We did some arts and crafts with them for day 2 – Candle drawing and cling film art. These activities allowed them to use their senses morec also it could be calming and therapeutic for the students. They were all very creative in their own way, presenting pictures with dramatic colours and colour blocking. They stroke their brushes in their own way too, some really thick and strong while others really soft – each one unique to their own senses.
On day 2, I started to know the students by names, rather than describing them by their conditions. Before this I would mention “a Down syndrome student” (inconsiderate I know. I learnt that) but now I would say Farisya or Diana. The relationship between the kids and I are getting more personal, there’s no barrier between us anymore. We became friends all in the matter of 2 days. I see them for who they are rather than their physical disabilities. With this experience, they definitely weren’t the only one gaining benefit from this community service.
I bonded significantly with Diana a 44 year old student with Down Syndrome which was really focused on her painting. She was in the zone and wanted to paint every corner and edge of her paper. When Avery and I made a template for them to colour in with the cling film art, she was so happy with the results she kept clapping and asked to do more. It was so rewarding to have made her that happy and excited – felt like all the hard work was worth it.
People always get so uncomfortable when they are surrounded by people of disability, or some even look at them with complete sympathy. When in fact they are happy (happier than us to be frank – fully limb functioning, right amount of chromosome somewhat healthy human being). Some even completely oblivious to their disability and only see themselves just like everyone else – aren’t they after all? They share the same core value as us, being taught always to be kind, speak softly never harshly. But why – just because they stutter, or have extra chromosomes we look at them like we’re not the same? When we are all made by God and all made with our own set of life challenges. It humbled me, to realise that how ignorant I was to think that I was more “blessed” for being born “healthy”? But it now occurred to me, aren’t they the blessed ones instead?