LOOK: This Graphic Novel Aims to Break the Stigma Surrounding Autism

“When many people are lacking empathy, it’s always inspiring to see different ways to counter that. I believe the book is successful in creating empathy in people who may have a narrow view of autism,” states DreamWorks Storyboard Artist Eric Pineda in his review of Doobiedoo Asks, a graphic novel about a boy on the autism spectrum.

Told from the point of view of the mom, Doobiedoo Asks shows the story of first-time parents figuring out how to raise their son — the titular character, Doobiedoo — while coming to grips with the diagnosis. It is also a touching account of the struggles Doobiedoo faced for being different from the other kids in school and his subsequent triumphs.

Photo from Bambi Eloriaga-Amago

Written by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago and illustrated by her husband, Roland Amago, the book is a semi-autobiographical account of the creators’ own experiences with their son, who is a CWA (Child with Autism) himself. In telling their story, the author hopes to raise awareness about autism.

(ALSO READ: FAM Mnl Aims to End the Stigma Around Mental Health)

The graphic novel also comes as a reaction to media stereotypes. “Right now,” says Eloriaga-Amago, “most characters with autism are either portrayed as super geniuses or are those who seem mentally deficient.” On the contrary, she wishes to show that as the word spectrum implies, a person can fall anywhere on or in between those two extremes. As they say in autism support communities, “When you meet one person with autism, you’ve only met one person with autism.” She adds that in the same way that each person is different, we can say the same about people with autism. “They don’t all come from the same mold.”

Bambi Eloriaga-Amago

With the work, the author further hopes to break the stigma that surrounds the autism “label,” and that people will come to view persons with autism as they are: people with different abilities, but still just as human as you and me.

Doobiedoo Asks is an official selection of the first-ever Philippine International Comics Festival. Due for release in November, copies can be ordered through komiket.org.

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