Art major focuses on people with disabilities
|Senior Ioanna Philippou|
2:44 p.m. Feb. 28, 2006 – It’s not uncommon for students to radically change plans – even with stiff penalties for crediting extra-curricular hours and activities. What’s unusual, however, is having this urge, making the change wholeheartedly, and then going back to fit it into the original plan.
Ioanna Philippou, a graduate in visual communications and illustration, carved out such a path when she took an investigative course in health and exercise sciences last semester. And while this outburst of curiosity has cost her on many levels, she said it also brought her the biggest rewards of her entire college career.
?? The optional course I took involved working with disabled children in a physically active environment, ?? Philippou said, so it was a real challenge for me.
While no stranger to creative programming during her four years at UD, the Cypriot native said another challenge is getting a spot on the roster. But, after bringing in Stephen C. Goodwin, associate professor of health and exercise sciences, Philippou’s daring paid off once again, and it quickly caught on.
?? I wanted to take the elective course, but found out that I was not allowed to do so, as it was not in my major and was only open to students of health and human sciences. ‘exercise,?? said Philippou. ?? I think it worked better for me, however, because in wanting so many things I worked especially hard. ??
In addition to spending almost a day a week working with his assigned student, a nine-year-old girl with an intellectual disability, Philippou also did a semester-long art project based on his experience, chronicling each step of his mentorship with illustrations, photographs. , collages and texts.
An objective of the “Survey of Adapted Physical Education” course is to help students become more comfortable working with people with disabilities in a physically active environment, and to recognize that individuals are defined by their abilities. capacities and not by their handicaps? said Goodwin.
?? Students also end up learning a lot about themselves and life in general through their work outside of the classroom. ?? he said, “What are the lessons that only hands-on mentoring can teach.”
For Philippou, who said she felt a little scared of the challenge of bonding with a disabled child, it was certainly true.
?? At first I was very afraid of challenge and responsibility, but I learned that the things that scare me always make me stronger, ?? she said.
?? I entered the course wanting to see what it was like to come out on my own, and found it to be the most beneficial course I have taken in the four years I have spent at UD. This is because it gives you a different perspective and teaches you to appreciate the things that you have.
Now hoping to apply what she learned in Goodwin’s course to her career, Philippou is looking for a three-month position teaching art and English in a Nepalese orphanage after graduation. Art therapy is also an option later, she said, as is working for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) agency as a graphic designer.
?? I miss home too much to stay in America, even though there are more job opportunities here, ?? Philippou said, “and there is a branch of UNICEF in Cyprus that could be hiring. But where I go to work after graduation will really depend on the needs. I want to work in a place that has suffered, because I think bonding with others – especially those with special needs – is the hardest and most important job I can do. ??
Article by Becca Hutchinson
Photo by Kathy Atkinson
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