Support for children aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Comic Strip Conversations: Going back to school

A comic strip is a way of showing pictures of a conversation - the things said in a conversation, how people might be feeling and what people's intentions might be.

This is helpful for children and young people who can find it hard to have a conversation or to work out the feelings of others and why we do the things we do. It can help to show ways of coping with new and different situations.

Comic strip conversations use stick figures and symbols to show how we interact and with whom. Colour can be used to represent how something makes us feel.

You can find out more in the book 'Comic Strip Conversations' by Carol Gray (1994) or on the National Autistic Society website.

Guide to creating comic strip conversations

The following colours are suggested to represent emotions

  • Green: Good ideas, happy friendly
  • Red: Bad ideas, teasing, anger, unfriendly
  • Blue: Sad, uncomfortable
  • Brown: Comfortable, cosy
  • Purple: Proud
  • Yellow: Frightened
  • Black: Facts, things we know
  • Orange: Questions
  • Combination of colours: Confused

Draw the comic strip together while talking with your child. Let your child take the lead. You can ask questions.

Start with an easy topic e.g. 'Tell me about your trip to the shop'.

Draw the 'location symbol' in the top left corner e.g. shopping trolley for visit to a shop, or desk and chair for school. Your child draws while you ask questions to guide them.

Questions you might ask:
  1. Where are you? Where will you be?
  2. Who else is there? Who else will be there?
  3. What are you doing? What will you do?
  4. What happened, what did others do? What will others be doing?
  5. What did you say? What will you say?
  6. What did others say? What will others say?
  7. What did you think when you said that? What might you be thinking?
  8. What did others think when they said/did that? What might others be thinking?

If your child finds it hard to put events in order, you can add boxes and number them, cut them out and place in order. You can summarise the conversation with them. Then talk about what this will be like when they do return to school.

Example of a simple Comic Strip Conversation about returning to school

Here is an example of a simple Comic Strip Conversation about returning to school. You can use it as a guide when creating your own comic strip conversation with your child.

Going back to school