Hannah Simpson is a stay-at-home mom of two and enjoys DIY projects. She created ablecrafty.com to help inspire others no matter their age or abilities.
Hannah has written this blog to help as many families as she can and would welcome any feedback!
As parents, we want our kids to get the best education possible. Along with having a safe and healthy childhood, we want them to be well-equipped to succeed in the real world once they leave home. Therefore, if your child has a learning disability, it’s natural to want to figure out ways that you can help them learn and flourish.
Getting your child involved with arts can do wonders for their development. Besides helping to unlock their self-confidence, engaging in the arts can significantly improve their fine motor skills, critical thinking process, and decision-making abilities – not to mention the social benefits that can arise. That’s why YorOK has put together some tried-and-true tips for getting children into the arts:
Introduce them to role models.
There have been countless artists over the years who have created masterpieces while dealing with a learning disability. For example, Steven Spielberg was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 60 years old. It’s rumored that Leonardo da Vinci struggled with similar traits. Moreover, Stephen Wiltshire, a British artist known as the “human camera”, was diagnosed with autism as early as three years old. And there have been many musicians over the years who have had to manage various learning disabilities
Tell your child stories about artists like these, explaining how they overcame obstacles to make an impact in the world. Along with inspiring your child, studying these artists could also help them figure out what kind of art they are interested in.
Find the fit.
If your child is to gain an interest in the arts, their talent needs to reveal itself naturally. In other words, don’t force it. Say that your child with down syndrome shows an interest in dancing. Encourage them to imitate dance moves on TV shows and movies; once they learn the basic routine of what they are watching, try to get them to add their own moves to it.
If your child on the spectrum enjoys drawing, have them concentrate on one subject at a time. If they want to draw a mountain landscape, for instance, have them draw the outline of the mountains and then have them incorporate trees and other elements.
Give them space.
If you’ve ever worked from or taken online classes, you know the importance of having a proper workspace. The same logic applies to your child engaging in the arts.
Consider any area in your home that you can use as your child’s creative space, whether it’s their bedroom, spare room, a garage, or an unfinished basement. Carving out a dedicated space for your child to be creative can also boost your home’s resale value if you design it tastefully.
Keep them inspired.
Getting your child interested in the arts is one thing, keeping them interested is another. Think of ways that you can keep your child engaged in creative activities so they can continue to reap the benefits for years to come. You might take trips to the local museum if they like the arts. You might take them to concerts and music stores if they are interested in music. Or you can show them movies that revolve around their art of interest.
Make a performance of it.
Finally, when kids work hard at developing their artistic talent, the work itself can boost their confidence. But when they’re able to show that work to others, it can take their confidence to another level. For instance, if your child is investing time and energy into performance arts (e.g., acting, dancing, singing, etc.), encourage them to do recitals. If your child likes painting or drawing, turn their work into a collection to display in your home, and take every opportunity to present their work to friends and family.
Just because your child has a learning disability doesn’t mean they can’t build a promising future for themselves. By introducing them to the arts, you can help them develop self-confidence and various developmental skills. Along with following the tips above, never stop researching how you can put your child in the best position to flourish now and for years to come!
YorOK brings together information aimed specifically at young people, families and the children's workforce. Call 01904 554444.