Joining me in welcoming Lillian as she shares some great ideas on how to keep fun and engagement high when teaching those students who need a little extra support.
Creativity Is a Key to Helping Children With Learning Disabilities
Everyone can benefit from engaging in a creative outlet and enjoying self-expression. Participating in artistic activities can especially help children with learning disabilities. Here’s how delving into the arts can empower and teach special needs kids.
Why it’s a boon. Being creative can nurture children with learning disabilities. As The Creativity Post explains, special needs children who participate in artistic activities learn problem-solving skills and conquer challenges. It helps them develop confidence, independence, perseverance, ingenuity, the ability to question, and the ability to adapt their perspective. Some researchers note that children with learning disabilities who participate in the arts can better develop fine motor skills, build communication skills, promote their self-expression, enhance their self-esteem and motivation toward success. Artistic activities can allow special needs kids to travel and collaborate with others. They can use their medium to resolve inner conflicts and connect with their families and friends.
How to engage. Children with learning disabilities might struggle with structured educational programs. Offering them opportunities through play and through multi-sensory experiences can allow them to explore their talents and learn new things. Opt for a healthy, balanced atmosphere that includes time for exercise and time for solitude. Provide routines to encourage focus and allow kids to express themselves at their own pace. Be encouraging and find ways to praise in each session, whether it’s the shade of green a child chooses or a display of perseverance by working on a project for a long time.
Sewing and textile arts. Children with learning disabilities, who participate in sewing and other textile arts, benefit in a number of ways. Not only is it an avenue for self-expression, it stimulates them to work hard and practice patience. Deaf and Blind Support notes that sewing helps children with learning disabilities fight depression and anxiety, it lifts boredom, and it provides them with life skills they can use not only for hobbies and home life, but also in pursuit of employment. Choose a sewing machine with basic features for getting started, as some machines are so complex they can be overwhelming. Patterns and other resources are available online for little or no cost.
The stage. Performing in drama, theatrical activities, music and dance allows children with learning disabilities to express themselves and display their talents in exciting, public ways. Some troupes are specifically oriented toward engaging those with disabilities, or plays, songs and dances can often be reasonably modified to include people with special needs. Moves and routines can be altered to incorporate wheelchairs or other mobility issues, and plays can even include informative lines to educate the public about disabilities.
Some professionals note that children gain special gratification pushing toward and reaching goals while performing on stage, and depending on their situation can improve their body’s flexibility and strength in unique ways. Check with your local community center for performance groups in your area.
If your child gravitates toward the world of music, encourage them to learn an instrument. To start out, consider something that’s relatively small and easy for beginners to pick up, such as clarinets, trumpets, or flutes. However, at the end of the day, allow your child to select the instrument her or she favors.
Visual arts. Painting, sculpting, drawing, and photography are the most easily accessed arts for those with disabilities. Equipment is usually simple to adapt, and for many the convenience of participating from the comforts of home is appealing. It’s a practical way to engage children with learning disabilities in a creative outlet, and the benefits are tremendous. They can learn about colors, textures, shapes and proportions, providing a foundation for some of the structure and principles important in understanding math and reading concepts.
When equipping a special needs child for visual arts, think in terms of adding grips or handles to brushes, pencils and pens, and in terms of easels, cameras and palettes, which can be mounted to wheelchairs or other equipment.
Creative and empowered. Children with learning disabilities can benefit in substantial ways by participating in the arts. Engaging them in artistic expression offers them the chance to explore talents, develop skills and communicate personal ideas. Through creative activities, children with special needs can grow and learn in unique and important ways.
Till Next Time,
Lillian and Jennifer
Lillian Brooks is the founder of learningdisabilities.info. For years, Lillian worked as a special education teacher with a focus on teaching children with learning disabilities. She created learningdisabilities.info to offer information and understanding to parents of children with learning disabilities, as well as adults who are in need of continued support in order to succeed.