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NAS: What is a comic book conversation?

Example Comic Strip Figure 3

Taken from the NAS website

What is a comic strip conversation?

Comic strip conversations are a technique developed by Carol Gray to help people with autism develop greater social understanding.

Comic strip conversations provide visual representations of the different levels of communication that take place in a conversation, using symbols, stick figure drawings and colour. By seeing the different elements of a conversation presented visually, some of the more abstract aspects of social communication (such as recognising the feelings and intentions of others) are made more 'concrete' and are therefore easier to understand.

Comic strip conversations can also offer an insight into how a person with autism perceives a situation.

What does it look like?

Comic strip conversations use symbols to represent social interactions and abstract aspects of conversation, and colour to represent the emotional content of a statement or message (Gray, 1994). 

Figure 3 (above) shows some symbols taken from Carol Gray's Comic strip conversations (1994). The symbols represent a range of concepts that may be involved in a conversation.

Figure 4 (below) shows some 'conversation colours' that could be used to represent a range of feelings and ideas.

Who can benefit from comic strip conversations?

Comic strip conversations can be used to increase social understanding in young people and adults on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum.

What do I need to write a comic strip conversation?

The basic tools are paper and pencils, but you might also use crayons, coloured pencils and markers.

Try asking the person with autism to select the materials that they would like to use for their comic strip conversations. This can help them to get more involved in the process. 

Some people may like to have their comic strip conversations in a notebook so that they can refer to them as needed, and easily recall key concepts.

For more information about visual supports, such as picture symbols, see Visual supports

The Wellbeing and Autism Wheel

In this section:

How to use comic strip conversations

Comic strip conversations can help people with autism to understand concepts that they find difficult. Other people - such as parents, carers and teachers - can offer support and guidance.


Introducing and using social stories

Guidelines on introducing and using social stories effectively, so that they produce the benefits you intend.


More information on social stories and comic strip conversations

Workshops, websites, videos and books related to social stories and comic strip conversations.


Social stories: their uses and benefits

More information about social stories, including how they can be used and who can benefit from them.


What is a comic strip conversation?

Comic strip conversations are visual representations of the different levels of communication that happen in a conversation. They use symbols, stick figure drawings and colour.


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