Special thanks to Lillian Brooks for this great article!
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.
How to Help Your Learning-Disabled Child Get Involved with the Arts
The late artist Keith Haring said, “Art is for everybody.” Whether we’re viewing it, making it, or even discussing it, there’s something about art that engages more than just our eyes. There’s always a sense of emotion behind it. And it’s not just paintings or drawings that can have those emotions. In fact, we can broaden Mr. Haring’s quote and state, “The arts are for everybody.” That includes music, dance, acting, literature, and film and video.
Within any of these realms of art, a child with a learning disability might be able to find a way to express feelings and learn to focus, improve communications skills, gain confidence, develop eye-hand coordination, and take pride in work. Even better, getting involved with the arts can give the child a healthy outlet for emotions and might prevent him or her from slipping into unhealthy habits such as drinking or drug abuse when they get older.
With so many art forms to choose from, your child can find one that fits his or her personality, skill level, and interest. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
What do drummer Mick Fleetwood, Cher, Adam Levine, and Ozzy Osbourne have in common? They and many other famous musicians all have learning disabilities, ranging from ADHD to dyslexia to dyspraxia, and they credit music with helping them manage their disabilities. Music is a true multisensory experience: you use touch to finger your instrument, which then produces a sound you hear, and both of those come from reading music by sight. Each one of these works different sets of skills. According to Sharlene Habermeyer writing at Attitudemag.com, music “builds and strengthens the auditory visual/spatial and motor cortices of the brain.” Plus, music helps the child learn how to focus their attention.
Painting and Drawing
It doesn’t take much: all you need are a set of colored pencils, some paper, and your child’s imagination. How does drawing help with learning disabilities? For one, it helps with problem-solving, which could be anything from figuring out how to draw a certain animal to color selection to redrawing an object. What’s more, drawing can help your child with expressing emotions instead of acting them out. Later on, you might introduce the child to painting or sketching. Like music, these art forms can help your child learn how to focus, develop confidence, and take great pride in the work that’s created.
This is another art form that can instill confidence and improve motor skills. Much like the others, it also enhances the child’s self-esteem and helps him or her learn how to make friends and trust others. Dance and movement can also allow a child to express emotions such as joy, sadness, excitement, and anger. In addition, there’s a physical aspect of dance and movement that can help your child develop a positive body image.
For any of these or others, you don’t have to immediately sign your child up for lessons to learn them. You can easily introduce these as hobbies or even just fun activities at first before you begin formal training. That way, the child can determine whether he or she likes one of them well enough to pursue it further.
No matter which one you help your child choose, involvement in any one of the various art forms enhances sensory activity, helps focus attention, improves eye-hand coordination, allows for safe emotional release, and develops confidence and self-esteem. Truly, the arts are for everybody.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com