Helping kids understand ALS
ALS is a neurodegenerative disorder in which people slowly lose the ability to walk, talk, and breathe. There is no known cure. Having a parent with this diagnosis when you're a kid or a tween is confusing and scary. The ALS Association and behavioral health researchers at the University of Wisconsin created two guides to help two key age groups (kids under 9 and tweens) understand and assist their parent living with ALS. I led a team to bring these two guides to life in relatable formats.
The graphic novel
FINDING THE RIGHT PATH
While the researchers and the ALS Association knew what to say, they did not know how much information kids under nine would retain, how much information they could be presented with, or if their proposed graphic novel format would be successful. We tested these assumptions, the tone, and reader comprehension, with a short survey. This gave us the right insights to pick a cover, address the tone of sensitive matters correctly, and get our message across with the right amount of content. This was adapted into a 30-page comic with illustrations that were inspired by popular kids' graphic novels.
Choose your own adventure
GIVING TWEENs THE REINS
When you're just about to become a teenager, you're exploring autonomy and the researchers wanted to capitalize on this. For the second guide, we developed a choose your own adventure format in print and digital that allowed tweens to look through the lenses of three relatable characters and discover more about ALS.