Many people receive autism labels these days. Sometimes people are diagnosed with autism when they are young children. Other people struggle into adulthood until their challenges are given the autism label. This labeling can be helpful for some to get professional support and education. Different labels can help us understand aspects of ourselves and our loved ones, and help us empower ourselves to address our unique challenges.
At Face Value Comics, we’ve dedicated ourselves to helping society understand those given Autism Labels: children, teens and adults everywhere who are challenged with Autism Spectrum Disorders, or ASD. At the same time, we want to give people with ASD tools to help them navigate the neurotypical world.
One thing that people with ASD struggle with is recognizing what others’ facial expressions mean. In our stories we use the theories of Dr. Paul Ekman and his Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to illustrate different emotions. Because a comic is a static image, people can study the face as long as necessary to decode the emotional signals. The words appear in speech bubbles and captions help place the scene in context.
More than anything, we hope that Face Value Comics will give useful autism expressions, both to help people with ASD understand the emotions of others, and to give a positive and affirming view of people with ASD to a neurotypical world. An autism diagnosis isn’t the last word on a person. Autism labels should just be a tool for understanding. We hope that we can further this understanding with our stories of Michael, his friends, and The Zephyr!