Saturday, August 28, 2021

Arts for All


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Jenny Wise makes a return visit as guest host today.  She loves homeschooling her four children, including one who has autism.  Enjoy her ideas for arts with special needs children, and be sure to leave her a comment.


Arts Are An Equal Opportunity Education


Children with autism and learning disabilities, like all other kids, acquire knowledge at their own pace and in their own way. Their physical and academic abilities, however, can make it tough to acclimate fully in a classroom setting. Thankfully, reading, writing, and arithmetic are not the only ways that kids can learn. As A Little Red Wagon shares, art – in every form – is an excellent way to introduce all children to academic concepts without the confines of a classroom.


Getting Started


If you are a parent looking to get your child more involved in artistic endeavors, your first goal is to give them a space to do just that. Look for an area inside of your home that you can transform into their very own creative retreat. Kids on the austic spectrum especially enjoy working and learning with their hands, so try out activities like making paper bag animal puppets or creating their own 3-D animals out of homemade play-dough, and, with a little bit of preparation, your home art room can accommodate even advanced projects. A few things you will need to get started include:


     A sturdy, flat table – look for something large enough for multiple artists to work together.

     Art supplies – finger paints, acrylics, paintbrushes, pastels, and canvases are essential.

     Smocks and a drop cloth – most craft stores have cheap smocks or you can pick them up online, but your local hardware store is the best place for plastic or fabric drop clothes to minimize the mess.


Other Forms of Art


Putting a pen or paintbrush to paper is not the only art a child with learning or other disabilities can enjoy. Drama is an age-old educational platform, and children of all levels of talent and ability can participate. Encourage them from an early age to play dress-up, which is an excellent lead-in to starring on the stage.


If your children are young, Apartment Therapy suggests putting together a chest of costumes that includes everything from bridesmaid stresses and formal gloves to glasses without lenses. Cowboy boots, a magnifying glass, doctor’s kit, and superhero outfits will open up their imaginary world even further.


Have your children come up with a script of their own and act it out for you and any other viewers of their choice. Help them create flyers to “advertise” their production, and be sure to lavish them with applause. Acting can increase their self-esteem and help them learn about other cultures and times. And you never know, they might find a future career, like Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte, who has cerebral palsy, or Jamie Brewer of American Horror Story fame, who has never let Down Syndrome stop her from basking in the spotlight. If your little one has been bitten by the acting bug, you can even enroll them in a virtual theatre or drama arts class or camp to help them build their skills.


For those who are a bit on the shy side, consider helping them create their own worlds via the written word. Creative writing prompts can help jumpstart their imagination and writing about topics they enjoy is an excellent way to strengthen the reading intervention approach provided by schools.


Creating Lesson Plans


Although art is subjective – which makes it that much better for children with learning and physical disabilities – when there is a lesson involved, you will need to craft a catered lesson plan. This might be something as simple as asking them to draw a picture of a banana riding a skateboard to open up a discussion as to why this is an impossible situation. Other ideas are to sculpt clay pots while incorporating a lesson about ancient people or do crayon rubbings of leaves that have fallen to the ground to talk about how things grow.


If you create a lesson plan that you feel could benefit others, and if you feel comfortable doing so, consider tutoring on the side. While you’ll need to treat this as any other business venture – that includes coming up with a solid business plan and learning how you’ll need to structure your business as an entity – your decision to tutor could not only help others but create a world of opportunities you never thought possible. There are many types of business structures, but many entrepreneurs choose an LLC structure because it protects owners’ personal assets and offers tax advantages, but if you’re concerned about financial implications, do some research on the best state to start a business for tax purposes. A great place to start learning about LLC registration is


Just because children have learning differences does not mean they can’t thrive, and especially when exposed to art. Creativity is a doorway that is wide open for all. So get organized and get ready to open up a whole new world for your child.



1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Jenny, for another good article. Lots of ideas for helping kids get their "create" on!