Helping Children With Learning Disabilities Participate in the Arts

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 A learning disability does not mean learning inability. Many children with learning disabilities discover opportunities for meaningful education and profound expression of intellect, emotion, and spirituality through the arts. The sheer number of disciplines in this category means there are numerous ways to encourage kids to engage. If you want to open your foster child’s eyes to the world of visual and/or performing arts, Foster Today invites you to read on.


What Are the Arts?

The arts are the cumulative disciplines that call for the use of creative imagination in experiencing and interpreting reality and expressing that in the form of artwork, spaces, interactive environments, and performances for others to view. Some of the best-known categories of the arts are:


  • Performing arts: theater, music, dance, and oral storytelling
  • Visual arts: drawing, painting, sculpting, crafting, photography, and cinematography/film
  • Literary arts: blogging, dramatic writing, fiction/non-fiction reading, journalism, prose, and poetry
  • Culinary arts: food preparation, baking, cooking, and nutrition
  • Fashion and textiles: design and creation of clothing, jewelry, and accessories


Who Are Children With Disabilities?

The top three categories of student disabilities include specific learning disabilities, speech/language impairment, and other health impairments. This is followed by intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, autism, and multiple disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act defines categories and assessment standards for each.

The arts offer children with disabilities a means of expressing themselves in ways that transcend physical and mental constraints while developing various cognitive, motor, and sensory skills. The creative process is a planning exercise that teaches kids to think sequentially and structure their actions to produce a finished product. This builds self-confidence and self-esteem.


What Are Some Benefits of the Arts?


Different activities offer unique benefits depending on your child’s level of engagement. Dance gives children an invigorating physical workout that increases fitness, strength, and flexibility while relieving stress and building self-esteem. Many visual arts develop motor skills, coordination, perception, and self-awareness while providing opportunities to engage socially with others. Culinary arts teach children to follow instructions through recipes; understand diet, nutrition, and health; operate cooking equipment; and collaborate on a team, among other things. For some children, participation may reduce instances of disruptive behavior or even wandering. These are just some of the many benefits of engagement that can have lifelong positive impacts on these children.


How Can My Family Get Involved?

There are many ways parents can encourage children with disabilities to participate in various arts programs. Depending on your child’s age and disability, engagement can begin at home, at school, or in another setting. Some strategic considerations for parents include:


  • Having your child undergo aptitude testing to discover his or her strengths, weaknesses, and inclinations toward specific artforms
  • Transforming an existing unused room in your home into a dedicated creative space. Some enhancements could even increase the home’s appraisal value when you’re to sell
  • Discover arts programs in your community taught by certified instructors. These offer your child opportunities to participate in exhibits, shows, and performances


While you’re teaching your child how to be creative, you might find you have a knack for educating. You could start a business giving other children lessons. Consider forming a limited liability company for this purpose. An LLC provides liability protection, tax benefits, flexibility, and less paperwork. State rules vary on whether you can create an LLC yourself, so check your area’s regulations, or hire a formation service to get you set up and handle LLC taxes as you move forward.


Getting children with disabilities involved with the arts is a rewarding endeavor. A sound investment of time and energy in the process will best ensure great rewards for you and your kids.

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