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I hope this info helps. Even though my view may not be popular with
everyone, I do think that it is easier and often times more beneficial to
work with students with severe exceptional needs in a smaller, contained
setting. Your activities then are specifically designed for these
students and their abilities. First of all, I would suggest you get a
hold of a few books:
The Special Artist's Handbook by Susan Rodriguez
Insights - Art in Special Education: Educating the Handicapped Through Art
by Art Educators of New Jersey
Exceptional Children, Exceptional Art by David Henley
When working with orthopedically impaired students, you may want to check
into some adaptive tools. Ask the physical/occupational therapist about
dycem. This stuff provides enough tack which helps prevent some spills
or things flying off the tray, etc. If your students are unable to hold
onto a brush or pencil, consider building it up with some foam tubing
(insulation from pipes), modeling clay, or even have the child hold onto
the object with a Tide container handle! If you have the money, invest
in the Fiskars scissors. There's some spring scissors just for small
kids and then there's the wonderful Soft Touch scissors that I even use!
Working within trays or taping down artwork may also help.
It's great that the physical therapist sometimes comes in. Tap his/her
brain. Explain to him/her what you're trying to do with a student and
the difficulties you're encountering. Often times they can come up with
some wonderful adaptive tools or methods that work like a charm.
Other things I've used include clothespins to grab things, photo
canisters to help grip small things such as stamps, and glue sticks. I
can give you more info later if you wish, but I want to watch the Packer
victory show. Congrats Packers!!!