How Creativity Can Lead to Independence for People with Disabilities
The urge to create, and the joy that comes with creative expression, is universal. Creativity offers us the ability to generate alternatives – it teaches us to think laterally; it helps us solve problems, explore and comprehend the world.
People with developmental disabilities need to navigate their world just like the rest of us, the only difference is that they may have fewer resources with which to find solutions and solve problems. Everyone, however, has creativity within them, and the ability to learn.
Maybe better than anyone, people with disabilities know how to suspend judgment and leave competition behind.
The wonderful thing about people with disabilities is that they have not forgotten how to approach the world with delight. They don’t judge as easily as the rest of the world. When they create something, they put their whole heart into it, and they almost always plan to give their creation to someone they love, as a gift. The best part of creating is sharing.
As we mature, we all learn to evaluate our work critically, to pass judgment before the rest of the world passes judgment on us. Over time, we learn to stop taking risks with our creative work, because taking risks can lead to judgment, rejection, and failure. The ability to explore and comprehend the world through creative expression fades and blows away in the wind.
People with disabilities do not have our same degree of sensitivity to failure, and are more willing to take creative risks, and can therefore remind us of the joys of working freely.
Competition has very little benefit for people with developmental disabilities – they need to know that trying, that making an effort, is the purpose and the measure of success.
T.A.P. helps those that we support to hone their concentration, observational, and decision-making skills, as well as enabling them to concentrate and focus fully on the artwork without outside influences that affect one’s process of creation.
Working with the T.A.P. model in a protective workshop type situation also offers people with disabilities the opportunity to socialise confidently with others, boosts their self-confidence, and teaches them to appreciate and celebrate the beautiful in life.
Of course, apart from offering skills training, the protective workshop environment also means sheltered job creation, and the fact that they are able to earn a living is integral to people with disabilities as it gives them some form of independence.
Below are some samples of a down-cycling project where second-hand school skirts from Girls High School in Paarl, were cut up and used to make made scrunchies which were then sold in the BOUTIQUE school-clothes shop🌻
As with everything else that the team do, every bit of the skirts were utilised (if not in this project then in another), and the entire team were very proud of their achievement and beautiful products they made!