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Interactive comic proves effective tool for kids with autism

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What has been a lifelong love of comics and video games for Tamar Medina has turned into an interesting business. Medina and his co-founders developed J-Lynn Entertainment in 2011. The Cleveland-based company makes video game comics -- interactive comics in which the reader controls the outcome.
In July, Medina began test marketing the video game comics at conventions. “The feedback we got at the comic conventions was great,” says Medina.
But at the conventions, Medina also got an unexpected reaction. Parents and teachers approached him to say his video game comics would be a helpful tool for children with autism. After some research into autism, Medina and his team discovered their games were perfect for cognitive training, collecting performance data, and research in autism spectrum disorders.
“Kids with autism have trouble reading and comprehending certain words,” Medina explains. “But reading a comic and seeing what’s going on with pictures, the kids really adhere to technology.” Because the comics are interactive, they also help autistic children develop their social and decision-making skills.
Medina went to top experts for help in developing a line of games specific to kids with autism. “At the end of the game, we put statistics on the social choices they made,” says Medina of one feature he’s incorporated. “We wanted to have it be fun and be interactive.”
J-Lynn Entertainment is still developing its regular line of video game comics and is talking to investors. The company has five employees. Medina says they are hoping to bring on a full-time programmer, and envisions J-Lynn will employ 25 to 50 people within the next five years.
“The passion is awesome and we think our product will be great, not only in improving the autism condition, but also identifying it,” says Medina. “I believe we have the ability and skills for growth. J-Lynn is currently polishing its prototype and hopes to release it this fall for android.

Source: Tamar Medina
Writer: Karin Connelly
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