How to Help Children With Learning Disabilities to Get Involved in the Arts
By: Lillian Brooks
Founder of learningdisabilities.info
Just because your child has a learning disability does not mean that your child cannot have a successful education. Some of the world’s most successful people had learning disabilities, including Walt Disney, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, and Whoopi Goldberg, among others. Many children with disabilities have leadership abilities and exhibit high levels of talent in sports and arts. A good way to build their capacity is to get them involved in the arts.
Importance of learning about the arts
Arts serve a purpose greater than occupying the minds of children with learning disabilities. They are a critical tool for learning and imparting life skills. For instance, drawing and painting help with improving your child’s motor skills and introducing concepts such shapes, mathematics, contrasts, and boundaries. On the other hand, a learning disabilities specialist can use music to teach academic facts and the alphabet. Performing in plays can be a way for children to learn history and a tool for boosting their confidence and teamwork. Crafts can help to develop problem-solving skills while promoting self-expression.
How to get your child involved in arts
1. Choose art activities that are suitable for children with learning disabilities
Suitable forms of arts include visual arts, performing arts, music, and crafts. When deciding which art activity your child should do, consider their interests, age, strengths, and learning styles. For instance, a child who is a visual learner will do well with visual arts, while a child who is an auditory learner will be best suited to take up music. A kinesthetic learner will enjoy drama, dance, and crafts. Consult a learning disabilities specialist for more guidance on the most suitable form of art for your child.
2. Designate a playroom for your child
Set up a room or part of the house where your child can engage in their form of art without restrictions. In this room, your child can be messy, make mistakes, and practice freely. Equip the room with all the necessary items such as painting brushes, paints, music instruments, pencils, papers, or watercolors. Let your child know that in this room he or she is free to work on hobbies and to be messy.
3. Consider partial participation and individualized learning
Some children with a learning disability may exhibit greater ability in sports than in arts. In such a case, partial participation may work well for them.
Partial participation is when the child does not get involved in all the steps of the specific art but gets involved in as much of it as possible. Work with a learning disabilities arts specialist to identify which art activities your child can learn. Also, since each child may exhibit special abilities or disabilities, it is important to individualize their learning of the arts to suit their specific needs and abilities.
4. Get involved
Every child needs love, support, and encouragement. This offers them positive reinforcement to help build a strong sense of worth. Once in a while, join your child in their hobby room or art classes and take part in the activities they are engaged in. It offers them social and emotional support. Talk to their art teachers to keep up to date with your child’s progress. To offer your child optimal support, learn as much as you can about their learning disability and the art they’re practicing.
Success means different things to different people. With a special-needs child, think life success rather than academic success. Getting your child practicing art will help equip them with important life skills such as resilience, self-awareness, self-confidence, and knowing how to interact with other people.
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