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Nava R. Silton, Ph.D

Marymount Manhattan College
221 East 71st Street
New York, New York 10021
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          Unparalleled Research Success                                           

Realabilities is a television show, a puppet show musical, and comic book series created to bolster typical children’s positive expectancies of children with disabilities by portraying the strengths or special abilities that many children with disabilities possess, rather than creating negative expectancies by solely focusing on the impairments of individuals with special needs. While some video interventions have effected modest improvements in children’s behavioral intentions towards children with disabilities (Silton, 2009), very few interventions have been successful at enhancing cognitive attitudes (Campbell et al., 2004; Swaim & Morgan, 2001).  Silton (2013, 2014, 2015), along with her students, have discovered that the Realabilities Television Show and Comic Book Series has repeatedly effected substantial and statistically significant change from pre to post testing in enhancing both the behavioral intentions AND cognitive attitudes of typical children towards children with all four forms of disabilities in the series (blindness, deafness, physical impairment and autism), using Modified Versions of the Shared Activities Questionnaire (Morgan et al., 1996) and the Adjective Checklist (Siperstein & Bak, 1980), respectively. As aforementioned, these findings are especially illuminating, since they are some of the first to show the success of an intervention in improving cognitive attitudes towards children with disabilities. 

***If you’d like to see Results of the Paired Samples T-tests, the Analysis of Covariance or basic Descriptive findings, please contact us and we will be delighted to supply them.                        

 Click Here for APS 2015 Presentation Poster


Kids & Teachers Tested, Kids & Teachers Approved!


Various iterations of The Realabilities TV Show and Comic Book Series have traveled to Elementary Schools in Manhattan, NY (N=76 students), Brooklyn, NY (N=152 students), Albany, NY (N=68 Students), Teaneck, New Jersey (N=57 Students), and Baltimore, Maryland (N=87 Students).  The New Teachers’ Realabilities Pack (Including the first 5 Realabilities Comic Books, the Comic Book Companion and the Disabilities in Depth Manual) will be tested in schools in Manhattan, NY this summer and in Baltimore, Maryland, Skokie, Illinois and Denver, Colorado in the Fall! If your school is interested in the Realabilities testing or in the Realabilities package this fall, please contact us as soon as possible to ensure you have all of your materials in time!


Sample Child Responses:

“We just watched your episode of “Realabilities.” It was amazing. I learned that people with disabilities have a lot more abilities than I thought. I think that for the next episode, you can do it in the mall where it’s public and show what it’s like.  My favorite character is Rolly because he is amazing at soccer and it proves that people in a wheelchair can play sports.” – D., 4th grade female

“I loved Realabilities! I empathized with the characters. I learned that it’s important to accept everyone no matter if they have a disability. I think Ezra did the right thing- he made them feel a part of the group. I think it’s hard to stand up to a mean person, but I think I would try to do this.” – E., 4th grade male



Sample Teacher Response:

“This project exceeded my expectations and I am thrilled that I made the time to incorporate this into the curriculum and into the day in general.  We read one comic book a day and the students waited with baited breath to receive the new comic book the next day.  They empathized with many of the characters and were able to see themselves in many of the characters.  We were fortunate to have the creator, Nava Silton come to discuss her project with us and they couldn't wait to read future story lines. Some even suggested ideas and themes for future books and episodes. Realabilities is a deep, meaningful, and fun way to teach empathy and actual skills on how to relate to others with differences.  I highly recommend it.” –4th Grade Teacher  

Presentation Posters

- Click Here for EPA 2015 Poster

Click Here for APA 2014 Poster

Click Here for APS 2013 Poster

Research Team

Through the years, the following students have contributed and continue to contribute invaluably to the research success of Realabilities: 

Senada Arucevic, Alicia Ferris, Kristina Keyser, Carol Wagner, Avery Toland, Michael Corning, Michael Rojas, Danielle Schlough, Jennifer Santamaria, Rebecca Ruchlin, Rachel Hout, Vanessa Norkus, and Emily Hotez.