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Re: [teacherartexchange] Art for special needs


Date: Sat Jun 19 2010 - 18:52:15 PDT

I posted this on the list serve a number of years ago. It appears on IAD with other good information (see "Working with special needs students"):

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

I had a severely impaired CP student in my HS 3D class who did very well with ceramics. I made her wedge her own clay and showed her how to use the slab roller; she could operate it using her limited large-motor abilities. With the slab she used her own hands as drape molds to form bowls. She could not do the weaving unit with the other kids, so I adapted it so she could embroider burlap stretched in an embroidery frame. I made her a foam holder for the big plastic needle so she could push the needle through herself; I or a student helper--and several volunteered to help her when they needed a break from their own work--would pull the needle through. She was eventually able to fine-tune her aim to follow an outline and make a neat pillow cover for her mother.


---- mbortzfield wrote:
> Hello,
> I recently began teaching art to a student in my school who has CP. Her
> fine motor abilities are limited and I need some suggestions for meaningful
> lessons.
> She is in the 2nd grade and will be attending our public school full time
> next year, along with another CP student with whom I have not met yet.
> I have painted a few times with her and have had great success. My last
> lesson was with model magic which I wasn't thrilled with experience for her.
> I want her to have a varied and good experience but I do not have the
> knowledge in this field. I have spoken with the occupational therapist in
> the school, but our schedules never coincide that we can have time together.
> Can someone pleas suggest a good resource so I may review it over the
> summer and plan for next year? I believe I will meet with the two students
> once a week for 20-30 minutes. Adaptive tools are available and we will be
> getting more in September.
> Thank you,
> mb
> ---
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