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Teaching Art to Children with Special Needs: AME 056

There is a huge effort to mainstream children with special needs but often teachers have no formal training in the special needs area. Debi London experienced this first hand as an art teacher and as a mother of a child with autism how important it is to be aware of the small things a teacher can do to create a warm, nurturing and inspiring environment for all children.

This episode is for art teachers seeking inspiration and guidance from another art teacher who has walked the walk. Learn how Debi approaches her lessons, how she sets up her classroom to accommodate all learners and the resources that have made a difference to her.


IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:

  • Helpful tips for helping you to create an art program that is accessible for all children
  • Why it’s important to know the specific needs of all your children, including their likes and dislikes
  • How a sensory center in the classroom can be used to benefit children with special needs
  • How it’s ok to teach at different paces to accommodate specific learning speeds
  • Why you need to be aware of and consider each child’s attention span
  • How to juggle the needs of all students while maintaining positive reinforcement

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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HERE IS SOME GUIDANCE FOR APPROACHING YOUR LESSONS:

1. Provide a Sensory Center- The student should have access to a sensory sand box (kinesthetic sand is a great option), Lego, blocks, larger paper for coloring or stamping, access to iPads with head phones (students can be noise sensitive).  Rain sticks can be soothing. A few bean bags on floor, a small carpeted area and access to a few stuffed animals. Allow movement like: walking and stretching to meet needs.

2. Be understanding of some students because they are unable to fully focus because they: fidget, flap (stem). Allow them to have access to these things at the sensory center area as usage of items will help the flow of teaching art.

3. Soft classical music helps to create a calming environment.

4. Allow for breaks (sometimes a timer helps).

5. Get to know the students. Find out likes and dislikes to avoid a meltdown.

6. Pair students with friends or pair with one-on-one help from teacher.


SHOW NOTES

Monsters Love School Lesson

Eric Carle’s Website

Special Artists Handbook: Art Activities and Adaptive Aids for Handicapped Students by Susan Rodriguez and Paul D. Blumenthal(affiliate link)

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete (affiliate link)

Sesame Street: Meet Julia Video

What is Autism?

What do you think?

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  • Debi London

    I want to thank Patty for interviewing me and for letting me share my story.

  • Gloria Mathews

    I really enjoyed listening to this podcast. You are awesome Debi! What a patient and kind teacher you are. I appreciate your ideas, suggestions and I LOVE the idea of those little sensory boxes. So fun! What lucky children to have you in their corner.

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