Art With No Limitations
To the 12-year-old boy, a ball of yarn is an opportunity to do something no one expected.
"When we adopted him, we always wondered what challenges we would all come to because they said he was mentally handicapped. And we thought, well, what does that mean for the future?" Micah Ernst, Cody's father, said.
Cody was born with fluid on the brain. He is unable to speak or hear because the nerve endings between some parts of his brain are severed. He can't process the sounds. But at home and at the Kirchner State School for the Severely Handicapped, Cody found a way to express himself.
Using everything from yarn to twisty ties that come with bread, Cody makes figures in perfect proportion and scarves with dropping a stitch. Doctors are baffled by his creations.
"A splinter skill is a skill that they're able to do when they have none of the other skills. They shouldn't be able to do that," Cody's teacher, Kay Brejcha, said.
Cody is very attached to his creations. When he goes out on the playground, his twist ties have to be in his pocket. The Ernst family does not have a medical explanation for Cody's creations. They say, their greatest hope is that one day he'll be able to take care of himself and to know he is loved.
"I think the people of the world today always think that our goal in life is to have this great career and to make millions or something like that. But when you honestly look at life, there's a whole lot more than money and possessions, we actually have a soul," Micah Ernst said.
Cody Ernst saw something in himself that doctors did not. The boy who can't speak perhaps is telling us that our expectations don't have to set our limitations.
Cody is learning sign language. His dad is a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia. The Ernst family lives in Eugene and has eight other children.