Art and Learning: How the Two Affect Children with Learning Disabilities
Guest blog by: Stephanie Haywood
A learning disability affects our children in ways that go beyond the classroom. They may suffer from low self-esteem and not believe in themselves. Thankfully, art is the perfect vehicle not only to help them learn in new ways but to build confidence in their own abilities. Integrative Pediatrics invites you to read on about ways that art can help our children learn to be creative and to improve self-assurance.
How Art Helps
One of the biggest benefits for children with learning disabilities who pursue art is how it encourages them to be unique. Our children may have suffered in the classroom because they feel they are unable to come to the right answer. With art, there is no such thing as a mistake. It’s about creative expression, which can show our little ones that they can succeed. This can bolster their belief in themselves. Being able to express themselves in a new way and learning the tools of creativity can also improve their self-image. No matter what disabilities our children have, art may help them to flourish in the classroom.
While sharing the benefits of the arts and crafts with your children, you may discover that you have a passion for teaching that goes beyond your own home. First, try involving other kids in the neighborhood. If you want to take it a step further, consider teaching lessons yourself! That way, you can help fill a void in a child’s life that may otherwise miss out on the opportunity. However, make sure you take the proper steps and learn how to start a business, which includes writing out a business plan and determining what you need to do to officially register with the state.
A hobby goes beyond the classroom. It can become a passion that lasts a lifetime and gives us a way to pass our time in healthy outlets. By encouraging hobbies, we can give our children a foundation to avoid unhealthy behaviors. There are plenty of artistic hobbies that go beyond the previously mentioned. Talk to your child about what they might enjoy trying, but give them suggestions, too. You could try crochet, knitting, or even woodwork. Even gardening can be creative, and it can be a good way to get your child invested in what they eat. If one doesn’t stick, don’t give up. If you aren’t sure what hobby to encourage, consider your child’s interests. Your little one may enjoy the next hobby you try, and may feel their confidence soar as they develop their interests.
What do you think of when you hear the word art? Is it painting? Charcoal sketches on parchment? Pencils, pastels, or even coloring books? All of these are great places to start experimenting with your child. If you need guidance when showing your children how to begin, you could try different methods with them and see what works best. After all, by giving them examples to follow, they may feel more confident to explore themselves. Don’t force any particular medium on your children; instead, let them decide what they want for themselves. And this really should be treated as playtime — something fun you can do together.
Art is more than sitting behind an easel and painting, though that may very well be a part of your child’s experience. Art can be music, which can be just as beneficial. If your little one shows interest, encouraging them to learn an instrument can be, to put it mildly, instrumental in helping them develop confidence and may even help them with their school work. Learning music can develop motor skills and also the connective regions of our children’s brains. However, it’s okay to start simply, too. Listen to music with your child, and work on finding the beat or rhythm of each song. You could try going to a concert to see if they enjoy the atmosphere of live music. Or, get creative and make your own instruments in the kitchen.
While there may not be a perfect solution for a learning disability, there are ways we can help our children succeed. Lift them up with your support, and let them experiment with art in their own unique way. You never know how it may help them grow scholastically and emotionally.
Another great way to spur your child’s interest in art is through picture books with beautiful illustrations, like those available through Sweetbeet Books. Not only can your child enjoy colorful works of art, but these stories can take them to faraway destinations, help boost their self-confidence and instill deep curiosity about the world around them.
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