{ABC’s of Inclusion} I is to Ignite Passions



{The ABC's of Inclusion} I is to Ignite Passions

What do you think of when I use the phrase “ignite passions”?

Do you think of finding that which someone loves and discovering ways to enable that person to do more of it?

Do you think of figuring out what excites someone most and finding ways to incorporate that into everything else he or she does?

Do you think of distinguishing between what someone has to do in favor of what someone wants to do?

For me, the phrase “ignite passions” is most easily demonstrated by sharing the story of two people whom I deeply admire – Renee Laporte and Nathan Devlin.


Renee has been working to support Nathan in inclusive education since he was in Kindergarten, sixteen years ago. She supported him through an inclusive K-12 experience as well as three years of inclusive university. Currently, Nathan works from his home studio creating acrylic, water color and photographic pieces of art.

Here’s where the “ignite passions” part comes in.

On his website Nathan says, “I have always had a thing for art but it wasn’t until I was in high school that my real passion and training began.” Renee and Nathan took an art class together a couple of years ago where he learned the techniques of selecting and blending colors, proportions and landscape design. Renee, while learning those same techniques, was also thinking about the ways to appropriately adapt and modify tools to enable Nathan to create as independently as possible. Nathan has cerebral palsy and does not walk or talk, also making it difficult for him to grip traditional tools. At times, Renee and Nathan use hand-over-hand, a technique that “involves placing ones hands over an individual’s hands to help them complete a movement. When using hand-over-hand assistance, the assistant is helping to control the movements of the individual’s hands.” Nathan shares, “Renee does this with me when I need to add some fine details to my paintings. She does this to help me but only when needed.”
Nathan Devlin artwork: nathandevlin.net; Removing the Stumbling Block
Nathan with one of his original creations

If you are struggling, as some do, to understand that this is Nathan’s artwork (and not Renee’s) she has written an outstanding explanation: No, I Don’t Do Nathan’s Work for Him.

Nathan’s art sells for hundreds of dollars. And with good reason!

Renee and Nathan’s partnership is the epitome of what it means to ignite passions.


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Have a story about igniting passion? Please share!
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