KEARNEY, NE — The nonprofit Arc of Buffalo County helps give children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they live, learn, work, and play. It is now helping developmentally disabled people make their own comic books.
Executive Director Kristen Larsen said, the Arc wanted to encourage its clients to get creative. That led to comic books, which more and more educators agree, are appealing to all age groups as a creative tool and educational outlet.
The class, part of the Arc’s Teens in Action program, is oriented toward anyone with developmental disabilities regardless of age. “We’ve opened up the class to anyone in middle school on up through the young adulthood age, but really it seems to be more popular with the older teens and younger adults,” Larsen said.
Using the software Comic Life, the comic creation class lasts six weeks. Participants created comic books with varied themes such as science fiction fantasy and real-life comics depicting friends and family. “It’s also helping to increase their strength to be able to focus on a task for a long amount of time” says Larsen.
Donna Montgomery, a professor teaching special education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and president of the Arc Board of Directors, said individuals could create comic books using assistive technology such as word prediction software to help with the writing.
“They don’t have to write a lot,” said Montgomery. “All of the individuals that participate in this group have developmental disabilities. This allows them to write stories and books.”