Positive Experience for children with Learning Disabilities | Angela Floyd Schools
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Positive Experience for children with Learning Disabilities

How to Make the Arts a Positive Experience for Children with Learning Disabilities
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The classroom can be a discouraging place for children with learning differences. Struggling to keep up in a learning environment not designed for them, children with learning disabilities face hits to their self-esteem. Often, this leads to a loss of motivation and interest in school.
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The arts offer a stark contrast to traditional classroom teaching. In an environment where creativity is encouraged and differences celebrated, children with learning disabilities are able to shine. Excelling in art or music is a great confidence boost for kids frustrated by school and that confidence can translate to increased participation in the academic classroom.
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GreatSchools.org refers to the tactic of finding areas where a learning disabled child can excel as “islands of competence.” By identifying your child’s islands of competence, you can instill an enjoyment of the process and value of learning that extends into other subject areas. But how do you inspire passion in anything when your child is already mentally withdrawing from school? It isn’t easy, but these suggestions can help.
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1. Enroll in Arts Lessons Outside of School
If your child associates school with stress and feelings of poor self-worth, those same sentiments will carry over to arts lessons at school. Even if your child enjoys art and music classes at school, he’ll be more willing to open up and try new things in an environment where he’s not worried about classmates’ judgment. Enroll your child in art, dance, drama or music lessons at a location separate from school so your child can explore passions and make friends in an environment free of emotional baggage.
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2. Create Opportunities to Experiment at Home
Unstructured learning and play is where children’s creativity and brilliance truly shine. Given the right tools and a little bit of guidance, kids can dive deep into their passions and create things that we adults never would have imagined. Facilitate unstructured, pressure-free learning by equipping your home with art supplies, musical instruments and other tools for creating. Organize supplies in a designated creativity zone so you can contain messes, shut out distractions and give your child space to create.
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3. Encourage Movement
Movement is increasingly recognized as an important tool in education. The reason isn’t simply because movement helps kids burn off energy so they can focus. As the Washington Post reports, “Incorporating movement-based activities can help learners of all ages articulate and internalize new ideas.” This is especially true for children with learning disabilities. Consider the need for movement when introducing arts to your child.
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For example, instead of drawing, try ceramics and sculpting or instead of orchestra, try dance. The same goes for choosing a musical instrument: While learning any instrument improves children’s language-based reasoning and ability to plan and execute tasks, a child who thrives on movement will do best with the saxophone or other instrument that allows for movement rather than a piano.
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4. Get Involved
Every child yearns for the support and encouragement of his parents. By paying attention to your child’s interests, encouraging experimentation with different art forms and praising his progress in a hobby, you build up your child’s sense of self-worth.
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A learning disability doesn’t mean a child lacks talent. Rather, learning disabled kids are like square pegs in round holes — an equally valid shape, just living in a world not designed for them. By encouraging participation in the arts, parents can strengthen their child’s capacity for learning and build self-esteem. Often, that translates to increased academic success, but even if it doesn’t, you’ll have the joy of knowing your child has found the island where his competence is on full display.
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Call us today at 675-9894 to find out more about our ARTS FOR THE AMAZING program and so much more!
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