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Guest Post: How To Help A Child With A Learning Disability Get Involved In The Arts

November 5th, 2018

 

Photo via Pixabay by EvgeniT

Many parents struggle with getting their kids interested in different subjects; for some, it’s math or science, while others have a hard time relating to the arts. All types of learning are important for kids, but for children who are living with a disability, being able to express feelings and ideas through creative endeavors is essential. That’s why it’s so important to help your child get interested in the arts, whether it’s dance, music, drawing or painting, or theater.

 

Many children who are diagnosed with a learning disability simply need to find different ways to take in information or to get their ideas across. Creative pursuits of all kinds can help your child find new forms of expression, reduce stress and anxiety, and learn how to perform better in school. There are several ways you can introduce the arts to your child at home, and many of them are fun for the entire family.

Keep reading for some tips on how to help your child with a learning disability get involved in the arts.

 

Create a hobby room

Creating a space dedicated to arts, crafts, and other hobbies will help your child feel safe and comfortable, and will reduce distractions. Set up a table and get organized by using bins with deep drawers to hold glitter, crayons, paint, markers, scissors, glue, yarn, and pieces of fabric. If you’re able to utilize an entire room for hobbying, paint the walls with easy-to-clean glossy paint, or use chalkboard paint on one wall to encourage spontaneous creativity. Designate a special area just for displaying your child’s artwork so he’ll stay motivated to keep making things.

 

Get out the needle and thread

Sewing is a great pastime for kids; it’s a calm, quiet activity that requires focus and concentration, and it can help build up strength in both those areas. It also requires patience. Sewing and textile crafts will allow your child to get creative while learning how to practice mindfulness, which reduces stress and anxiety. As long as your child is old enough to work with needles and scissors, look for some projects he can do with fabric and thread. It doesn’t have to be a traditional sewing craft; for instance, you can have him draw a simple picture on a canvas and use a needle and thread to fill it in. For more great tips and resources on sewing projects, click here.

 

Give him a variety

Most kids like to have some variety when it comes to their hobbies, especially if they get bored easily. Look for several different kinds of creative activities and allow your child to try a few to see which ones he likes best. Some kids are great at making art but just aren’t that into it; others love music but aren’t sure if they would rather sing, play an instrument, or dance. Giving your child some creative freedom will allow him to find the thing that makes him feel most alive.

 

Make learning fun

Many kids with learning disabilities struggle in school because they feel bored or unchallenged by the curriculum, or because they are frustrated by their inability to comprehend the material. You can help make learning fun by incorporating creativity and educational lessons; for instance, let your child help you in the kitchen. Talk about measuring, chemical reactions, and following a recipe while baking cupcakes, then let him decorate the finished product any way he wants.

 

Millions of kids in the U.S. live with a learning disability, and not all of them are diagnosed. It can be difficult for most children to identify these issues in themselves, leaving them frustrated and unfulfilled in school. Helping your child find new ways to express himself will help him now and for years to come.

LearningDisabilities.info was created to offer information and understanding to parents of children with learning disabilities, as well as adults who are in need of continued support to succeed.

Getting Your Elementary or Middle School Aged Children Started Learning Spanish

November 17th, 2012

Guest post by Debbie Annett
Author of Spanish for You! – A Simple, Effective, Affordable Curriculum for Grades 3-8

You CAN give the GIFT of language. Parent or teacher, Spanish speaker or not, YOU ARE
ABLE to accomplish more than just vocabulary learning with your elementary and middle
school students. It just takes knowing a little about the language learning process and how to
do it.

The Language Learning Process
Language learning takes time and practice, much like learning to play an instrument or a sport.
Becoming fluent takes many years, unless your student(s) is in an immersion situation where
he/she is using Spanish with Spanish speakers for several hours every day.

However, most parents would like their children to become fluent by the time they are adults.
This means that you have many years to accomplish the goal. So, get your students started in
elementary or middle school. You can work on things steadily, over time, in a non-stressful
way.

If you are not a language teacher, knowing something basic about the language learning
process will help you should you decide to get started on your own. You can do this!

We can break language down into 2 elements, receptive and expressive. Receptive refers to
the language we receive and need to understand. That would be listening and reading.
Expressive refers to the language we express and use to make ourselves understood. That
would be speaking and writing.

When we first learn a language we learn the receptive piece. Think of babies learning their
first language. They come to understand all that they receive from those speaking around
them and slowly begin to express themselves. First they say words, then phrases, then more
over time. They learn the receptive piece first and then develop the expressive piece.

When teaching a language you want to provide students opportunities to read and listen, and
then slowly get them to write and speak. Their EXPRESSIVE language should be encouraged
first as words, then phrases, and then sentences.

And know this – speaking is the most difficult piece. Spoken fluency is the icing on the cake.
And that will come after many years of steady practice and study. YOU, as the parent or
teacher, are getting them started and preparing them for higher level learning in high
school and maybe college.

How to Do It
You know some basics about the language learning process. Now, how do you get started?

First, choose a curriculum/product that is:
1. easy to use – meaning it has a lesson guide or something you follow
2. can be used by a Spanish teacher or not, or for self-study
3. provides lots of audio, so you can hear what is in the book – important!
4. provides lots of self-checking practice
5. provides a variety of practice activities to develop listening, speaking, reading, and
writing skills
6. provides opportunities to practice with others – this means the product can be used by
individuals AND has the flexibility to be used with others.
7. does more than just teach vocabulary and phrases. You do not want your student(s) to
just memorize some things. You want your student(s) to learn how the language works.
8. economical – this is not a must, BUT there are some good ones out there that provide all
the above and accomplish A LOT without the big price tag! (Ahem, Spanish for You! is one!)

Second, decide on your approach and schedule.
1. If your approach is to create a class or be teaching in a school, then decide how much
time you have each week to devote to Spanish and how much outside of class you want
students to practice. For example, you might schedule a class 1 hour each week with 4 days
of homework, 10-20 min. each day. OR one class for 1/2 hour a week with 2 to 4 days of
homework, 10-15 min. each day, etc.

2. If your approach is at home for self-study, then decide how much time you have each
week to devote to Spanish. You may schedule your efforts 20 minutes 3 times a week, OR 30
minutes twice a week, etc.

NO MATTER YOUR APPROACH WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU KEEP IT STEADY.
If you “fall off the wagon” occasionally do not fret. Just pick back up and keep going. You want
to look at the big picture. If you have kept things going steadily 80% of the time, for example,
things will be fine. It is when you “fall off the wagon” most of the time that you may not get
results.

(A side note – It is ok to take summers off, or holiday time off. You will not ruin your efforts. During
summers it helps to do a little review here and there, just to stimulate the brain and keep those
connections going.)

As you can see, it is VERY possible for you to begin your student(s) learning Spanish even if
you do not have experience with the language or teaching. You just need to know some
basics about the language learning process and how to do it. You just need to work steadily
over time. Do that, and you will have something of value.

If you would like to learn more about the Spanish for You! curriculum, please visit us at
www.spanish-for-you.net.

I wish you all the best in your language learning efforts!