One thing I love about occupational therapy is that it often encourages (read: forces) you to find the potential in a person who may otherwise be viewed and labeled as lacking in ability. This is very much the case in the clients with whom I work in one of my fieldwork settings, which is at an adult day care center for adults with profound developmental disabilities. Many of these clients require a G-tube in order to be nourished, are incontinent and must wear adult diapers, are nonverbal, and are bound to a wheelchair. Their diagnoses and lack of upper extremity function have led them to develop severe contractures in their limbs, and many of them appear to be generally lacking in ability to interact with the world around them.
As occupational therapists, it is our job to help these clients live life to its fullest, allowing them to use whatever strengths and abilities they have in order to engage in occupation and participate in life.
In light of this charge, I came up with an idea for an art project this week we called “circle art.” We gathered together household objects that possessed any sort of circular shape and used them as stamps. In the picture below you’ll see the wide variety of materials used: gatorade bottle, wine bottle, soda lid, mini soda can, wine corks, paper coffee cups, plastic cups, screw tops of various sizes, toilet paper rolls, spice bottles, a roll of tape, and more. The variety of materials made for an interestingly diverse selection of designs, especially all the bumps on the bottom of the wine bottle.
We had each of the five groups choose one color (or one mixture of two colors) + black to be used as the printing material for this project. Some of the clients only needed verbal cues to complete the task and try different sized stamps/household objects. Others required maximum hand-over-hand assistance lasting only seconds at a time. But the great thing about this project was that every client was able to engage in it because all they needed was a gross grasp, and the bonus was that the final products all looked great! It warmed my heart to see these creations, crafted by these individuals whom outsiders may call “incapable.”
Enjoy a glimpse of some of the groups’ paintings from today!