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Liverpool-based ADHD Foundation – the largest user-led ADHD agency in Europe – is set to launch a new 24-page, graphically illustrated comic that aims to put an end to the disabling perception of neurodiverse individuals, and instead, celebrate ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia.
Based on the Foundation’s real-life group of inspirational young ambassadors, The Adventures of the Umbrella Gang is also inspired by the charity’s successful Umbrella Project, an art installation which has seen brightly-coloured umbrellas suspended in Liverpool city centre, BBC North at MediaCityUK, Salford, Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and schools across the UK, part of a campaign to raise awareness about neurodiversity and celebrate cognitive differences.
The comic, which has been produced in collaboration with Dekko Comics, with support from Big Lottery and the BFI, will be launched at the ADHD Foundation’s Annual Conference (October 4-5), at ACC Liverpool, and will be made available to school children across the country from aged six to 12-year-olds.
The conference is the largest multidisciplinary conference of its kind in the UK welcoming over 700 delegates and a field of experts from across the globe, including the USA, Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, China, Italy, Ireland and the UK. Patron of the Foundation, comedian Rory Bremner, will attend the Friday event to give a speech about why more people in the public eye are speaking out about their neurodiversity. The Saturday event will also be the first SEN conference solely dedicated to parents and carers.
Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO ADHD Foundation, said:
“Based on our incredible young ambassadors, each with a different and equally inspirational story to tell, the hope is that through this comic we can break down some of the negative misconceptions that are out there about neurodiversity, and through the medium of illustration and words, reassure those children coming to terms with their neurodiversity that everything will be ok. It’s not a disability, it is a superpower, that with the right support can be a truly amazing thing.
“We believe this concept is the perfect ensemble for the neurodiversity ethos – conveyed in a way that is fun, informative and accessible to a younger age group – and hopefully, there will be other adventures to follow in the future so watch this space!”
Siena Castellon, 16, neurodiversity advocate and inspiration for one of the comic’s characters, said:
“I’m thrilled to be featured in the Umbrella Gang comic. I hope the characters help young neurodivergent children who may be struggling to come to terms with being different, to embrace who they are and to see their unique strengths, talents and abilities as a “superpower”. I am proud to be working with the ADHD Foundation on projects that raise awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity.”
The Umbrella Gang tells the story of five young people and their pets – all of whom are neurodiverse – and their journey from first learning to understand their learning differences, to overcoming a struggle and emerging at the end triumphant, understanding and managing their new-found superpowers.
The comic is based on the Foundation’s young ambassadors, who are:
For further information about the Umbrella Project and ADHD Foundation visit www.adhdfoundation.org.uk.
To view and download The Adventures of the Umbrella Gang comic, click here.
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