Tuesday, February 19, 2013

North Carolina psychologist creates new superhero aimed at helping people better understand Asperger's

From WCNC:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte psychologist has created a new superhero aimed at helping people better understand Asperger's.

Thirteen-year-old Ricky knows he's a little different.

“I usually wait until we’re friends before I start explaining myself,” he said.

He explains that he has Asperger's. He often misses the social cues that help most of us interact with other people.

Dr.  Frank Gaskill works with Ricky. He' s a national expert on Asperger's and fondly calls his patients Aspies.

Dr. Gaskill wrote a comic book about the often misunderstood syndrome.

“They are often seen as different, excluded, ignored, bullied.  They don’t get invited to birthday parties,” he said.

The comic, he said, “Makes them feel like they’re normal, that there are other children out there like them.”

Ricky agrees.

“The more people that read this the more they'll understand about Aspies like me.”

The drawings are purposely done in a style that makes sense to Aspies.

“The expression on Max Gamer’s face makes it a lot easier to read that facial expression to understand the emotions that are being conveyed.”

One glance around Dr. Gaskill’s office and it’s easy to find his inspiration.

“I feel Asperger kids are superheroes.  There are so many things they can do better than anybody else in the world,” said Ricky’s mom, Laurie Baldwin.  “It’s an easy read, so I picked it up – I’m like that’s my kid.”

You can find the comic book on amazon.com or at maxgameronline.com.