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Monday, September 04, 2006

Differently Abled

Being at the school for the disabled today was shocking. I know what profoundly handicapped children are like. I had one of my own for a while but it's no less shocking when you see how terribly disabled these children are. One of the things that hadn't really registered with me was that a fair number of the children would be blind. What use is art to a blind child? But as the large woman with the large hat from the (then) Spastic Society used to say to me 'it would suit you better to concentrate on their abilities rather than their disabilities' so that's what I did.

I taped a long roll of wallpaper lining to the table only to have it ripped off by a child with amazingly long arms reaching from his wheelchair. So this was war! Right. I'm nothing if not a fighter.

We played with the paint, wisely substituting washable for acrylic. The rolling and stamping went well and so did the scraping to make marks. I have a number of 'scrapey things' that I've collected over the years including a plastic Bart Simpson's head which works well because of his spikey hair.

The older children with severe difficulties in the autistic spectrum had more use of their hands and were able to paint glue onto card, pick up and stick on foam shapes and, with help. take a crayon rubbing.

Lots of lovely accidental art appeared and I've decided were going to use what we made today to make a rip and stick sea collage next week - and I know the very boy for the ripping!


MargaretR said...

Hi Sally. I'm sorry you had such a shock today, no matter how prepared you were. That was good advice you were given about concentrating on their abilities and I know with that attitude you will cope.
I was going to teach at a school like that, but my cousin who was deputy head there told me he knew I couldn't do it because I was too emotional and I think he was right.

Gill said...

The most inspiring art class I've seen was one for people with sight impairment - but these were adults and there were no behavioural issues.
They did drawings based on some very tactile stones and fossils...some lovely sensitive mark making went on and I left feeling that art was a satisfying means of creative expression, regardless of whether you can see the marks you have made.
But I guess that your group have rather more energy to put into their work and clearly colour is going to feature strongly, too.
I think you're all going to have a great time!