Carol Gray combines stick-figures with “conversation symbols” to illustrate what people say and think during conversations. Showing what people are thinking reinforces that others have independent thoughts—a concept spectrum children don’t intuitively understand. Children can also recognize that, although people say one thing, they may think something quite different—another concept foreign to “concrete-thinking” children. Children can draw their own “comic strips” to show what they are thinking and feeling about events or people. Different colours can represent different states of mind. These deceptively simple “comic strips” can reveal as well as convey quite a lot of substantive information.
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.