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Welch uses the arts to help individuals with developmental disabilities


Peyton Welch is adamant about assisting individuals with developmental disabilities.  

“Knowing that what you do is important, it makes a difference,” Welch said. “When you focus on positive things, you’ll make a difference in the lives of others and your life will change as well.”  

For Welch, he uses acting classes to provide a form of mental development for clients of Easter Seals of Arkansas Center for Training and Wellness.

 At the center, Welch teaches a Drama Therapy course.

“What I try to focus on is the things we can do instead of the limitations and restrictions,” he stated. “Sometimes people focus too much on what they don’t have. They should actually focus more on what they do have. And that’s a big part of my teaching.”

Welch was recently at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock as part of a select group of Arkansans who were honored during the 2017 Community Service Awards. The CSA was sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Communications and Community Engagement (OCCE) and KARK Channel 4, in cooperation with McLarty Automotive Group, the Office of the Governor, and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism.

A personal tenet Welch adheres to is: Living with hope, creativity, and personal worth – despite one’s disability.   

Welch developed the belief due to having his aspirations of being a big-time actor momentarily subdued because of Epilepsy. Welch, when in Los Angles pursing his career, suffered several Epileptic seizures. He had brain surgery in 2011 and a Vagus Nerve Stimulator implanted in 2013.

“It’s beautiful how Peyton doesn’t allow his ailment to suppress the passion he has for acting and giving back to the community,” Kimberly Simpson, OCCE Volunteer Program Coordinator said. “Peyton’s perseverance and compassion is impressive.”

Following his brain surgery, Welch – who’s currently pursuing a master’s degree in Drama Therapy from Kansas State University – focused on ways he could help the community. So he conducted an internet search and that’s how he discovered KSU’s Drama Therapy program. He later attended a Drama Therapy conference in Yosemite National Park. It was during that event in which Welch opted to become immersed in Drama Therapy.

“I sat in on the classes and learned how people used Drama Therapy with individuals who have special needs,” he said. “That’s when it clicked for me that I could use theater to help change people’s lives.”           

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