Luke…………. Mr. Personality. Wants to do what everyone else is doing. Full of love and eagerness to be with others, loves to chat with adults and hang out with other students around him and be part of the fun. But perhaps his biggest love is slapstick comedy, okay next to wrestlers, xbox, and the color PURPLE.
Luke goes to Exton Elementary, and is the mayor there. You can’t go past him without a chat. His favorite class used to be PE………….but recently I think it’s been art. He loves listening to Mrs. Maurer give instructions and watch her demonstrate the activity. He literally doesn’t miss a beat. He loves to be part of the vote in art class………..which animal? Cheetah? Crocodile? He insists purple be part of every project of course.
During Art, Luke uses adaptations. He uses a tray to help position and support his arms. He uses a non- slip material to hold his paper up. He uses an adaptive gripper and hand wrap to hold his crayon/marker/pencil/paintbrush, etc. He uses adaptive scissors to help him squeeze and cut paper. He uses some weird “bird” thing occasionally to hold a pencil, even though it looks funky, he tries it. As long as I, his OT, somehow involve the color purple.
He learns so much and creates so much with these tools and with some muscle help from his OT (me), or his aide Miss Jean (who he adores by the way). But I think these points are not the best part of art class for Luke. I think it’s Anna.
Anna is a sweet little girl who sits next to Luke. Anna talks to Luke. Anna occasionally makes sure Luke can see the teacher through all the heads that may block him. Anna comments on his work (“nice job Luke,” “oh Luke I like that,” etc). Anna touches his tools and asks him about them and says “cool”, and Luke shakes his head yes and grins. Anna even picks up Luke’s hand and helps him grab onto his clay figurines to shape them, even though Luke sometimes smirks with cold materials in art, he seems to let her help him. Never fails…..She’s always there for him. I see a great friend for Luke. I see a girl full of interest, curiosity, and empathy. Luke sees a buddy who loves to engage with him………..like I’ve seen his brothers do at home. Hey Luke, hold on to her buddy, she’s a keeper!
This post is two fold. To show that friendship and interaction are an integral part of the school setting. But also……..the beauty of how our children with physical needs can be included in classes with their peers, and how other children benefit from their presence. Anna asks about materials, and what they do. She is growing up learning about Luke and what he needs to participate and succeed. She will grow up with a sense of knowing that despite our needs we can develop and grow just like anyone else. She will grow up knowing that we can have peers with different abilities, and that’s okay. She is modeling to others that it’s okay to talk and hang out with Luke and chat with him or ask about his materials. And who knows, I also see someone who may be entering the fantastic field of occupational therapy.
God bless you Anna. And Luke of course.
😊Mary Adolf, M.S, OTR/L