July 18th, 2018

Art therapy helps Hatter with cerebral palsy be himself

By Medicine Hat News on December 2, 2017.


A creative mind will often seek relaxation in the process of making art. For Rylan Stein it’s about much more.

Stein, who lives with cerebral palsy, is an art therapy student of Heidi Willmer. Using materials and mediums specifically chosen for him, Stein is focused on improving his overall well-being.

“Because he has cerebral palsy when he’s making art he’ll start off with very spasctic movements, and the muscles will seize on him quite often,” Willmer, an art therapist at Keys to Hope Counselling Services, said. “But as he relaxes into it his movements become more fluid, his breathing relaxes and he’s actually able to just be himself, which is amazing.”

The art created is also amazing, Willmer said. The art will be on display at Medicine Hat Public Library throughout December. A reception with Stein will happen Dec. 6 from 7-9 p.m. in the Honor Currie Room.

Stein, who is non-verbal, has done pieces in plastercast as well as paint. Willmer said the plastercast is actually very symbolic of how he’s rigid with his muscles and his movements.

“It starts off very soft, it’s plyable, it’s a warm texture and it’s very soothing,”she explained, “and then as it dries it hardens and that’s symbolic of how his muscles can be too. They can go from that soft fluidity to being just rigid and frozen. With that texture piece he’s competing with it and it’s given a very unique style to his art.”

For more about art therapy classes through Keys to Hope Counselling Services contact Melisha Lassey at 403-977-5225 or Deena West at 403-581-6561. You can also visit http://www.keystohopecounsellingservices.com

Share this story:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.