The first time Miles was presented with a large canvas, an easel, and bright paint colors, he was very excited and the result was “Miles e-MOTION” named for the exuberance and joy that set his arms and paint flying.
Being visually, hearing, and motor impaired, Miles requires a variety of adaptive equipment and significant assistance. When it’s provided, Miles is elated. His work is a collaborative process with his aides, who are Western Michigan University occupational therapy students. They excel in adapting his environment and assisting Miles in making his own choices so the art is his own as much as possible.
Miles uses brushes with special handles and an easel that positions the canvas at a comfortable level. A student therapist gives him brushes dabbed in paint and rotates the canvas so Miles can reach all areas. When he’s done, Miles hands the brush back. Lately, he’s been making a variety of collages, with tissue paper and newsprint that create a bright-colored backgrounds.
Miles was born 15 weeks early. He had bleeding in his brain, which caused cerebral palsy. His hearing impairment may have been caused by an antibiotic. Miles had retinopathy of prematurity and has undergone at least a dozen eye surgeries. Additionally, he has had spinal, brain and hip surgeries. Miles has a baclofen pump, which delivers medication that manages muscle tone directly into the spinal cord.
Throughout it all, Miles remains determined to be his own person, express himself and participate in life. His art work was recently featured in The Open Online Journal of OT published by WMU.