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How can you encourage creativity amongst children and young adults with visual impairments?

Visual impairment can range in several different levels of sight loss. Everyone that has a visual impairment condition has their own experiences and tools they use to navigate day to day life.

Imagine if you were partially or fully blind or even colour blind. What effect do you think that would have on your day-to-day life? Think about your morning routine, the activities you like to do on the weekend and how you commute through normal activities.

What if you couldn’t see blue, imagine not seeing the beautiful blue skies in summer as they are, or gorgeous beaches. What effect would that have on your imagination or creativity?

What we observe and how we interpret it shapes and forms a lot of what we believe and what channels our creativity. For individuals with visual impairment that can be very different stimulating more through the other senses such as touch, smell, and sound.

The Dya Art of Creative Thinking Model™ challenges automatic-thinking patterns to encourage authentic personal and social expression through promoting positive feelings and experiences.

Guide Dogs Victoria recently came to us needing wanting to run an event for their young adult program around art therapy. They wanted to create a workshop that encourages self-expression and allowed participants to showcase their version of reality.

Planning

In putting on this event we had to work quickly, Samantha from the organisation was on a tight time frame and needed something effective and educational in a short period of time.

We embarked on a journey to create a workshop that reached all participants ranging ages 18 -35 years old.

Linking the class to art therapy and mental health was crucial from our first conversation with Samantha it was made evident to both teams that we wanted to have an educational side to the class.

In wanting to give our attendees techniques that they can use in life well after the event we had to put ourselves in their shoes and try to experience what our event would feel like for them. Our leading instructor Alison along with our CEO Revi undertook a mock class of what they had planned with visual impairments in place.

The nature of the task was to attempt to understand what the team had created and how to improve the overall experience for those who would be attending.

Through using several different products, the workshop was able to stimulate the sense of touch allowing participants to feel items of different surfaces and let their imagination take the wheel.

Our team came together with the involvement of the team at Guide Dogs to create an interactive and 3D painting class that focused on wellbeing and encouraged self-expression. The workshop would be focused on tactile object allowing participants to be able to hold an object that they could then visualise and then try to paint.

We decided on allowing participant to interpret the class in their own way. We created stencils for the basis of the event but would give them the option to paint their own scenery and sense of perception.

Event Day

On the 9th of December 2021 our Dya creative team was off to conduct the workshop at Guide Dogs Victoria HQ.

In conducting the session Dya’s instructors broke down the workshop to the core going over what sounds you may experience, what certain things feel like and so on. This gave attendees a picture in their head that they could not necessarily see in day to do day life.

Linking back to mental health art can be a great way to let go of stress or reduce anxiety. The workshop provided a safe space in which participants could discuss their realities and how the class made them feel.

Everyone was given the opportunity to express themselves and explain the process they went through to get there. It was a therapeutic experience that allows attendees to create a version of their reality but also talk about it and express feelings they encounter daily.

Watch below some of the interpretation from our attendees describing their artwork:

“One side has city scenery and the other side like a beachy background, both represent my life”

“I did my face last; I care more about my hobbies than what I look like”

Art therapy has been found to promote positive mental health and offer a safe space for the development of self-esteem and empowerment (Heenan, 2006). It can be applied to many circumstances including workplace stress, VCE studies anxiety and stressors, overworked teams and many more.

How can use art therapy to improve the mental wellbeing and morale of your class or team?

To find out which of Dya’s art wellbeing workshops are best suited to you email us at:

becreative@dyaaustralia.com.au

Experiential discovery workshops for developing the Art of Creative Thinking.
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