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. This was about two years ago.
Being visually, hearing, and motor impaired, Miles requires a variety of adaptive equipment, and significant assistance, but when this is provided he is elated. We consider Miles work, in general a collaboration, that he engages in with his aides who are all occupational therapy students from WMU. They excel in adapting his environment, and assisting Miles to make his own choices, so as to make his art as much his own as possible.
Miles uses brushes with built up handles, and an easel that presents the canvas right at his level. The student therapist helps by rotating the canvas, so that he can reach all areas of the canvas, and presenting him with a variety of paint colors. He will hand you the brush when he is through with a particular color. Lately, we have been doing a variety of collages, with bright colored tissue paper, and newsprint, that requires only tear and place, to create a riot of bright colors for a background for him to paint on.
Miles was a preemie, born fifteen weeks early. He had a ventricular bleed which caused cerebral palsy, and hearing impairment probably caused by the use of the antibiotic gentimyacin. Miles had retinopathy of prematurity, and has undergone at least a dozen eye surgeries. He has a baclofen pump, and has endured multiple surgeries, spinal, brain, and hip fracture. He remains extremely determined to be his own person, participate in life, and express himself. Miles’ work was recently featured in the new OJOT, The Open Online Journal of OT, published by WMU.