Healthy Living

Jun 11, 2014 10:09 AM by Keli Moore, KSBY

Pottery as therapy for local youth

What do reading, thinking skills and pottery have in common?

A Central Coast speech and language consultant said reading and thinking skills are enhanced by multi-sensory activities -- like pottery.

"When the clay starts changing, you just go with it," said Kai, 14, as he threw a pot at AnamCre in downtown San Luis Obispo.

He said the clay has to be centered on the wheel, which can be a metaphor for his life.

"If you bend back a bowl too far, then it can become a plate. If you trim it too much, then a bowl can become a cup," he said.

If the clay in Kai's hands could talk, it would say throwing a pot has not always been easy. When Kai first came to AnamCre pottery studio, his temper was short.

"It's very stress relieving," Kai said.

Now he can sit on a dusty stool for hours, with nothing but focus.

"I feel like whatever I do can make an impact of what I think of myself," he said.

"He's gotten better at organization and seems to be less impulsive, more calm," said Monica Haughey, Kai's mom.

Now Kai's family comes to get their hands dirty every weekend.

Has he had attention difficulties? "Oh, yes. If he is not interested, then he is just not interested. But when he finds that interest and it captures him, he is full force," explained Haughey.

"The outcome of pottery is hard to measure with concrete data," said Dona Hare Price, Speech, Language and Education Specialist.

But Dona Hare Price said pottery can help develop attention and focus in a fun, artistic way, and this can be translated into an academic setting.

"We know what any activity that uses both sides of the body and causes people to think and focus slows us down and is actually really good for us and good for thinking and our social communication," said Hare Price.

"It just seems to have no end to what you can make," said Kai.

There will be a camp, "Learn, Connect, Clay," to help kids be flexible in their thinking. It's for kids 7 to 11-years-old. The camp goes from July 8 through August 1.

Click here to register.

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