The arts can have a profound effect on people of all ages, from offering an emotional outlet to allowing young people to have their voices heard. Dance, music, visual art, theater and even cooking are all wonderful ways to get creative and learn to relax, boost self-esteem and make social connections that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Playing a musical instrument can even help a child learn about math and reading concepts in a new way, which is why getting a child with a disability involved in the arts is so rewarding.
One of the best things about the artistic world is that it evens the playing field. In a classroom, a child with a particular disability may feel left out or different; in a group where everyone is learning how to express themselves in a new way, however, that same child may feel empowered and strong. If your child is living with a disability, consider the following factors and help her find the creative outlet that works best for her needs.
The arts boost self-confidence
Whether it’s performing on a stage or cooking in the kitchen, being creative means learning some things about yourself, such as how to accept criticism as well as praise. Working with other kids in a creative environment can also help a child take pride in their talents and abilities, a huge confidence-booster for those who are living with a disability.
“The arts are a great leveler, as we are all in the same boat, learning to create and succeed in new and unexpected ways,” says Dory Kanter, an education consultant and arts/literacy curriculum writer. “Children not only become appreciators of each other’s work, but also develop skills of self-reflection in the effort to bring their personal vision to fruition.”
Set healthy habits
Because being creative is such a great way to release emotions, it’s the perfect way for a child to express herself healthily and to get rid of stress or anxiety. This, in turn, is a wonderful start for kids when it comes to setting healthy habits for life, meaning they will be more likely to turn to creative expression than substance abuse when they’re older.
Boost fine motor skills
From dancing ballet to chopping onions for a stew, developing creative skills can have an enormously powerful effect on a child’s physical abilities including boosting fine motor skills. This is a great way to teach your child about the best ways to be independent, as well as it can be tied into everyday needs such as learning to tie shoes or perform bathroom duties alone.
Art brings people together
Many children who are living with a disability have learned to feel comfortable in their own bodies and have no trouble being social. However, there are some who find it difficult to make friends or to feel like they are part of a group, and that’s where the arts come in. Being creative can bring people together, whether it’s by working on a collaborative painting or playing an instrument with a group. This is a great way to introduce your child to social skills and help her feel comfortable and safe.
Helping a child with a disability get involved in the arts is one of the best ways for you to teach her about self-confidence and how to express herself in a positive way, and it can help her learn how to interact socially, how to cope with stressors, and how to apply that creativity to real- world situations. Talk to your child about the best ways for her to get creative and try some new things together. With a good plan, you and your child can make the arts a part of everyday life.