Imagine being filled with emotion, yet unable to express how you feel. That is what many children with intellectual disabilities face today. With the uncertainty of opening the direct services to disabled chidlren still prevailing, SAMADHAN continues with its online therapy, educational and counselling support. The current pandemic brought a complete halt to outdoor activities in the lives of children. This isolation led to pent-up emotions resulting in anger, frustration and hyperactivity in children with intellectual disabilities and great amount of stress to their families. In order to provide a platform to address this concern, SAMADHAN, in collaboration with Art for Change Foundation (AFC), conducted an interactive and engaging virtual workshop on 14th May 2021 with parents, students, staff and interns. The main focus was to create a learning environment for children in their day-to-day lives through art and art-related projects. The resource person for the session was Mr Isaac Gregan, Director of AFC. Being an artist and photographer, Mr Gregan began the workshop through an interactive session with the parents and staff to find out the types of art-related activities they used to engage with their children and the challenges that they faced. The participants expressed that the children loved to play with colours, and fingerpainting was found to be the most common way of expression as majority of them have difficulties in holding a crayon or paintbrush. Using art as a medium of therapy, our counsellor shared that she uses techniques such as bubble painting for children with hyperactivity as it helps them to channelize their energy constructively.
The resource person then shared a thought-provoking and incisive presentation on basic and complex emotions, theories of six basic emotions. Mr Gregan elaborated on the importance of filling the children’s environment with colours to pique their interest and also advised the parents to embellish their child’s artwork around the house as this would boost up their confidence immensely. He also gave an ingenious idea to create a cardboard tree to hang their artwork and other artistic knick-knacks as this would motivate the children to continuously engage in new artistic projects.
An interesting activity was introduced which engaged the attendees to use their imagination to look outside a window and draw whatever came to their mind. He then asked them to repeat this process by imagining that they were looking inside the window. Most of them imagined something related to nature like birds, trees, rain etc., which clearly indicated that they long to come out of their confinement and enjoy the nature.
The workshop not only helped to break the monotony but turned out to be a stressbuster for parents and children to use their artistic creativity within the confines of their home in the midst of the pandemic.
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