Art for Life: The Benefits of Art for a Learning Disabled Child….Article by Emily Graham

Children with learning disabilities need help finding ways to communicate and express themselves. Art and art therapy are frequently used to help the learning disabled cope with communication challenges that can leave them feeling isolated, confused and misunderstood. Art therapy provides communication tools that help them interact socially and express thoughts and concepts in school. It opens a range of expressive media and gives children with learning disabilities new ways to see and understand the world around them.

Art room

If your child has a learning disability, you can make art a part of his everyday life and give him ready access to activities that can build confidence and reduce anxiety. Establishing an art room right in your home gives your child a ready-made sanctuary for expressing his feelings and venting emotions he doesn’t even understand in positive ways. Create an area in which your child can have fun without worrying about making a mess. Paint the walls with an erasable surface, giving your child a living canvas, with chalk, sketch pads, colored pens, crayons and paint. Set it up so your child can view Youtube videos that show them how to create art that’s fun and personally meaningful. Provide a smock that will protect their clothing and a well-appointed room with plenty of storage space.

View artwork together

Buy picture books featuring paintings of the great masters and view them with your child. Ask him what he thinks about each one and whether they inspire him want to create his own art. How do the scenes, use of color, composition and use of lighting make him feel? This can be a fun and comfortable exercise for your child, an opportunity to process confusing emotions and external stimuli in ways that benefit attentiveness and cognitive processing.

Experience the full spectrum

Expose your child to the full spectrum of art from painting and sculpture to music, drama and crafts such as textile arts and sewing, which helps develop manual dexterity and can be therapeutic for individuals with arthritis and joint pain. Show your child how many different ways there are to express himself, and media can aid children with learning disabilities grow in their ability to do math, understand science and communicate in writing. Learning an appreciation of music helps kids develop auditory recognition and awareness. Crafts are especially popular among children because it helps them to learn how to solve problems and develop self-confidence.

Visit your local museum

Visiting an art museum can have a profound effect on young people, especially seeing great artwork in a venue that optimizes the experience. It’s an experience that impresses upon visitors the power and social importance of the visual arts. It’s a unique way of interacting with colors, textures and shapes. Viewing art in person is a provocative and visually engaging activity that encourages instinctive and honest reactions, a healthy way for kids with learning disabilities to develop verbal skills. Many American cities have children’s art museums that present art in ways that young people can relate to and appreciate within the context of their own experience.

Showcase your child’s artwork

Consider using social media or setting up a website to share your child’s artwork with others. Friends and family will want to see what he’s up to, and it may elicit ideas in other parents of learning disabled children.

Exposing your child to art can help him develop cognitively and verbally and grow the confidence to interact with others. It can be beneficial for children whose disability causes them embarrassment at school among their peers. Make art a part of your child’s life.


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