What a beautiful story!
A dad and his son with autism recently co-created an inspiring superhero comic book series, Today.com reports.
Led Bradshaw is a professional comic book artist. At just 3-years-old, his son Jake was diagnosed with autism. Shortly after, Bradshaw enrolled Jake in art therapy, which became the inspiration for a new comic book series, “Jake Jetpulse,” created by the duo.
“He started drawing himself as this character; it was all he wanted to talk about,” Bradshaw recalled.
It was then that the two began collaborating on the series. Bradshaw took advantage of Jake’s new love for the comic book character to help him build critical school skills.
“Jake was in the second grade, and [there] was a parent-teacher conference about his ability to remember, like sight words and spelling. I was like, ‘Well, could I have a list of the sight words the kids are learning,’” Bradshaw said.
That’s when he began drawing the Jake-inspired superhero on the back of flashcards that listed his school sight words with the superhero acting out each word or activity. He would learn words like ‘run’ or ‘jump,’ using the drawings as context clues. The idea eventually became the “Jake Jetpulse” comic series, merging superhero stories with educational activities.
Now Jake has learned a ton of new skills as he continues to develop the series, not only in the classroom but outside as well.
“His vocabulary started to build; he became more confident. It’s like being a superhero. He started to emulate the character also. Even though it’s a collaborative thing, it’s more like a love letter to my son, where I can actually teach him how to be a good human being, to work your hardest, to do your best,” Bradshaw explained.
Together, Bradshaw and Jake create the characters and develop the backstories. Jake even has the final say on the illustrations, asking his dad to redraw those that don’t match his vision.
“He sits at my side while I’m putting it all together, so I get his stamp of approval. Sometimes he’ll say…’We need to go back to the drawing board.’ Sometimes I like to lend my creative input, but I just give in. You know, there’s no point in arguing,” Bradshaw said.
Jake says that he is his favorite comic book character. Both he and his father hope the series will raise awareness about autism and educate people about autism spectrum disorder.
Bradshaw also hopes to create a community for parents who are experiencing the same thing.
“As a parent, I wanted to create something to show people that you’re not alone. I wanted to show people that this does not define who their children will be. There are amazing and exceptional individuals who are on the autism spectrum. I wanted to create something that gives people hope,” said Bradshaw.
Jake hopes his story inspires other children on the spectrum.
“If you’re diagnosed with autism, that’s not bad. It’s OK. You’re still unique, and you can do anything,” he said.
Currently, there are five books available in the series. To purchase your copy of “Jake Jetpulse,” click here.
Congratulations, Led and Jake!
Photo Courtesy of Today.com