Article by Linda Robinson

How to Nurture Young Minds with Learning Disabilities Through the Arts
January 16, 2024

The world of art can offer some remarkable benefits for children with learning disabilities. The arts open the door to self-expression, confidence, and personal growth for children facing challenges with learning and development. In this article,delve into the transformative power of various art forms, from embroidery and painting to music and dance, and how each can uniquely benefit your child.  

Explore Different Forms of Art

In the world of art, imagination knows no bounds. From the strokes of a paintbrush to the rhythm of music, every avenue of creativity offers a unique pathway for self-expression and growth. Encourage your child to explore various forms of art. For example, bead embroidery is a delightful craft that beckons both beginners and seasoned artists alike. Consider gifting your child a bead embroidery kit so you can watch them transform a collection of vibrant beads into intricate designs - just ensure there’s a parent or responsible adult around to keep children safe throughout the process. With a little help and guidance, bead embroidery is a little-known craft that anyone can learn and excel at!

Create an Arts and Crafts Room at Home

Does your child have a place where they can create a home? Transforming a spare room into an arts and crafts space is a brilliant way to encourage your child to practice the arts. Pottery Barn Kids suggests thinking about how you can design and layout the room to maximise functionality. For example, you may want to include a painting easel, storage units, a large crafting table, a chalkboard, and an area where your children can hang their art for display.

Here’s a pro tip: as you work on your child’s art room, keep meticulous records of any updates and modifications you make to your home. These records will serve as a valuable asset should you decide to sell your home in the future. By providing a comprehensive list of improvements to your appraiser, you might be able to secure a higher appraisal value!

Also be sure you keep the arts and crafts room tidy and clean. Remember that young hands will be working at tables and even the floor, so consider using cleaning products that are non-toxic to keep everyone healthy. Look into replacing store-bought chemical cleaners with those that can be made from household products like baking soda and lemons.

Music as an Art Form

Music is an invaluable form of art for children with learning disabilities. According to Good Parenting Brighter Children, music is great for strengthening a child’s auditory cortex, which can help children with auditory processing challenges. Music also motivates, stimulates multiple senses, and offers children a nonverbal form of expression. Consider enrolling your child in music lessons where they can try out different instruments and see what resonates with them.  

Theater and the Dramatic Arts

The dramatic arts offer a unique form of expression for children, particularly those with intellectual disabilities. Kids in theatre learn advanced communication skills, how to work in groups, and how to manage anxiety. Drama also teaches about facial recognition and emotion identification. If you think your child would enjoy the dramatic arts, encourage them to join their school’s theater program or—if your child is younger—look for local drama therapy programs in your city. Drama therapy is a therapeutic practice that uses play, projection, performance, and improvisation to help adults or children who are struggling with certain skills or behaviours.  

Pursue Your Own Artistic Interests

Children naturally take after their parents. If your child sees you enjoying the arts, there’s a good chance they’ll want to get involved as well. So have some fun exploring various forms of artistic expression. You might even discover a hidden passion for art! If you want to take your artistic pursuits a step further, consider starting a career as an art teacher, animator, art therapist, or craft-based entrepreneur. Your child might even want to get involved in your new art business!

Art has the power to nurture and transform the minds of children with learning disabilities. In art, challenges become triumphs, self-expression is limitless, and personal growth knows no bounds. By exploring diverse forms of art, and even setting up a crafts room in your home, you can kindle an artistic curiosity in your child and nurture their journey toward self-discovery and greater confidence.