ART is a three-letter word that can express thousands of different thoughts. This maybe in the form of music, dancing, drama or creative arts in general. Most people say either adults or typical kids, that art helps them express their thoughts and emotions. It is an outlet for them to relieve stress, to pour out emotions or for some, it is really their passion.
But, have you ever wondered its effects to children with special needs?
Some of children with special needs are non-verbal. This means they have their own means of communication. Some may use hand signs in communication. Some may use gadgets or technology to convey their message. And astonishingly, they use art in communicating.
There is one story about our (Bridging the Gap’s) founder, Janice Tay. She has a son diagnosed with GDD (Global Developmental Delay). This son of hers came up with a drawing that says, “Mom, I have no friends”. Through a simple drawing, the boy was able to express his feelings that he couldn’t verbally say.
This simple story just shows how important art is either through drawing, painting, singing, dancing or acting. All forms of art can actually be beneficial for kids with special needs. This is why ART should be part of a child’s curriculum normal, mainstream or special school.
So what exactly are the effects of ART (drawing, painting, colouring) to our specially-abled children?
- IT IS A GOOD FORM OF COMMUNICATION
As mentioned above, some kids who couldn’t verbally talk can use drawing as a form or communication. Their art works speak of their emotions and feelings which they couldn’t directly share with us. This is also a way for parents and guardians to know whether their child is doing okay or their struggling.
- IT BUILDS THEIR FINE MOTOR SKILLS
Colouring, painting, drawing – these all require the use of art tools such as pencil, paint brush, scissors, coloured pencils which actually helps in strengthening fine motor skills. This will help them be exposed to these tools with small grip and big grip which can also help our children to control the strength of their grip.
- IT HONES PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS AND IMAGINATION
Most of us have experienced losing art materials either at home and at school which hinders us in finishing an art project. With this, we would try to think of solutions or think of other object that can be used as replacement. Let’s say you need a red paint, but you’ve finished yours already. We could try to melt a red lipstick to replace it. This is just one way and there are thousands more ways to be creative and to be resourceful.
- IT PROMOTES SELF-ESTEEM AND MOTIVATION TO SUCCEED.
When you have done something, and it was recognized, don’t you feel flattered and proud of yourself? This goes the same for our children. They would feel motivated and feel acknowledged for something they exerted effort on. Juts by simply posting it on your refrigerator or by praising them, it will reinforce them to do better and give their best in everything they do. And most importantly, it boosts their confidence and self-esteem not just in the field of art but with others too.
Art can be messy and is very troublesome to clean. However, we must always remember that it greatly benefits our kids with special needs. Let’s all be creative today.