Welcome back to Let’s Play! Part 4: Creative Recreation!
One of my favorite books in recent years is UnThink by Erik Wahl . That is right, UnThink. Not stop thinking, but UnThink. UnThink the way we approach problems. UnThink what we accept as the norm. The result? We regain access to our unrestrained inner creative capacity. By opening this window into our younger, less restrained self we can further develop ourselves, our skills and tap into talents we forgot we had.
In Let’s Play! Parts 1, 2, & 3 we covered a lot of very active recreational activities. While I am creative, I am not artistically or musically inclined. Music and art based activities can offer a lot of enjoyment, stress relief, rehab and other benefits. I am excited to share some innovative ways to experience these activities and not let barriers stand in your way.
I still have not found my artistic ability beyond stick figures, but I recognize that there is a sort of magic in the creative arts. This is what makes it so important that all individuals realize there are solutions out there to remove barriers to accessing art and music activities. And if they are not readily available, they may be able to be created!
Let’s start with MUSIC. I mean, even my 1 year old drops everything – even her coveted Goldfish crackers – to dance when music comes on. Personally, I listen to music all day while I work. I NEED it to be able to function and access my creativity. Music is good for the mind and soul.
The benefits of music therapy have impacted children and adults alike, including enhancing recovery from injuries. Whether used as a therapeutic tool or for recreation there are options for children, adults, casual and serious musicians alike. For the recreational musician just looking to have some fun and make some noise there are musical toys that are switch activated, providing a medium individuals with all levels of abilities can access.
For the more traditional or serious musician there are many ways to gain access to your favorite musical activity. The Orbit is an example of an adaptive guitar pick that reduces the grasp demand when strumming the guitar strings. There are many other ways to make this activity accessible utilizing a standard universal cuff, Instamorph or other things around home.
If the barrier is related to balance, stability or strength to stabilize an instrument, there are quite a few musical instrument stands available for stabilizing a variety of wind instruments. Emily Ziegmeyer shows us that there is no reason to let not having arms stop you from pursuing your dream of being a Cello player. In addition to physically accessing the instruments, sensory impairments should not be an insurmountable barrier. Blindness should not exclude musicians from getting their groove on – Braille sheet music is readily available!
If you want to learn more about the myriad of applications for music therapy check out the American Music Therapy Association .
There are so many ways to make ART activities accessible.. Let’s start low tech and the most simple. Using a foam hair roller, tennis ball, Instamorph, some variation of a universal cuff you can easily create a larger diameter for a paint brush, marker or other art utensil. You can also purchase commercially available adapted paint brushes, scissors and other art materials.
If the barrier to participation is related to accessing the art surface, using a drafting table or table-top easel provides flexibility in the positioning of art materials.
Since pottery wheels are already foot-switch activated it is feasible to create accessibility through moving the activation location or further switch adapting this apparatus. For someone with limited motor control in their lower extremities who is unable to activate the traditional foot pedal for the pottery table, using another activation location or alternative switch could remove a barrier and open the door to the pottery world.
Have you ever wanted to bring your friend, child, sibling or other individual to an activity based event, but the activities were not accessible to them? It’s heartbreaking to me when people who want to share an experience are excluded because the activities were not designed with all individuals in mind. While disappointing, these instances also inspire and motivate me. They are fuel for creativity and a driving force for creating better solutions for our communities.
One of my passions is creating ways for activities to be accessible and inclusive. Another passion is rooted in my love of engineering – creating or modifying equipment to make things more accessible.
Zot Artz embraces both of these concepts and the result is amazing! Zot Artz exists to “create adaptive art tools and make them available to teachers, therapists, residential providers, hospitals, parks, and other facilities who could offer art experiences to children. Zot Artz currently has a complete line of adaptive tools that make the creation of art possible and fun for children with and without handicaps.” They do more than sell adapted art tools – they also host art events where they bring all the tools and facilitate an art experience accessible for all members of the group. (https://zotartz.com/)
Are you inspired yet? Did you UnThink what you thought you knew about accessible art activities?
If you want to see an activity adapted to be more accessible – Assistology would love to help you!
If you have an idea for an inclusive, community based recreational event, but do not know how to make it happen – Assistology would love to partner with you to bring it to life!
We strive for collaboration and impactful partnerships that result in a more inclusive community.
Let’s work together to expand the accessible opportunities for individuals in our communities!