By Lillian Brooks | LearningDisabilities.info was created to offer information and understanding to parents of children with learning disabilities, as well as adults who are in need of continued support to succeed.
For kids with learning disabilities, a trip to the museum, a concert, or ballet can be too challenging to accomplish. But with a little research and some help, you can help your child experience the arts in a way that can benefit them.
Benefits of the Arts for Learning Disabled Children
Exposure to the arts is a great gift for children with learning disabilities. According to Nancy Bailey from Living in Dialogue, “The arts can level the playing field, because children with difficulties in academic subjects might excel at drawing, painting, acting, or dancing and singing.” It’s critical that we make sure our kids get exposure to the arts both in and outside of school.
Learning the arts allows your child freedom of expression and the ability to be creative. That can build his self-esteem and self-worth, as described in this article from CerebralPalsy.org. That is especially true when kids have physical or cognitive challenges with traditional means of expressive communication.
Here are some ways you can help your child get exposed to the arts.
Therapy with Arts
The arts are a great way to provide kids with an engaging therapy that they actually want to do. For example, there are many music therapy programs available across the country. Music therapy is not the same as learning to play an instrument, but it can involve using instruments to help improve fine and gross motor skills. Other benefits, according to this post at Different Dream Living, include using songs as a way to improve speech, remember academic information, and help a child learn appropriate social skills and behaviors.
Learning a New Skill
Learning the arts is also beneficial for learning-disabled children. Some even serve multiple purposes. For example, working with textiles is a great way for kids to develop attention to detail, focus, patience, and motor skills. Sewing is a practical skill necessary in everyday life. Textile skills, such as screen printing, can provide a child with the opportunity for a vocational career.
You should seek out programs that are adapted for kids with disabilities. Many locations have painting, music, dance, or drama classes specifically designed for children with special needs. Some public and charter schools also offer classes in the arts for kids with disabilities as part of their regular curriculum.
Finding Local Activities Geared for Special Needs
You may be able to find local arts events for kids with disabilities. Some examples include:
- Movies, plays, and musical performances with dimmed lights and lower volume for children with sensory issues.
- The Blue Man Group has a special toned-down performance for autistic children.
- The Miracle Project helps children through young adults who have disabilities perform in theater, film, and expressive arts programs.
- Look for other interactive events for children around you.
Thinking Outside the Box
If you can’t find anything, get creative. In 2013, Today shared the story of Natalia Armoza, the mother of a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy, who wanted to take her daughter to the ballet but couldn’t bring her to a regular performance. Instead, she wrote a letter to the New York City Ballet, proposing they run a workshop for children with cerebral palsy. Much to her surprise, they said yes and began their first workshop in 2014. Her daughter was thrilled to learn ballet moves.