Comics and graphic literature create an approachable media to engage a broad audience. The importance of providing a character with an authentic voice rather than one perceived by the creator of the media cannot be understated. Accurate representation opens the reader’s senses, broadening the discourse of how to talk about and understand society; how to message things; and to engage in conversations in a way that progresses and creates an equal playing field for all characters.
Bringing in the authentic voice aspect of disability, rather than telling a story based on another’s positionality or assumptions, expands the infrastructure by infiltrating persons with disabilities into the system through accessible media. Social and cultural mindset affect narratives relating to disability, gender, race, and other cultural differences. Seeing people represented in an accurate way creates more visibility and the potential for social change for the good of everyone.
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Founder of Jason’s Connection – an online resource for those with disabilities, mental health, aging and other needs. Jason was awarded an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies from Syracuse University. Jason is also a Project Coordinator and Research Associate at the Burton Blatt Institute, an international think tank for Disability Rights and Human Justice at Syracuse University. He regularly contributes to the blog in his own series called Jason’s View and travels the country consulting and speaking about disability issues and rights. To read more from Jason Harris, read Jason's View.