Now Or Never

Regina Mom uses comics to teach people how to accept her daughter's autism

As a mother on the autism spectrum herself, Brittany McDonald wants to make sure her daughter isn't failed in the same ways she was. So she created a series of comics to teach people how to interact with her daughter, Ru.
An illustration of Ru, done by her Mom Brittany. (Dela McDonald)

Like any parent, Brittany McDonald wants her daughter to feel happy and supported by her community. Ru, who is almost four, was diagnosed with autism approximately a year ago.

Brittany and her daughter, Ru. (Submitted / Brittany McDonald)
But McDonald knows first-hand what it's like to grow up on the spectrum and to feel alone. She was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as a young adult. 

"I'm fortunate, in that I have the perspective of a parent as well as the perspective of somebody who is on the spectrum herself."

As she made her way through high school, McDonald felt increasingly overwhelmed and unable to communicate to others about the supports she needed.  

"I was feeling like I was failing, but looking back I really believe I was being failed," said McDonald. 

In order to make sure her daughter isn't failed in the same ways she was, McDonald created a series of comics called 'Happy Hands'. Using the almost-four-year-old's likeness, each issue aims to demystify autism and teach people how to be "a good friend" to Ru. 

McDonald says that she has already seen the comics have an impact. After friends have read the issues, she's seen them change their behaviour with Ru. 

"When somebody interacts with Ru, how Ru wants to interact, she gives them this look like: 'Wow, you get it. You're a friend!'"

"It communicates to her that this person is interested in her and what she wants to do." 

'Happy Hands' by Brittany McDonald: 

(Brittany McDonald)

(Brittany McDonald)


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