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Re: Special Needs kids


From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Apr 06 2004 - 10:30:25 PDT wrote:
> I will be teaching art to 6 classes of special needs students from ages
> 3-21. Most of these students have multiple handicaps and most come in with an
> aide for one on one or one aide per three students. Two of my classes are in
> their rooms and I am on a cart. Any ideas would be great!

Yikes, Gail, what a wide range! For me, the hardest part has been to
keep the aides from doing too much for the kids.

Here are a few pointers I've learned over the years:

Concentrate on what the students CAN do, not on what they can't. Don't
accept at face value what their teachers or aides tell you the students
can't do; they will always surprise you and especially the people who
think they know the kids so well. Don't hesitate to give the students
something more challenging.

Read the book Exceptional Children, Exceptional Art (from Davis). It
provides a lot of insight into the physical, psychological, and
emotional needs of a range of disabilities and ages.

You can adapt a lot of classroom tools like pencils or brushes by using
large foam curlers or the sponge-like foam (not the Styrofoam) that
cushions computers and such. You can saw it with a hacksaw blade so it
fits their hands comfortably.

Stencils work better if they're tracing around the INSIDE of the
stencil, rather than the outside. It seems they have a harder time
keeping their pencils up against the outside edge rather than the inner

Shapes cut from sponges make neat stamps. Also weatherstripping foam,
which is sticky on one side, can be cut into shapes and stuck to film
canisters to make an easy-to-grip stamp.

If you like, I'll send you some notes and handouts from NAEA that I've
collected. Send me your snail-mail address and I'll try to get it to
you before I leave for Denver next week. Sorry, this offer is for Gail