Glenview mother Mia McNary understands how hard it
can be for a mother to take time for herself. But finding a support
group, especially when you have a child with special needs, can be
very rewarding. That's why McNary began offering art classes for
mothers of special needs children three years ago at her Glenview
studio Masters in Art.
The class came about after McNary's son began attending a
therapeutic residential school in Wichita, Kansas. McNary, a
lifelong artist, used art to help get through that adjustment
period. Believing it could help other mothers as well, McNary asked
a group of friends to try her class to find out.
"They said they felt so much better," McNary says. "I
thought, 'Wow, there's something there.'"
McNary says the class is non-traditional therapy, as
mothers discuss the challenges and joys of parenting a child with
special needs, while also learning artistic techniques and history.
She stresses that moms do not have to have an artistic background;
some of her students prefer to spend some classes thinking and
listening to conversation instead of painting.
Because this is not solely an art class, McNary makes sure
every class revolves around a specific theme the mothers can
discuss before they paint.
McNary says there are mothers taking her class with
neurotypical kids, as well as moms of kids with cerebral palsy,
Down syndrome, autism, mood disorders and ADD/ADHD.
"I realized doing this we all have many similar issues;
however, families with special needs kids have the same issues on a
more intense level," she says. Sharing these challenging topics
helps both sides of parenting. The moments of, 'Ah, we are all the
same,' breaks down resentments for the families with special needs
and better understanding and compassion for families with
neurotypical kids. ...They leave the studio feeling they are
lighter and more content with their own life."
Classes will be held Monday and Friday mornings starting
this fall. A Friday evening class may be offered as
For more information, call (847) 922-8789 or email [email protected].
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