Spanish illustrator tackles daughter's autism with humor

Elisabeth O'Leary

Award-winning Spanish illustrator Miguel Gallardo has overcome the limitations imposed by his daughter's autism by doing what he does best -- drawing.

Gallardo's sketches over 12 years led to a beautifully etched comic book, "Maria and I" (Maria y Yo), explaining everyday life with his daughter and its challenges.

That book has now become a documentary film of the same name, which opens in Spain this week.

"You could say I had a debt to pay (to my past) or something like that. The drawings came from a diary I started when Maria was born ... but really it took me 13 years to find the right voice to tell a difficult story," he told Reuters.

Directed by Felix Fernandez de Castro, the film tracks the relationship between Maria, Miguel and his ex-wife May, and how they have learned to cope with Maria's disability.

The drawings are blended seamlessly into the film providing it with ironic winks and with no hint of sentimentality. Maria, a 14-year old with an infectious grin and a love of food, is a charming and surprising protagonist.

Before the book, Gallardo was more famous in Spain as creator of a punk comic book madhouse escapee called Makoki.

But the project has helped lay to rest some of his darker feelings -- anger, guilt and frustration -- by airing them.

"Maria didn't just change my life and my scale of values, but the way I draw," he says, "It's simpler now."

The documentary shows his sketchbook when Maria was born, with dimpled baby drawings abruptly becoming blank pages when her developmental progress started to show problems.

Full article from Washington Post here

Related Articles

Emma Noble on challenges of raising her son with autism

The three little words "I love you" mean a lot to most of us. But it was FOUR words that melted Emma Noble's h ..

read more

Dolphins help treat autism in China

A marine park in northeast China has purchased four dolphins from Japan to be used to treat children with auti ..

read more

'How to Be a Sister': Autism and hard-won love

When Margaret Garvin was 3 years old, she was diagnosed with severe autism. Her sister Eileen was about to be ..

read more

Our Support Community

Join our free support community and connect with thousands of other families and individuals touched by ASD. Find out what’s working for others, coping strategies, and life guides from others living what you’re going through now. Click here to join for free!

Resources in Your Area

Looking for autism resources nearby? Check our listings for professionals and services that might help.

Post your services | Help out in general


9th World Rett Syndrome Congress
Surfers Paradise, QLD - Australia
Sep-30-2020 - 09:00 am
The Rett Syndrome Association of Australia (RSAA)email rettaust@bigpond.comwishes to draw attention to the fact that it is staging the 9th World Rett Syndrome Congress i ..
Go to Event site

view all events