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Letting Go with Buddha Boards

A Buddha Board was probably the last thing Amy Heimerl expected to find when she attended the Applefest in Bayfield, WI.

She stopped by a chic art shop while at the festival and became captivated with the display: “I was mesmerized and had to purchase one for myself.”

As a special education high school teacher at Merrill High School in Merrill, WI, Amy concentrates on emotional and behavioral disabilities. So when she went home to test it herself, she realized how great a tool it could be to help her students with self-expression.

The Buddha Board is a small painting board that uses water to create an image. As the image dries and the water evaporates, so does the image. After seeing the effect that it had on her, Amy knew her classroom had to have these boards.

A colleague mentioned The Meemic Foundation to Amy, and a grant was just what she needed to buy the boards for her classroom. After receiving the grant, Amy is currently using them as an enhancement when students have extra time after finishing their classwork. She even lets students come to use them on their lunch break.

After doing some research on YouTube, Amy learned a few instruction techniques to try with her classroom and plans to implement them in her health class during the upcoming semester. Over her 20 years teaching disabled children, Amy has tried many different techniques that help students maintain their behavior.

“Currently I use music, art, guided meditation, yoga, movement, etc., to assist students in maintaining an appropriate demeanor,” she says. “Each student is different, so each student meets different degrees of success with each. However, every student who has tried a Buddha Board so far loves it!”

Amy found that the average student can find one or two coping mechanisms that work for them, but for her students, it can take as many tools as possible.

“With my students, it's not that easy. What works for them one day may not work the next. I want them to be equipped with everything they need so when they are no longer in school, they can rely on some of the skills and strategies they learned from me.”

So far, her students love the Buddha Boards. They’ve shown to be a benefit inside and outside the classroom, which is just what she wants, to make sure her students are ready for the real world.

“Helping my students realize that Buddha Boards may be a technique they find useful for relaxation, letting go and coping is one that is a life skill. After all, they won't be in the classroom setting all their lives."