'It's amazing – just seeing him do well, you can't put a price on it.' 'He's being graded the same as all his peers,' said Ken.
The relationship between a father and a son is a unique one. Growing up, children often look up to their fathers for support and encouragement. Ken Blahetka and his son Kevin also share a similar relationship. Kevin has a love for art and is great at photography. Besides that, he is disabled, as reported by CBS News. So when Ken wanted to go to junior college, his father had an idea. Kevin loves photography and takes pictures from every angle. "I like to take pictures of flowers," he said. "I like to take pictures of trees." Moreover, he loves to take these pictures with his dad.
When Kevin started taking photography and other art classes, his parents knew it might get difficult for him. "We just knew that on his own, you know, without some one-on-one help, it wasn't going to work," said Ken. "I became his one-on-one help." To provide him with that help, Kevin's father enrolled himself with him at Joliet Junior College. They attend classes every Thursday night. It all began with a pottery class in 2022. "And after a couple of weeks, it was clear he wasn't doing well on his own. So rather than pulling him from the class, I finished the class with him. I signed him up for his first credited class. I signed me up for my first credited class in like 25 years," said Ken. "I have to do the same homework he has to do. My student ID is over there by his."
Art instructor Lloyd Wassenar said that other students have been great with Kevin. "I kind of explained it at the beginning of the class that his son had autism, you know, just to kind of get the word out, and so that people understood - so they were more supportive; more understanding," Wassenaar said. "It's been exciting for all of us, I think. I can really see the connection between father and son." Ken shared that as a family, whatever Kevin wanted to do, they tried to make it work. "My wife and I were just big believers that if he had the right opportunity, he could do good things."
Moreover, they have friendly competition. When Kevin was asked how his dad was doing in class, "He's doing well – maybe!" he said. It hasn't been easy for Ken to go to classes at night after a long day at work, but he says it's worth it. "It's amazing – just seeing him do well, you can't put a price on it," said Ken. "He's being graded the same as all his peers, and he's pulling an A. It's amazing. He knows he's doing good things, and that's pretty incredible." Also, the father-son duo has their work on display in the school's gallery. While talking about their future plans, Ken said, "We do one class a semester, so we'll be at this for the next few years." "We'll continue to see where these adventures take us." Ken said he even counsels parents whose children have been diagnosed with autism. He encourages them to take the journey with the kid and they are not going to regret it.