Deafblind Program gets crafty with hands-on learning

Virtual arts and crafts projects are an opportunity for students and families to connect with one another while apart

Students participate in a craft class over Zoom.

Students participate in a craft class over Zoom.

June 24, 2020

In the Deafblind Program, so much of every child’s education is brought to life through touch. That’s still true today, even in the age of social distancing. Students, teachers and families have just had to get a bit crafty — literally.  

Led by staff occupational therapists over Zoom, weekly craft sessions give students with multi-sensory loss and additional disabilities the chance to create with their hands. And during those sessions, they make all sorts of things out of common household materials, like paper flags and, fitting the season, spring rabbits.

“Everyone at Perkins has been so supportive and willing to think outside the box,” says Minnie, whose son Andrew, 17, always looks forward to crafting sessions. “Having Andrew actively participate with others through a screen and be happy about it is a true success. It makes me smile.” 

On top of the fun of it all, craft sessions also provided an important opportunity for students and families to connect with one another. When in-person classes were suspended in March, there was a lot of shock and confusion while students who are already at risk of isolation were suddenly faced with having to stay home. Craft sessions have helped students learn that they’re not going through it alone. 

“Connecting with other families by video conferencing has helped Hannah tremendously,” says Heidi, whose daughter, Hannah, 18,  participates in the sessions. “When she is verbally informed that her friends are okay, and that they are safe at home too, she seems to process this information somewhat. But when she sees and hears them on the screen and can talk and laugh with them, it becomes real to her.” 

And all of that work, and the connections students and families are making is captured here on video, showing that even now, every student has the ability to craft for themselves a brighter future.

Read more about: Arts & Music, Deafblind, Perkins News