Virtual adaptive art class helps those with special needs be creative

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

 PELHAM – Adults and children with disabilities often miss out on opportunities to be creative, due to a lack of understanding how they need to learn. To address this Abbey Thompson, owner of special events studio Party Art, has partnered with the UAB Department of Occupational Therapy to hold a virtual adaptive art class on March 20 for people with special needs.

“There are not a whole lot of opportunities out there for people with special needs to be able to be creative in a setting like this, or to where they would feel comfortable participating,” Thompson said. “God has given me a gift to be able to work with everyone, and as a community partner with UAB’s OT program.”

This is the second year that Thompson has put on an adaptive art class, with the 2020 class happening prior to quarantines and pandemic-related regulations.

Adaptive art is a specialized class where specialized tools or methods are used to help meet each participant where they are in relation to the needs that their disability might require.

To ensure the safety of those participating in the class, Thompson decided to make the class virtual, and parents or guardians of the participants could pick up the supplies ahead of time.

“What we will do is put together some kits for them, and they can be picked up for the class,” Thompson explained. “It will include things like wood, paint, and paintbrushes.”

Through the partnership with UAB, Thompson is able to have students from the Occupational Therapy program assist, to help provide the best possible care for the students in the class as well as to learn skills relevant to their coursework.

“We will have some of our first year OT students on the call so that they can see how these are done,” Thompson said. “This will be a really good learning experience for them as well.”

Thompson’s goal with this class was to take advantage of that support and create a space that would allow people of all ages to participate and express their creativity through different kinds of art.

Anyone with a loved one that would like to sign them up for the class can do so at Partyartstudio.net, with a cost of $15 that covers supplies.