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Trying to remember my childhood is often like looking for a torch in a power cut. I know that it’s there but finding it, that’s another story. One memory I can recall is from when I was ten. I really disliked reading and writing. It was just not explained clearly enough and often was too much information in too short a period. It became so uncomfortable because here was me, aged ten and unable to read and write, while other children were far ahead of “where I was meant to be”. The idea of reading something , or even trying to, was off putting. I was often treated like I wasn’t trying when I was I just didn’t understand. What changed that was a comic book. If you are unfamiliar with the Beano it is a comic book, created in Dundee, Scotland , that has been around since 1938. What I find interesting looking back is I may have been seeing parts of myself in the main character. Not only that, but finding this online as well: “Dennis the Menace, the poster child for ADHD.” I think what connected me to the character of Dennis were the countless misunderstandings. There were times he tried so hard but it just wasn’t seen. I think I was also drawn to him partly because I couldn’t communicate with my family. There was a child like me that kept me company. I felt alone often as a child, but I could withdraw and spend time with Dennis. Go into his world for a bit, one where we could be misunderstood together. It would be another 22 years before I started to learn to read and write properly. I think because of that I will always have a place in my heart for Dennis and The Beano. Because I do wonder if it hadn’t been for seeing a child often misunderstood like me, potentially, a neurodivergent child living his life in the comic strip, maybe this path, where I am right at this point in my life, maybe that wouldn’t have happened. All the best Ross Words – Ross A Fraser Graphic Design App – Canva Image Rights – The Beano and DC Thompson #NewLifeAutistic

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Ross A Fraser
Ross A Fraser
23 mag 2022

Before I picked up a copy of the Beano (aged 10) I honestly never thought I’d be able to read and write. I definitely never, ever imagined I’d become a writer.

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