At just three-years-old, Led Bradshaw’s son was diagnosed with autism. In response, he created the Jake JetPulse comic books.
According to NBC News Chicago, who first reported the story, these comics — of which five are currently available for purchase — combine “superhero” type scenarios with educational and learning opportunities.
And Bradshaw said that these comics even helped his son, Jake, develop some of his skills as well.
“His vocabulary started to build, he became more confident,” Bradshaw said. “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.”
Jake JetPulse, while inspired by Jake, is also co-written by him today, as well.
“He sits at my side while I’m putting it all together so I get his stamp of approval,” Bradshaw said. “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 also said that his comics have been used by educators as a tool to help both students and teachers understand the challenges inherent with autism spectrum disorders.
He also said that he doesn’t want people to discount children on the spectrum on sight, and hopes that the Jake JetPack series helps dispel some of those myths.
“There are amazing and exceptional individuals who are on the autism spectrum. I wanted to create something that gives people hope,” he said.
But if you’re worried about whether Jake Bradshaw, himself, feels “different,” there’s some good news.
“If you’re diagnosed with autism, that’s not bad,” Jake said. “It’s OK. You’re still unique, and you can do anything.”