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Maryland Family Creates Comic Book To Explain Coronavirus to Daughter With Autism

A family from Sykesville, Maryland explained the coronavirus to their daughter with autism in a unique and creative way.

A family in Sykesville, Maryland has developed a unique and unconventional way of explaining the ongoing Coronavirus crisis to their daughter, a high school junior with autism. According to a report this month by Baltimore, the family of Deborah Brusio, who is on the autism spectrum, created a comic book in which she is the central figure, with the title “Debbie Fights Coronavirus.” 

Vincent Brusio, Deborah’s father, said the comic is “portable, it’s full of color, it’s a PDF format so it can be seen on any plane, any tablet any computer because of the universal application.” Vincent was tasked with publishing the comic, while his wife Julie used her teaching background to edit and oversee production. Their son, Joseph, who attends Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, contributed to the artwork. 

Julie said she hopes the book, which can be viewed on the Coronavirus page of the Pathfinders for Autism website, will offer encouragement and support to children with autism whose routines have been disrupted by the Coronavirus. 

“I really hope that this book helps kids understand that even though they’re at home and their normal routines have altogether stopped, that it brings them an understanding of other things they can do in place of those normal routines,” Julie was quoted as saying by Baltimore Sun. “And that it’s OK to be upset at this time and frustrated because it is an incredibly hard and frustrating time for everybody and it’s normal to have to be upset. So I just hope that brings some comfort and it helps to support their understanding of what’s going on.”

Vincent, who currently works as a realtor, also utilized his 23-year career in the comic book industry to teach his daughter about social distancing. 

“School was closed and she was having a very hard time trying to understand why her life was turned upside down,” Vincent explained. “So, I started originally creating a social story using images off the internet. But then when I started putting it together, I thought, this might be something that could be put online for other people to use as well.”

Julie believes the comic can be beneficial for other children and young adults on the autism spectrum, in part due to being written in the third person. 

“Since this was written in the third person, it’s really, it’s really great for anybody,” she said, “including small children to understand what’s going on.”


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