Art is an important element of the curriculum in the Shriners Hospital School, allowing patients to express themselves creatively and learn adaptive skills. Most Thursdays find patients in the school painting, drawing or even creating sculpture.
Jordan, a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Northern California, discovered his passion for painting during art class in the Shriners Hospital School. One of his paintings is now on display in the hospital in a quiet conference area designed as a place for parents to meet with doctors after surgery.
As a beginning artist, Jordon’s challenge was how to paint without arms. His teachers initially showed him how to paint by holding the brush in his mouth. One day he decided to try painting by holding the paint brush between his chin and shoulder. The adaptation gave him more control and he continues to hold his paintbrush this way.
Jordan shares his artistic talent with residents of his hometown in Mexico, where his murals appear on walls and buildings. He also teaches art to kids in his hometown. During his most recent hospital visit, Jordon asked teachers in the Shriners Hospital School for tips and advice on how to be an effective teacher.
“For many patients, art is a vehicle for self-discovery helping them to express feelings and interpret the world around them in a creative way. Some have transitioned these newly discovered interests and skills into vocational aspirations,” says Margaret Kugler, who coordinates educational and vocational services for patients at the Northern California Shriners Hospital.