Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

University of Tampa art therapy students work with disabled youth

CARVER CITY/LINCOLN GARDENS

Kaylin Brice offered a choice of glitters to 15-year-old Jonathan Greene — gold or silver.

Jonathan gave her a Cheshire cat grin, but didn't answer.

Brice, 20, may have picked for him — had she not learned some tools for working with people with disabilities.

She held the two glitter bottles out in front of him last week. He pointed to gold.

"Using nonverbal cues lets them participate," Brice said.

She is one of 13 students in an art therapy class at the University of Tampa. The students, under the direction of adjunct professor Heather Spooner, designed a project for an art class at LaVoy Exceptional Center.

The center, at 4410 W Main St., serves 110 students from South and Central Tampa, who are ages 3 to 22 and have a range of disabilities.

Making art is therapeutic because it allows the release of emotions, Spooner said. People who have developmental disabilities, such as autism or cerebral palsy, often have difficulty putting their thoughts and experiences into words. Art therapy gives them a venue to express their feelings and thoughts through images without getting frustrated with the difficulties of verbal speech.

It can help them learn teamwork, work on motor skills and is good for their self esteem, Spooner said. Plus, it's fun. They often don't realize it's therapeutic.

Alora Leuckel, 19, grew up in Honduras and took the UT art therapy class because she knew she wanted to major in art, but wasn't sure what to do with it. She liked working with the LaVoy students. Art therapists typically earn a master's degree in the field and there aren't many in the area, Spooner said.

LaVoy art teacher Holly Loy visited the UT class earlier in the semester to tell them about the challenges of having a disability.

She had each student sit on one of their hands. She paired them with another student, sitting on the opposite hand so that between the two they had a left and right hand.

Working together, they tried to open a marker and blend chalk colors.

"I wanted them to get a feel for what it's like for the kids," Loy said.

The UT students then each came to Loy's class individually. They considered how to make a project that all the LaVoy students could complete successfully and settled on a three-dimensional tree and a large mural with a nature theme. They cut out leaves and flowers of different sizes for the students at LaVoy to paint and decorate.

They talked about how to use multiple senses, such as guiding students' hands or showing pictures instead of using only words to relate.

Loy selected a group with a range of disabilities for the UT students to work with, and Spooner's entire class went to LaVoy last week for the finale to their project.

Spooner and Loy plan to continue the partnership with LaVoy next semester.

Organizers are trying to find a place to display the artwork. One possibility is the lobby of the school district's training facility.

In the classroom, Carly Bishop, 21, helped Michelle Moore, 18, hang a leaf on the tree.

Bishop guided Moore, who is in the vision impaired program, back to the table.

"Here's your chair," Bishop said, putting Moore's hand on its back. Bishop loaded a paintbrush with red paint, put it in Moore's hand and placed her other hand on a leaf cutout.

Across the room, Hope Smith sang a line from Duke's Place to UT student Alyssa Ferrano, 21.

"You sing it real good," Ferrano told her.

A little boy with blue paint on his face and glitter in his hair gave hugs to everybody.

"It's one of the rewards of teaching here," Loy said.

Jonathan squeezed the gold glitter he had picked onto a construction paper flower and then stuck his picture in the middle.

He and Brice put his flower on the mural, which the UT students decided to name Imagination Garden.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at eparker@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3431.

University of Tampa art therapy students work with disabled youth 11/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco tax roll shows increase, but so, too, are budget requests

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's tax roll grew by more than 5 percent in 2016, but it's a figure that likely would require local government budget writers to trim proposed spending requests.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
New construction accounted for $693.5 million in taxable property values being added to the Pasco County tax rolls in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Gary Joiner. Overall, the property tax roll grew more than 5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.

  2. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  4. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  5. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.