Led Bradshaw And His Son Jacob Create Super Hero Series To Help Educate Special Needs Kids
Led Bradshaw is a quintessential father and then some. His love for his son on the autism spectrum Jacob, and his commitment to help him succeed is also complimented by his concern for helping other children with similar challenges.
Bradshaw discovered a way to use his talent for art and drawing to connect on a profound level to help his son to learn using his love of superheroes. I was able to get Led to take time from his busy parenting and professional schedule to answer some questions on the innovative and inspirational development of the Jake Jetpulse comic superhero educational series.
Interview with Led Bradshaw
Kamau: Can you tell us a little about your background and your son's life growing up?
Led Bradshaw: I'm a Brooklyn born comic book artist/writer, graphic artist and Level 1 Teaching Assistant. Art is my life and it presents me with a ton of challenges yet none are more challenging or exciting than being a single father to an amazing 7 year old boy named Jacob.
Ever since I was I a kid, all I ever wanted was to draw comic books or saturday morning cartoons. It was always in my dreams. That's all I ever wanted.
Autism became a part of my life when Jake was diagnosed at the age of four. I created Jetpulse comics by embracing his special interests and pull him into learning.
Jake created the story for Jake Jetpulse through illustrations that he drew and hung on the refrigerator. After school, we'd sit and draw together for 30 minutes everyday.
Kamau: What inspired you to go into developing your comic book series with your son?
Led Bradshaw: before Jake was diagosed with autism, His mother and I noticed that he was having difficulties paying attention and learning in class. He was very self-directed and spent a great deal of time focusing on superheroes. Understanding this subject as his special interest, I incorporated 25 minute art activities into his daily routine.
At first, we focused on understanding emotions with colors. Then using those colors to communicate our mood in pictures. After several weeks of this, Jake started drawing himself as a caped superhero named "Ultra-Jake".
I encouraged him to draw more pictures of Jake and his superhero adventure. We worked together to flesh out the world that his character lives in, his strengths, weaknesses, as well as his allies and villains.
The "Ultra-Jake" character became such a big part of him; So much, that he'd dress up like his character to play. That's when I got the idea to draw the character myself and include his daily homework into the adventure.
Led Bradshaw: The name of our comic book series is "The New Adventures of Jake Jetpulse" with Jake as the main hero. he's joined by his best friends, Julia Santiago and Marrz the Troll. The characters were created to represent the three characteristics of autism.
Julia Santiago is the brains of the team. Her incredible intellect and knowledge of everything technical makes her an incredibly valuable member of the team. She's more into building fighting robots than hanging out at the mall with her friends.
Marrz is a member of a race of beings who dwell in the "Under-Boroughs" of New York City. they're a noble race of trolls who live to protect an ancient suit of armor that, if in the wrong hands, could spell doom for everyone on the planet. While lost and hungry on the surface, Marrz gets in trouble by stealing Julia's lunchbox. Jake helps Marrz return the stolen lunchbox and Julia forgives him for taking it and offers to help the giant troll. This is how they become friends.