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Tips for Introducing the Arts to Children with Learning Disabilities
There’s more to the arts than sheer fun. If your child has a learning disability, creative activities like painting, crafts, music, dance, and others might help them to overcome obstacles that stand between them and their education. The arts can also help them to strengthen their coordination, motor skills, socialization, and self-confidence.
That’s why ArtSupply.com is happy to provide these practical tips for parents to benefit children with learning disabilities.
Create a Space
First of all, carve out a space in your home for your child to practice art activities. Practically speaking, this will facilitate whatever activities your child is doing and make it easy to engage. But it will also show how committed you are to seeing your child thrive!
If you approach it the right way, you can even boost your home’s appraisal value by adding your child’s space. For example, you could convert a previously unused area of the home, such as a spare room or basement, into an inspiring space for creating arts and crafts, playing music, dancing, and more. Be sure to create a space that motivates your child to be creative; they should feel free to express themselves and think outside the box.
Take Them Instrument Shopping
Playing a musical instrument can yield a plethora of cognitive benefits for children, and it’s thoroughly rewarding! Take your child to a music store and let them play around on various instruments. If they discover one that they like, make the investment. Then, look for a music teacher who has experience teaching children with learning disabilities; you may be able to find someone locally, but hiring an online instructor is also an option.
Experiment with Textiles
When most people hear the word “art,” they think of drawing or painting on paper. But there are many other types of art that can benefit children, such as textile art. Many kids enjoy working with textiles and fabric because it engages their sense of touch. Help your child dye T-shirts in vibrant colors or create pictures with yarn. Make a textile mosaic with them by gluing fabric onto a cloth backdrop. You could even see if they pick up a quilting hobby!
Of course, painting is still a tried-and-true art form that’s wonderful for kids. While you can use your child’s designated space in the home for painting, another option is to take them outside to engage in observational art projects. Point out subjects in your backyard (e.g., trees, flowers, a fence) and ask your child to draw it. This will help teach them about proportion, depth, textures, and other details.
Finally, simply observing the art of others can prove beneficial to children with learning disabilities. Not only can it stretch their perspective of art in general, but it can also spark their inner creativity! If you have a child with special needs, however, you’ll want to take extra precautions as you prepare for your museum visit, especially if your child struggles with overstimulation. Learn the layout of the museum beforehand, and scope out spots that you can use for breaks.
Consider Teaching Art
Often children with learning disabilities will excel in the arts, and this success can lead to higher self-esteem and a transference of confidence in other classes. The mental discipline required in the arts often transfers over to the mental discipline in other areas. For example, a “mistake” in playing the piano allows children to learn that mistakes are common and a part of learning. They just go back and play the measure again. Mistakes are not failures, but a part of what children need to know to become successful.
Also, children with learning disabilities need to learn that there are adults like them who have struggled and have become successful: people like Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, George Washinton, Michael Phelps, Steven Spielberg, Lady Gaga, Stephen Hawking, and Thomas Edison, just to name a few.
You may find that teaching your own child awakens the teacher within you. Learning how to make the arts accessible to your own children can have dividends. Homeschooling parents will often employ instructors in writing, the arts, math, or other subjects to teach a group of students for 2-4 hours a week.
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If your child has a learning disability, helping them engage in the arts can add joy and inspiration to their life. But it can also have a major impact on their education, teach them critical developmental skills, and increase their self-confidence. These are lessons that will stick with them all their lives, even into the adult and business world. Just remember to consider the tips above as you set out to introduce your child to the arts, and give them the freedom to choose the activities they like best!