3 Tips on Adapting Art Projects for Your Special Needs Child

color-445324_1280Art is a great medium for children to explore their creativity and express themselves without fear of doing it the ‘right or ‘wrong’ way. Some parents and teachers may shy away from doing traditional art projects with their special needs children or students because they find it difficult, but there is no need for this. With a few modifications, any special needs child can participate in art activities comfortably.


Comfortable Positioning: Modifying your child’s surroundings so that they can do their artwork comfortably is important if they have a physical disability. Some children will have no trouble sitting up, but others may need to work while lying on their stomachs. The main thing is to stabilize their position so that they are able to work with their hands easily. Make use of special chairs, swings, and even cushions and blankets to help prop them up. It is also helpful if all the art tools they will be using are within easy grabbing distance from them. You could try taping or tying down the art tools to the area where your child will be working in.


Use the Right Art Supplies: For children who have CP or other neurological conditions, they may have difficulty with their hand functioning. Try giving them thicker and heavier brushes, markers, or crayons to use, since they may be easier to grip. You could also consider using assistive devices to help them hold these tools in place. According to the teachers at Bright Hub Education, “Some children may need Velcro wrapped around to hold the brush or marker in place. Children with tremors or coordination problems will benefit from heavier art materials. They may also do well with a weighted cuff on their forearm, wrist or shoulders.” Play dough sculpting and finger painting are also great mediums you could try with your child!


Group Art Projects: It’s great for children to work on their own individual projects by themselves; however, try changing it up once in a while by making it a group activity! Invite your child’s brothers and sisters or friends to join in on the art fun. It can be very helpful when you put children with different levels of abilities together, especially if your child with special needs is unable to do certain parts of a project by themselves. Not only will they have fun expressing themselves, but they can also learn how to work with others! 



 Do you have any other tips for adapting art projects for special needs children? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to share this with your friends and family! :)


About the author

Natan Gendelman has written 274 articles for Enabled Kids.

Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke and acquired brain injury. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, a Toronto-based clinic whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives.

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