Special Needs - Most of us have heard the term "children with special needs", but the reality is that there are many different conditions that a child may have in order to fall into the category of being a child with special needs. Children with autism are considered to have special needs while those with select mutism, dyslexia, behavioral or learning disabilities are also considered to be children with special needs. All of these conditions and many others cause children to have difficulty functioning in the ways that we consider normal. They may have difficulty reading or comprehending. They may also have difficulty relating to other people in social situations.
The comic will be run weekly on VHIconnect.org and will be syndicated to newspapers across the United States. "The Special Needs Gang" is the first comic strip to have lead characters with developmental disabilities.
Similar to the Charles M. Schultz strip "Peanuts"; the main characters are lovable and colorful, facing their challenges with a daily dose of determination, hope and fun. Rounding out the cast of characters are caregivers, teachers, therapists and administrators who provide services to the 'gang'.
Following the current trend of bringing developmental disabilities into the public spotlight, VHIconnect wants to introduce children (and adults) to this previously hidden world of special needs in a fun, lighthearted way, while also making them aware of the adversity these individuals face.
Apol, Enrique, Esteban, Randy, Blake, Calvin and Marilyn bring to the readers an array of personalities and disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, cognitive and physical disabilities. However, like anyone else, they can be serious or silly, angry or philosophical about life, friends, disabilities and service programs. They often provide a unique perspective on life. As viewed from the eyes of a person with a disability, the world can look very different, and sometimes very challenging.
To the rescue is the Care Team, an eclectic group of individuals that provide educational services, therapy, and other supports to The Special Needs Gang. This compassionate group of professionals work diligently to maximize the quality of life of those they serve. On any given day, they are capable of working miracles, but at times they unintentionally make life more difficult for the members of the 'gang'. Their intentions are good, but the outcomes can be surprising! In the end, things work out, with a lesson or two for everyone involved.
"The VHIconnect website is quite impressive." says Georgia Yerby, mother of a special needs child and former president of a California advocacy organization. "The comic strip will make it even more interesting and enjoyable."
The Special Needs Gang creative team is made up of Steve Johnson and June Lim, both strong advocates for persons with disabilities. Steve, a former tech industry executive, has worked and volunteered with special needs individuals for over 12 years, and has a number of innovations and awards to his credit. More information about the creative team, the comic strip, and the social network for the special needs community can be found at the VHIconnect website at www.VHIconnect.org, then click on the About VHI - History menu tab.
Vast Horizons, a California nonprofit based in Silicon Valley, has a history of developing innovative service models for persons with special needs. Our latest innovation, a social networking and news website, connects families, caregivers, educators, and healthcare professionals to information, resources, and each other. For further information, please contact us at (877) 875-2594.