Highschool pupil begins artwork workshop for Plano ISD friends with mental disabilities

When Rhea Rajani noticed her little sister Reena drawing on the partitions in anger, she didn’t see any act of disobedience. As a substitute, she noticed a chance to assist. Her little sister was born with Down syndrome and appeared to resort to drawings on the partitions in purple when she was annoyed or indignant along with her household.

However she wasn’t simply appearing, Rajani realized. Reena was attempting to speak with them and categorical her feelings by means of artwork.

With that in thoughts, two years in the past Rajani, now a senior at Alcuin Higher College in Dallas, created an artwork workshop program for college kids with developmental disabilities. On the time, she was solely a second 12 months and began this system on her personal. Since many second 12 months college students at Alcuin create huge initiatives, Rajani mentioned all she has to do to get began is ship a number of emails and ask for assist from Alcuin’s artwork trainer. .

This system of the artwork workshop consists of educating a craft for an hour and a half for instructional or therapeutic functions. She began out by going to Reena’s class at Shepton Excessive College. His first venture was snow globes. College students had been requested to create a snow globe that confirmed what winter meant to them. Rajani described it as a “self-reflection” venture to assist college students categorical themselves.

Her sister’s trainer thought Rajani’s thought wonderful and began speaking to her fellow lecturers. And with that, Rajani’s venture made its approach into different Plano ISD particular training lessons.

“For them, with the ability to do it and studying the story facet by facet is absolutely attention-grabbing, and it form of makes me blissful as a result of they appear to be having fun with it,” Rajani mentioned.

Rajani coordinates with the lecturers to set a schedule for her and some different pupil helpers to come back and do the workshop.

However Rajani’s artwork studio did not miss a beat when COVID-19 hit – she made educational movies for college kids to look at from house and even added artwork historical past lessons. to finish the craft. After shifting its program on-line, three Plano ISD colleges are actually utilizing it, Gonzales mentioned, together with Reena’s class, 16.

“We often have the supplies and all the things and we give it to them, and we weren’t there for the in-person educating, clearly, however we used recycled supplies and stuff within the initiatives,” Rajani mentioned. “And so they had been fairly simple to do at house with out parental assist, as a result of usually the children did not have dad and mom at house to assist them.”

When requested what Reena thought of having her older sister in her class, Rajani mentioned she thought Reena was “bizarre”. However regardless of the strangeness, Rajani mentioned Reena was “fairly blissful”.

“I feel she was simply confused sufficient, however she was blissful,” Rajani mentioned. “She mentioned to all her pals, ‘She’s my sister.'”

As an artwork lover herself, Rajani mentioned that with the ability to “take somewhat factor and kind it out” to “lots of people to assist lots of people” is an incredible feeling.


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