This past June I had the priviledge of meeting a young student who took my "Fine Art of Fashion" class a the Art Student League teen camp. Leah has a condition known as achondroplasia dwarfism which she wrote about on her fashion board after spending the week learning how to draw the figure and create fashions showing movement and texture. Her openess and good humor was such a gift; she invited all of us to consider fashion design for all kinds of body types and modeled creative problem solving and skill with the outfits she designed for people with her condition. Meeting & working with Leah was a highlight of my summer. Just when I think I have taught every type of student, seen every type of exceptionality and found myself in every possible situation...along comes this lovely sparkle of energy and says "I don't know if you noticed but I am shaped differently than many kids".
So here is the crazy part - just a few weeks ago I was contacted by Metro State College here in Denver and asked to teach a class on including the special needs students in the art and music classrooms. How is that for timing? What I call a cosmic giggle. I am on my way down a new path....Thanks Leah for giving me so much to think about and to share with new students. Exceptionalities come in every shape and I look forward to helping new teachers increase their sensitivity and creativity as they learn to embrace these varied forms and abilities.
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