Empower a Child with a Learning Disability with an Arts Education
Guest post by Lacie Martin from Raise Them Well
What is a Learning Disability?
Learning disabilities are areas of inefficiency in brain function that affect its ability to receive, process, analyze, or store certain information, making it difficult for a student to learn. There are various types of learning disabilities including dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and sensory processing deficits. Signs a child may have a learning disability include a limited attention span, poor memory, trouble following directions, poor coordination, disorganization, and troubles when it comes to the basics of reading, writing, or math.
Teachers may notice students with learning disorders:
- Respond inappropriately to questions
- Are easily distractible and restless
- Have difficulty listening and remembering
- Do not adjust well to change in lessons
- Place letters or numbers in incorrect sequence
- Reverses letters or numbers
- Are difficult to discipline
- Have troubles when it comes to sounding out words
- Cannot tell right from left
- Perform differently from day to day
- Complains of dizziness or headaches during lessons
How an Arts Education Helps Children with Learning Disabilities
While children with learning disabilities may struggle with certain subjects more than other children with the right educational and emotional support, they are just as likely to grow up to be successful and happy. One way parents and teachers can encourage kids with learning disabilities is by incorporating the arts into their schooling in some way. The arts empower children and give them a way to express themselves when they struggle to do so in other areas of their education.
Getting involved in the arts can help instill focus in children that suffer from learning disabilities like ADHD that makes it difficult to pay attention. Succeeding in the arts also builds up their self-esteem, which can benefit them in other aspects of their education. When they see themselves as successful learners in one area, it’s easier for children to see themselves as successful in others.
Additionally, you could also teach other kids around the neighborhood and help them discover their love of the arts. And if you want to take teaching to the next level, you could turn it into a business! Of course, when starting a business, you’ll need to make sure you have a business plan to help guide you and a thorough understanding of how to start a business.
What are ‘the arts?’
Asking “What is art?” opens up the floor for an endless philosophical debate. For the sake of brevity, when we talk about the arts, we use it as a term to encompass all the means of expression that utilize a combination of skill and imagination to create an experience that can be shared with other people. These experiences come in the forms of dance, drawings, literature, film, music, paintings, photography, sculpture and theater.
- Whether your child wants to play instruments such as a cello or flute, incorporating music into their education has many benefits. Music therapy helps fine-tune listening and responding abilities. It encourages interactive play and spontaneous imagination. It also improves social skills including taking turns, waiting, listening and eye contact. Furthermore, reading music can help children with dyscalculia develop math skills.
- Children can explore the visual arts through painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, calligraphy, graphic design and more. Working with the visual arts can help develop motor skills that make it easier for children with dysgraphia to refine their handwriting. Visual arts can also help children communicate their thoughts and feelings about stories they have read or heard as a way to improve reading comprehension.
- Children with ADHD learn how to control their bodies and channel their energy into something more productive when they take dance classes. Dance therapy also helps improve memory and overall cognitive function. Plus, physical activity is a great way to promote feelings of well-being in children struggling in school.
Learning disabilities make it difficult for bright kids to succeed in certain areas of their education. With the right support, children with learning disabilities can grow up to be as happy and successful as children without them. One way to support your child with a learning disability is by implementing the arts into their education. From music lessons to dance, the arts can help children with various problems stemming from their disorders.