The Short of It
Dad creates a comic that features a wheelchair-bound hero to inspire his disabled daughter.
Emily White was born with Spina Bifida, a neural tube defect that results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves, and hydrocephlaus, which is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. After her parents struggled to find something positive and fun in the mainstream media that their daughter could relate to, her dad Dan created a comic called "The Department of Ability," which stars his daughter in a flying wheelchair and tells the story of a gang of superheroes who don't let their diabilities hold them back and instead use them as their super powers.
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"We searched and searched, and we just couldn't find anything in the entertainment industry that related to her," Dan told Today.com. "So I decided to create it. The disabled community is so dear to me, and I want to see them represented in a more positive light."
His goal, he said, is to give confidence to disabled children around the world, who, like his daughter, are more than just their disabilities.
"Emily is so much more than her wheelchair," said Dan. "She loves sports, arts, comics, music and more. She's a force to be reckoned with."
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Not surprisingly, the comic—which Dan says is now 70 percent complete—has received lots of international attention from disabled communities, and the devoted dad has now scored an agent, who he says plans to promote the comic at the London Book Fair in an effort to score a mainstream deal.
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"Disabled children deserve to be represented in books and on TV in a positive way, without sad music in the background accompanying their story," he says on his website. "Children with disabilities are funny, exciting, happy, sad, mischievious, rude, caring. Just like any other child. I have created the Department of Ability ... so that ALL children, (not just ones with special needs) can watch, enjoy, relate to, and realize that the child who lives down the street is just the same as them. Just with a difference."