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This Is How the Arts Can Help Children with Learning Disabilities Thrive

While the arts can benefit children of all ages and abilities, they can be especially valuable to children with learning disabilities. Many students who struggle with academic subjects can shine when it comes to drawing, painting, sewing, acting, dancing, and other disciplines. The arts can provide an outlet for expression, boost self-confidence, help hone critical life skills, and ultimately help a child thrive in life. If you’re looking to help your child with a learning disability get involved with the arts, here is some information to get you started.

Research the Benefits

The first thing you want to do is research the various types of art and their benefits. Learning about the arts will give you a solid foundation for the rest of your quest, and the numerous benefits will provide you with inspiration. Art activities are not merely a way of entertaining or helping your child pass the time. Rather, they help them learn and sharpen essential life skills. Also, concepts that are more academic in nature can be introduced through the arts. Drawing and painting can teach them about shapes, mathematics, and boundaries, while acting can help them learn history and communication skills, and so on.

Select an Art Form

After doing some research, consider your child’s strengths, challenges, and interests, and pick an art form you think will set them up for success. Is your child a visual, auditory, or physical learner? Do they show interest when you show them certain forms of art? Do they drum on their legs or sing when they hear a song? Take your child to a play, a live concert, a textile art show, or an art museum and observe their response. Experiencing well-crafted art in person has a way of provoking inspiration and getting the creative juices flowing, and it may help you see which art activities are best suited to your child.

Create an Art Space

Once you and your child have chosen an art, it’s important that they have an area where they can practice freely and without fear of judgment. Convert a room in your home into their art space. Even a corner of your child’s bedroom can work as long as they have room to spread out and move around without feeling confined. Here, they can practice their painting or sketching, play along to a song on the radio, set up their sewing machine, or rehearse their lines for the upcoming play. Make sure they know that it’s a space where they can be messy and make mistakes, and ask if you can join them at times to see their progress.  

Be Their CEO

When you’ve got your child all settled into the arts, it’s important to remain a source of encouragement and support. Look at it as being their CEO — that’s “chief encouragement officer.” When you go in to check on their progress, get involved in what they’re creating by showing interest and asking questions that provoke them to think critically. On your own time, research their art discipline of choice and keep learning what you can about their learning disability. That will help you have engaging conversations with your child and let you know if their learning is going in the right direction.

Any of the numerous art disciplines can prove especially valuable to children with a learning disability. Remember to learn about all the benefits, carefully choose an art form, create a space where your child can practice freely, and remain their source of encouragement and support. You never know, the arts could be your child’s path to a thriving and fulfilling life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash is not a substitute for a professional diagnosis. Please contact your physician for specialized testing if you suspect you or your child may have a disability.

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