How The Arts Can Help Your Learning Disabled Child

Children with learning disabilities face many challenges in life from speech disabilities to academic challenges. However, there is something that may help them: getting involved in the arts. According to Psychology Today, participating in the creative arts can help support literacy skills such as reading, writing, speaking and listening for kids with disabilities. How else can the arts help your child? The National Foster Parent Association invites you to keep reading.

How The Arts Benefits Children

More research is showing that arts involvement has cognitive benefits for these children. Here are a few:

  • Learning a musical instrument has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve attention and improve reading skills. This post from The Musician Lab shows a whopping 21 benefits of learning an instrument.
  • According to the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, many studies show “a correlation between drama involvement and academic achievement.” In particular, kids with disabilities gained proficiency in reading, self-concept, motivation, and empathy. Drama can help maintain those skills as well.
  • Research shows that dance therapy can help children with Down syndrome improve developmental, health and cognitive skills.
  • Theater training for kids on the autism spectrum has been shown to increase skills such as communication and facial recognition, according to one study.

Not only that, but children with learning disabilities can thrive in the arts. For example, writes that kids might possess better visual skills than academic skills, making the visuals art an area where they can excel.

That’s right in line with Nancy Bailey of Living In Dialogue. She writes, “The arts can level the playing field because children with difficulties in academic subjects might excel at drawing, painting, acting, or dancing and singing.” If you have a child with a learning disability, that sounds like a great reason to introduce them to the arts.

Which Creative Arts Are Best For My Child?

You should look at what your child likes. Is she always dancing? Does he paint a lot? These questions will guide you in your search.

You may already have learning centers that offer arts training for kids with special needs in your area. Try to arrange a trial class first to see how your child handles it.

Theater Groups For Autism and Special Needs

Sitting in a theater may be hard for a child on the autism spectrum, but what about being on stage? The Miracle Project is an organization that offers theater, film, and other classes for autistic children and adults. They can get involved in many areas of the production from set design to performance.

Photography & Visual Arts

Because of their strength in visual arts, photography can be a natural way to excel. You can simply start by letting your child take photos on your phone. Or, let him take painting lessons. There are a number of organizations that promote art created by people with disabilities like these seven studios listed at Friendship Circle.

Dance Opportunities

Several years ago, Natalia Armoza asked the New York City Ballet if they could accommodate her daughter who has cerebral palsy. In response, they opened a workshop where she and other disabled children could dance. That simple request led to the creation of the Ballet’s Access Programs, which helps people and kids with disabilities onsite and in various venues. Look for local programs near you.

Teach Your Child To Play An Instrument

There are lots of programs all over the country that can teach your child an instrument. Choosing a woodwind such as a flute or the saxophone can have many advantages such as developing hand-eye coordination, improving posture and strengthening breathing.

Build Your Passion Into a Business

Did you discover that you love teaching arts and crafts to children? Do you want to build your passion into a full-blown business? If so, you can begin teaching other children with learning disabilities on a full- or part-time basis. However, before you take a deep dive into the world of business, you need to make sure you have everything you need to stay legally sound. This involves developing a business plan, researching the LLC requirements for your state, and, if necessary, getting the necessary funding to start things off on the right foot.

If you have a child with a learning disability, enrolling them in the arts can improve their cognitive skills, socialization and self-esteem. And it’s just plain fun!