Communication Through Art

1 decade 2 years 7 months ago Thursday, June 21 2007 Jun 21, 2007 Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:20:17 AM CDT June 21, 2007 in News
The precision with which Cody Ernst knits is impressive.

"The scarf he's been working on he's probably been working on for just a week. I started knitting Christmas gifts. He was just fascinated at watching me knit so I just cast on some stitches. I gave him some needles, and he went at it," said Claudia Ernst, Cody's mom.

To many people a ball of yarn is just that, but to this 12-year-old, it's an opportunity to do things people never expected.

"My supervisor of instruction would look at it and say, 'I don't know he did that,'" said Kay Brejcha, Cody's teacher.

"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?" said Micah Ernst, Cody's dad.

Cody was born with fluid on his brain. Cody is unable to speak or hear because the nerve endings between some parts of his brain are severed. He can't process sounds, and his dad says he can't communicate.

But at home and at the Kirchner State School for the Severely Handicapped, he's doing something amazing. With yarn, plastic and the twisty ties that come with bread, Cody makes creations that baffle even his doctors. He bends figures in perfect proportion and rarely drops a stitch.

Cody's dad says that doctors are in disbelief when they see Cody's 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," Brejcha said.

Cody is very attached to his creations. When he goes out on the playground, his twisty ties have to be in his pocket. Once when he broke his glasses, he created a new pair using those twisty ties.

The Ernst family does not have a medical explanation for Cody's creations. They say their greatest hope is one day he'll be able to take care of himself and to simply know he's 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," Cody's dad said.

Cody Ernst saw something in himself that doctors did not. This boy who can't speak is perhaps telling the people around him something: their expectations don't have to set their limitations. To go higher might take nothing more than the opportunity to unravel the kinks in their own ball of yarn.

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