Saturday, October 22, 2016

Beyond Fashion: Using Art to Make Dreams Soar

One of the sad realities for parents like us who have kids with special needs is the big challenge of communication. Because many of these children are unable to talk, it can oftentimes be difficult to decipher what they want to say. I admit to feeling despair whenever my son, who has cerebral palsy, would cry nonstop and I begin to run out of ideas how to make him smile again.

Kang Rui and his mom, Jia Jing
The same is true for parents of children who have other forms of disabilities. Few people understand that acting up or throwing tantrums is one way for special children to vent out their frustrations about not being able to communicate their thoughts and feelings well.

art as a form of communication

This is why I always feel a twinge in my heart when I see children and adults with special needs who have found avenues to express themselves. Some great examples are the stories of Temple Grandin, an American university professor with autism; Clarissa Tiongson Ortiz, a talented Filipino artist with down syndrome; and many others like them who found ways to shine despite their many obstacles.

art as an expression
Yesterday, I saw a video about Linking Art and Autism in China. This is the inspiring story of Kang Rui and of other young people who belong to Golden Wings Art, a rehabilitation center for children with autism. There, kids with special needs can express themselves through art while also building connections with others.

discovering unique talents
Since Kang Rui started going to the center, he has been able to develop new skills and abilities. I deeply felt his mom's joy and pride while talking about the positive changes in her son. Like him, Jia Jing serves as an inspiration to fellow parents, whether they have special kids or not, to help generate awareness about the special needs community. After all, these children could use a little bit more compassion from the rest of the "normal" population.

art in fashion
It is thus even more heartwarming to know about organizations, like fashion clothing manufacturer Paclantic, and their impact on the this advocacy. During the Beijing Fashion Week held last month, they made it possible for Kang Rui and his peers to show off their beautiful artworks incorporated into a new range of fashion accessories.

The video was produced by BON Cloud as part of its Chinese Corporate Social Responsibility Stories. This organization works closely with businesses and institutions across China to produce short videos on corporate citizenship and businesses that have a social conscience.

It is my hope that more companies in the Philippines, like our very own Lamoiyan Corporation, would also consider doing CSR projects that would benefit people with special needs. Wouldn't you agree? At the end of the day, we all have the same hearts that seek to understand, and be understood by, those around us.  

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