4 Ways To Help A Child With A Learning Disability Get Involved With The Arts
Studies show that five percent of the children in the United States have a learning disability. While that may seem like a relatively small number, for the kids and their parents who make up that percentile, it’s a big deal. Traditional treatment methods include a combination of visual techniques, occupational therapy, the use of technology, classroom modifications, multisensory teaching methods, and more depending upon the specific disability. But there’s an alternative treatment that’s also proven to be successful. Art therapy can make it easier for kids to express themselves through various mediums — it’s also great for helping with anxiety. If you have a child with a learning disorder, consider incorporating art into their curriculum.
1. Create A Designated Hobby Room
Start with accessibility to the arts right in your very own home. Create a designated hobby room where your child can freely work on their favorite art projects, messes and all. Tips for creating the perfect space:
- Easy-to-clean surfaces for walls, desks, tables, etc. Consider erasable surfaces that can be used like a big canvas.
- Make work spaces conducive to the size of your child.
- Designate a special area for displaying work. Consider clipboards, shelves, book and display cases.
- Make sure there’s plenty of storage for supplies so the room doesn’t become cluttered and chaotic.
- Have a variety of supplies on hand so your child has free reign to experiment. Don’t forget to include protective clothing like smocks and aprons.
- Visit An Art Museum
There’s no better way to get the creative juices flowing than to observe works from some of the greats. Along with teaching your child to appreciate art from a visual standpoint, it can also help him/her have a greater understanding of shapes, dimensions, and textures while boosting language development.
- Look At Pictures
Whether it is picture books or art images online, children from preschool up can communicate ideas and emotions without the need of titles or text. Ask your child to explain what he/she thinks is going on the picture. Also ask them to explain what they saw that made them say their answer.
- Explore All Of The Arts
The arts aren’t limited to painting and sculpting alone. Encourage your kid to experiment with all aspects as there are specific benefits to each.
- Dance: A social activity that teaches rhythm, counting, sequencing, and how to follow directions while developing motor control and coordination — which, in turn, can enhance reading and writing concepts such as grasping the difference between similar looking letters and knowing left from right.
- Music: Along with learning rhythm, sound, and pitch, hearing beats can help children learn how to rhyme and boost phonological awareness. Repetitive songs can help with other areas of academia such as math and english — think multiplication tables or the alphabet song.
- Crafts: Encourage problem-solving skills and self-expression. If you run out of ideas, there are an abundance of options online.
- Performing In Plays: This can be particularly helpful if the child acts out a real life historical, literary, or influential individual as it can help with memory retention while encouraging a greater appreciation for history.
Dealing with a learning disability is no easy task. However, art therapy can take the focus off the problem while improving it at the same time. If your child is having a tough time at school, an activity such as painting or creating a piece of jewelry can help give them the self-confidence they need to persevere.
Written by 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.