SOLD OUT ALREADY?

Can hardly believe it but the segment on NBC Nightly resulted in a complete sell-out of Face Value Comics!!  We are SOLD OUT!

While we are overwhelmed and thrilled with your support, we want to see you with comics in your hands and are doing everything we can to see that happen.

Please visit your local comic store  - find their location by clicking here - and ask them to place a back order today for any copies you may wish. We hope to have a large supply available by the end of month, giving you plenty of time to follow the story line before Issue #2 hits the open market in October!

If you prefer to order the digital copy until the hard copy arrive, please click here.

It’s Election Day at Face Value Comics!

The first issue of Face Value Comics is now available in comic shops. Pick up your copy at your local store. Not sure where your local comic shop is?  Click here! 

You can also download a digital version here.

Don’t forget to scroll down the page to Vote in the 2072 Election.Cast Your Vote with Face Value Comics Today!

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Real World Heroes With Autism

real world heroes with autismComic books are full of heroes in hiding, but real world heroes with autism are beginning to come to the attention of others, and they’re making people realize just how amazing they truly are. Entrepreneurs with autism are proving that no matter what experts may say about someone’s abilities, finding an one’s unique skills is just a matter of being open to seeing them.

Of course, everyone knows about Temple Grandin an advocate who developed a business designing equipment for handling livestock that is used all over the country. However her success in business is no longer so unbelievable. Real world heroes with autism are starting their own businesses, and showing the public just how successful they can be when their skills are released from the box society imposes on them.

Just like the heroes in comic books, these real life heroes have sidekicks who help them run their businesses, usually family members who are the first to discover their children’s true identities as they are growing up. Many adults with autism can run businesses if they are given the chance to develop skills around their interests. Often family members play a big part by providing opportunities for those skills to develop.

Real world heroes with autism reach their full potential with these sidekicks on their side, helping them with the details that fall outside their own talents. For instance, Matt Cottle, the owner of the Stuttering King Bakery and its principal baker, has his mother Peg handle the ordering and marketing areas of the business. Like any other business owner, having others work for him allows him to focus on his product without dealing with distractions that would slow him down. Since he can get orders for up to 300 cookies at a time, he needs to make every minute count!

Real world heroes with autism can be found on many different areas of the autistic spectrum with their sidekicks by their side. Christopher Tidmarsh graduated from college with degrees in chemistry, environmental science, and languages, but he was unable to find work because traditional workplaces didn’t understand how to communicate with people with autism. While they were unable to see the reality of his abilities beyond the accommodations he needed, his mother knew his hidden talents and with her as his sidekick they started a company called Green Bridge Growers. Christopher’s company grows vegetables in water through aquaponics, allowing him to use knowledge he gained in his studies at college and through the time he spent interning with organic farmers.

Another hero who’s changing the way society views people with disabilities is Joe Steffy, who has both autism and down syndrome. While Joe is unable to talk, he responds to reporters through writing, and works in every area of his business, Poppin Joe’s Gourmet Kettle Corn, which he began in 2005. His sidekicks include not just his family members, but also employees that he’s hired. Joe supervises his part-time workers and helps with the interviewing process before they are hired so that he can be sure they will be good members of his team.

Entrepreneurship is proving to be a real solution for these real world heroes with autism, and with their sidekicks by their side they’re proving that there’s “more to them than meets the eye.” Real world heroes are tearing down the limits society imposese on people with autism.

 

Issue 2 Just Released!

FaceValueComics Issue #2 Get Your Just Released copy of Face Value Comics Issue 2 now! This independent run will only be released for a limited time to our fans before it gets released through Diamond Comic Distributors in August. We’ve made it easier than ever for you to get your copy! Simply click here to order OR contact your local comic book store to make your request! Issue #1 and #2 will continue to be available through Diamond Comic Distributors if you missed an issue. You can also download a digital copy of Issue #1 here.

Success Is Possible with an ASD Diagnosis

Success Means Trying with an ASD DiagnosisEveryone wants to feel like they are successful, and we all work hard to accomplish goals that we have for ourselves. For kids and teens with an ASD diagnosis feeling successful can be complicated. When helping them work towards goals that are challenging, it can be important to set aside time for them to work on the interests that they have which bring them a sense of enjoyment and tend to come “naturally”. Often, later in life, it is these interests that will bring them long term success and purpose, while allowing them to bring their own contributions to society. True success doesn’t come easy to anyone – whether neurotypical or not – and it’s important for all children to learn that they have to work hard to reach the goals they have in life since we all work for our accomplishments. For autistic children the goals may be different, but they will take just as much hard work and encouragement. When goals are reached – no matter how small – that’s when it’s time to celebrate!

At Face Value Comics our heroes and heroines are able to portray the necessity of persistence in facing challenges. As the characters overcome their struggles they show how hard work leads to success, and even little steps forward lead to progress. We all need to remember this as we deal with the ups and downs of life, but it’s very important for ASD kids to be reminded of this on a regular basis. Feeling successful – even over little goals – can make autistic kids (and adults) feel like they’re making progress and give them the encouragement they need to keep moving forward. We all need moments of success

Enhancing Feelings of Safety in Children with Autism

Creating Feelings of Safety in Children with Autism.jpgOne of the many challenges of working with children with autism is to keep them feeling safe in a world that is often confusing and scary. When people do not feel safe the normal human response is to either “fight” to protect themselves, or resort to “flight” to get away from whatever they perceive as dangerous. This response is no different in those with ASD, though it can be more intense, and can occur more frequently since their sensory system is constantly bombarded by information that is interpreted as dangerous. Whether that information comes from touch, sound, or any other sensory input – the “fight or flight” response is one of self-preservation, and it’s important that others understand the fear behind what is often seen as erratic behavior.

Children whose actions have been misunderstood for long periods of time learn that others cannot be trusted to protect them from their environment, and as they feel less and less safe their “fight or flight” responses become more and more intense. This is one of the reasons that it’s important for caregivers to pay close attention to what autistic children are trying to tell them – whether using verbal or non-verbal ways to communicate. It is vital to assume that an ASD child or teen’s behavior is trying to relay information about their inner state, just as any neurotypical child does. As the autistic child grows up the way they’ve learned to trust others and interact with the world depends a lot on feeling safe in an unpredictable world.

Face Value Comics is hoping to help ASD kids with their interpretation of their environment by placing our heroes in challenging situations and showing how they are able to overcome them without resorting to their “fight or flight” response. By using the Ekman theory of expression, we aim to help these kids and teens learn to interpret the intentions of those around them so that they do not feel threatened and confused by others. Each time they read the comic it can reinforce the concepts of social interaction and reading others’ emotions, which helps with understanding others and interpreting the environment. This understanding can make the world a more predictable place, lowering anxiety levels and helping autistic children and teens develop the skills they need to feel safe in a chaotic world.

In realizing the importance of feeling safe for people with ASD, perhaps it isn’t surprising then that researchers have recently found that very low doses of anti-anxiety drugs appear to be successful in treating autism-like behavior in mice. An article in Scientific American goes into detail about how the medication appears to be working. Medication is a fact of life for many people with disabilities – whether physical or mental – and yet, sadly,  there often remains a stigma attached to the need for it, despite how it can ease symptoms. While medication isn’t the solution for everyone, it is encouraging to see that researchers are continuing to search for safe and useful medications for individuals on the autistic spectrum.

A Brief History of Steampunk

Face Value Comics and Dave Kot Shares History of SteampunkI came across a fascinating article on the history of steampunk recently.  The article I read was on the website of G. D. Falksen, a comic book author who has a fascinating steampunk series, among other genres.  As we are formally announcing our distribution partnership with Diamond today (click here for details), it seems appropriate to spend a little time explaining why we employ the steampunk genre in Issue 1 of our comic series. We’ve mentioned in other articles the fact that steampunk, which is essentially Victorian science fiction, really traces its roots H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.  These authors wrote in the Victorian period, and so naturally imagined a world of technological wonders powered by steam.

Of course, neither Wells nor Verne actually used the term steampunk.  If we trace the history of steampunk as such, we find that the term was coined first in the 1980s by author K.W. Jeter.  He was humorously distinguishing science fiction stories set in the the Victorian period from the prevailing near-future cyberpunk aesthetic of the genre.

The history of steampunk, as well as its current iterations, are quite fascinating.  Often people interested in the steampunk aesthetic will study photographs from the Victorian age to get an idea of how people dressed.  From there, it’s easy to add futuristic details like goggles, gears, or other bits of technology.  A thorough knowledge of the workings of the steam engine will also help a person interested in creating a steampunk universe to do so believably.  The intricacies involved in imagining an alternative future based on steam are practically never-ending.  Face Value Comics has its own version of steampunk.  We hope that our readers are inspired to dream their own steampunk world in to existence, in drawings, writing, or just in their imaginations.  To read more on the history of steampunk, click here to read all of Falksen’s article.

The Beauty of a Smile as a Means of Expression

Smiles as a Means of ExpressionA smile is often called the universal language of kindness.  It is a universal means of expression. The beauty of a smile is that it can be understood, no matter the language barriers that separate people.  One of the first ways a baby has to communicate is by smiling.  A difficulty that parents of autistic children have is the challenge of teaching them how nonverbal communication works.

The facial feature recognition we use in Face Value Comics is one of the tools that can help autistic children learn to read the emotional expressions of others.  It can also help them learn how to communicate with their facial expressions.  Our characters are often shown in a large frame so that our readers can absorb the ways that emotions are expressed facially.  From the beauty of a smile to the intensity of anger or sadness, we strive to illustrate the full range of human emotions.

As autistic children and teens learn to read expressions, they can begin to express theirs more fully.  This can be a great gift to their parents.  As we celebrate  Mother’s Day this weekend, we’re all thinking of ways to make our moms smile.  Sometimes seeing their children smiling is the best gift a mother can receive.  The beauty of a smile is that it not only expresses the joy of the person smiling, but it can also bring joy to the people seeing it.

We’re wishing all of our readers and their mothers a wonderful Mothers Day, and encourage all of you to spread some cheer with your smile!

Helping Those with Autism Feel Loved

Autism and showing loveEveryone wants to feel loved, accepted, and wanted. You can give a child all he needs to survive, but he won’t thrive unless he has the gift of feeling wanted and knowing he is loved. This is just as important for kids and teens on the autistic spectrum as it is for neurotypical children, but communicating how much you care about them must be done more intentionally. ASD kids will not intuitively pick up on the loving tone in your voice, or notice a loving gaze that you give them. They may be touch-defensive and find your loving hugs scary and/or even painful. It doesn’t help that it is easy for caregivers to be irritated by the many “strange” behaviors ASD children use to manage the stressful world they live in. Plus, the constant drives to different therapies, and arguments with teachers or even between caregivers over what is the “right” direction for a child’s therapy to go, can make these kids feel like they are more trouble than they are worth. They may feel that they always make people angry, and this is especially true if they are not able to properly read facial expressions, which is a common problem in autism. Is it any wonder these kids may communicate in one way or another how they are not feeling wanted?

Face Value Comics aims to help children learn to read facial expressions so that they can more accurately understand the emotions of the people around them. Misunderstanding facial expressions adds to confusion and can feed a negative perspective of a situation that might otherwise take a more positive direction. ASD kids and teens need their parents and caregivers to make sure they understand how much they are loved and accepted just as they are. Every kid should know the security of feeling wanted and feeling like they “belong.” The innate uniqueness of every child makes them profoundly significant whether they are neurotypical or not, and it’s important that they know it. Making this a reality requires intentional communication between ASD kids and their parents and caregivers, but it is worth the extra effort.

Do Words Define Autism and Autism Awareness?

Questions raised with autism awareness“Who Do You Think You Are?!?” is a question that has been posed to me from time to time as I continue to promote autism awareness. Outside and within the autism community, division remains about language. At least two camps pitch their tents. One group calls for “person-first” language, while the other group wants to use “identity-first language.”

Person-first language emphasizes readers to acknowledge how individuals with autism are people. Differently-abled skills come secondary to their role as a human being. To this group, calling someone “autistic” detracts from their humanity and dignity as a person.

Identity-first language accepts how autism is an integral part of a person. Celebrating shared strengths and challenges with autism, identity first language accepts autism as a large part of a whole. To this group, calling someone “a person with autism” avoids addressing the depth of how autism impacts an individual- for better or worse.

These labels make me wonder. Does person-first language mean I should call friends who faithfully practice their religion “persons with Judaism” instead of “Jewish?” Do people confuse “persons with autism” with “cats with autism?” Will identity-first language grow to include a statement list like, “I’m 1) autistic, 2) near-sighted, and 3) ambidextrous?” Don’t all of these adjectives accurately describe how a person sees their world differently and uniquely, in whatever order of choice, that may not be readily obvious? Does using identity-first language offer an immediate apology for possible future misunderstandings?

In my mind, either choice of how I label autism will offend some group. Likely, they’ll ignore what we’re trying to accomplish – our goal of giving kids heroes like themselves. We interchange how we use language in the comic book and on the internet. Autism empowerment cannot hinge only on approval of inflexible language.

Diagnosed with autism, how do I identify myself? “Dave” works when “awesome” seems too arrogant. :)

How do you use language to explain autism, and why?