The “Pow! Kick! Bang!” of the comic Fighting Covid hasn’t lost its punch. Nine months after NW Disability Support (NWDS) debuted the comic book and its follow-up, Beating COVID, the non-profit has delivered the graphic tales to more than 250,000 households.
“The comic book is such a great learning tool,” said Angela Frome, NWDS senior program director. “One family shared the story of a girl, 15, with autism. Every time she heard the word COVID, she would cry and leave the room. We were able to send comics to the mom. It was the first time this girl was able to read and understand COVID and have a conversation about it.”
Created by artist Shannon Wheeler, the comics are just one way NWDS is furthering its mission “to create and nurture a loving and inclusive community celebrating every person with a disability including Down syndrome.”
Since the start of the pandemic the group has backed state legislation ensuring people with disabilities get the support they need to make health care decisions. They’ve held community listening sessions and signed people up for vaccinations. And for those who aren’t comfortable in a traditional vaccination setting, NWDS has hosted multiple specially designed vaccination clinics.
“We create a flexible, accessible space where, as much as possible, folks can have us meet them where they are,” said Frome. “We have private spaces, spaces with fidgets at each vaccine booth, comics the kids can read. They can sit, stand, however they feel most comfortable.”
For the family of one young woman it meant seven visits, a party with a bubble machine, music and balloons before they succeeded in vaccinating her. For one young man the process took three hours and nine family members. For another girl, fidgets and support from Frome’s therapy dog, Jace, did the trick.
NWDS has more vaccination clinics scheduled through March 2022.
“I feel really proud of the fact we’ve been able to walk alongside the community,” said Frome. “If it takes them an hour, two, three hours; if they need to sit, stand – we’re going to keep creating a welcoming environment. No stigma. No ill will.”