Tips To Engage Students With Disabilities In Art

Posted August 11, 2015 @ 4:08pm | by Danelle

Find a way to introduce a sensory element.

Some kids get excited to use tactile, sensory items.  They may like working with their hands and “connecting” with materials on this level.  Think about ways you could translate the art lesson in a way that would provide this.  Think about ways you could add a collage element like different types of paper, colored tape, cloth pieces.   Introduce a way to tear, wrinkle or fold pieces.  The process of doing these tasks sometimes appeal to kids who may have been uninterested in other art processes.  This concept could even be used for older kids.  Find a way to use it on a creative level for them.

Sometimes your student may have very specific preferences. 

They may only draw using a pencil or an ink pen.  The student may only want to participate if they get to use the material they want.  Using something new or different may cause anxiety.  Students with autism or other special needs may not be resisting as an act of defiance it just isn’t part of their way of thinking.  They may have a hard time with new things and concepts.  You may have to be flexible.

They may have a tactile aversion to the art material being used.

Just as sensory materials may engage some kids other kids may have an aversion to some materials.  They may not have a tolerance for a material and need an alternative material to do the lesson.  Find a different material you can have your student use to complete the lesson.

They may not know how to use the art material.

Your student may not understand what they are supposed to do.   Your student may not know how to use an art material or process.   They may not want to admit it and be embarrassed.  They may need time to get used to it since new things may cause anxiety.  They may not know what to do.  Present information in a different way.  Students with disabilities may need more time to grasp ideas.  Break things down in more simple steps.

Do project as a collaborative. 

You do some they do some.  This may reduce anxiety and help your student understand what they are supposed to do.  It may be less overwhelming and help them see how all of the steps connect.  They can also experience success in the process. 






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