The arts have always been a tool to provide comfort and ease. For those with disabilities, art can create a sense of tranquility. It can also improve life skills in a way formal classroom instruction cannot. Using art as a means of therapy, it’s students can increase physical, emotional and cognitive functioning, interpersonal skills, personal development, and their quality of life. Performing arts, the cinema, visual arts, literature, and music are all educational gears used to better the mind and spirit of those with varying abilities.
Performing Arts Showcase
Each year, Brevard Achievement Center (BAC) holds a Performing Arts Showcase (PAS). The PAS highlights people with disabilities from around Brevard. Elementary and middle school students from Brevard Public Schools participate in this artistic display. BAC’s own Adult Day Training clients also partake in these creative festivities. It is on this special day that people with varying abilities are able to take the stage and be a star if but for a moment.
Friends and families eagerly await this event just as much as the performers. One mother of a PAS student, recalls seeing her daughter on stage for the first time. It was something she was anxious to see. “Gracie has so many sensory issues that she deals with on a daily basis,” shared Kristine W. “[When I first attended the PAS], it was very emotional for me. I worried about Gracie getting up on stage and performing. But it amazed me at what my daughter was able of.”
Wowing audiences, participants went from being labeled a student to a performer. “I feel with [the PAS], students have a day to shine. A day to let the world see how much they are truly capable of,” continued Kristine. Correspondingly, Blast Off Performing Arts (BOPA) President Sandi Paine also shared her support for the PAS showcase. “We believe that performing arts can help people with disabilities in many ways,” she states. “Our own specialty, improv, helps improve cognitive thinking skills, promotes group cooperative behavior, and stresses courtesy.”
These characteristics derived from the arts implement positive change in more ways than one. This continued art celebration prides itself on the ability to give people with disabilities a platform to showcase their talents. And, it already has people thinking about routines for 2019.