Do you work with children with learning disabilities and want to get them started in the arts? Maybe you’re a parent of a child with special needs and are looking for a way to help them decompress? Whether you’re looking for enrichment or relaxation, the arts can provide quite a few benefits to children who live with disabilities. Art is even used as therapy in some cases. Looking for a way to encourage their interest in the arts? Then try these simple tips:
Provide a Stress-Free Practice Space
Learning disabilities can make it so much easier for children to get distracted, frustrated or upset. That’s why it’s important to create a space where kids can practice without worrying about anything other than their art. Art can be messy, or loud, so make sure their practice space can handle it. Practicing dance can be a wonderful way for children to stay active, but they’ll need a good dance space where they can practice safely. Mirrors will help with form and a small speaker should provide enough music to get them going. If you’re planning on a painting space, make sure floors and furniture can handle spills without you stressing out. Some teachers and parents find it useful to incorporate essential oils into their practice spaces, especially for children with autism.
Help Them Find The Right Fit
When you think of the arts, you may think of painting, drawing and sculpting. But there’s so much more to the arts than what you see in museums. Music is an art form that has such a special place in our lives. Children with learning disabilities can benefit greatly from learning to play an instrument, as long as they have help finding the right one. Wind instruments, like the clarinet, can be practical options for children with special needs.
Dance is another way children can benefit from the arts, and burn a little energy off in the process. Sewing, theater, photography and architecture: there are so many options for children to explore. Let them dabble in different arts and techniques until they find one that works for them.
Look for Local or Online Lessons
Lessons or classes can help children improve their skills and grasp techniques that they may have trouble learning on their own. Sometimes a visual example or some extra instruction can help children with learning disabilities feel more confident with a subject. You may be able to find specialized classes or lessons with instructors who have experience teaching students with special needs. You can even take classes with your kids. There may even be nonprofits and businesses that offer free classes for children with special needs. If lessons are not accessible or if you’re working with a child who isn’t comfortable with others, try looking for online tutorials to help them out.
Make Their Experiences Positive
Children who have learning disabilities can get stressed out pretty quick when it comes to a new subject. This is especially true when it comes to more academic subjects, but the arts can help level the learning experience for those with special needs. As children create, they can find an outlet for their stress, anxiety and other emotional issues. So try to maintain this positivity as they practice and learn. If a child seems to be struggling or getting stressed out, try some ways to avoid meltdowns or tantrums. If they continue to show signs of anxiety, it may be time to move on to a different form of art. Above all, let kids have fun when they are beginning to get into the arts and avoid putting any unnecessary pressure on them.
Kids with learning disabilities can gain so much by getting into the arts. They’ll discover a way to stay calm and focused, as well as an outlet for any stress. If you’re lucky, they may even find their new passion in life or a future career. Whatever their future holds, art can help bring a little more joy into their life.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Is dance an art?
Most would say yes, some would say no, but I would say you are all right! I believe dancing and painting go hand in hand. A dancer needs to move and music. An artist needs paint and brushes. Now when you are first introduced to painting, you may have used a plastic brush with water color paint, which can create a huge mess. I believe that’s how dancing should feel when you first start off, messy. Now as you continue to practice with newer and better paint brushes, you’ll also be using better paint. With more training and focus on technique, you’ll soon sharpen your skills, and you’ll be using more intricate music. With that said, a dancer should always be open to new things, and be ready to be in uncomfortable situations at times. I know this from experience, I grew up a self-taught hip hop dancer, but soon realized that in order to sharpen moves, I would need a better foundation and technique. So I took 2 years of ballet to figure out the ins and outs of my feet and the lines of my body. So is dance an art? My answer is yes, so I encourage any dancer or someone new to the world of dance to not be afraid of the artist you were made to be.