On any typical day at Awakening Minds Art, you will find parents, students, teachers all engaged in one purpose, to expand the horizons for the individuals who often have learning or developmental disabilities. The focus is not to just teach a person to paint. It is to learn patience, creativity, sensory recognition and behaviors that carry into other facets of life. The instructors are professional, possess skills through education and driven by love and passion for the students.
Today, at the Findlay studio, there is a combined therapy activity that has Amy Foley of Heartstrings Melodies teaching music as a therapy, the class is called "Art in Music". While Amy has the students rocking to guitar and tambourines, Ms. Megan, from Awakening Minds, is preparing to have the students explore creativity & their senses through art.
I caught up with two moms in the waiting room as they chatted about kids, life and the challenges they face. Barb H. has brought her son Andrew to Awakening Minds Art for three years. She was seeking an outlet for sensory expression for her son. She was initially afraid how the teachers might respond if Andrew had a “meltdown” during a class. She felt very welcomed and comfortable. She was relieved that it was a one on one scenario with student and instructor. “It was a very happy place.” Instructor Ms. Megan was patient, and in control, not allowing Andrew’s behaviors to derail the class. Instead she gently controlled the behavior and led the focus and Andrew back on task.
Barb has seen Awakening Minds, and his school, work together to improve Andrew’s socialization skills, fine motor skills and his relationship between teachers and other students. At home, art is a calming reward and Andrew is becoming very proficient with sculpting.
“I get joy as Andrew grows and creates art. I watch him grow at each class. I even come to paint classes for my time to relax.” Barb mentioned.
"There are many things that I'm looking forward to and find exciting about the new building. One major concern I have always had with the current studio is the parking. I am ecstatic about AMA having parking available at the new building. I feel it will take a great amount of stress off the parents AND their kiddos." Barb says, clearly stressed about the situation.
Ms. Megan & Ms. Sarah notice the stress during every visit, not just in Barb, but in Andrew too. Andrew comes in with a heightened stress level from the parking situation not only because he knows his mom is frustrated, but he fears he's going to be late for his class. Keeping a schedule is extremely important to Andrew, and being late is unacceptable to him AND mom!
"Parking will provide an end to the 20 minute 'I-Spy a Parking Spot!' game that Andrew and I play to lighten the mood while hunting for a spot. Parking will not only make it better to access your car for the big art projects that need carried in and out of the studio, more importantly, it will provide a much safer 'in & out' of the studio for my child.
Next blog we meet Tonya M. and her son Kobe.
TO HELP AWAKENING MINDS ART CONTINUE PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN LIKE ANDREW, PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TOWARDS THE AWAKENING MINDS ART CAPITAL CAMPAIGN!