How Art Helps Children with Learning Disabilities

(Guest article written by Lillian @

How Art Helps Children With Learning Disabilities

Children with learning disabilities can benefit greatly from getting involved in artistic hobbies, as they provide an outlet for expression. Studies show an improvement in social skills, communication, and fine motor capabilities in kids who take up art or music. The arts also provide a way to reduce stress and anxiety. Whether it's structured art therapy classes, ballet, drawing, or music, the arts can do wonders for a child's overall well-being.

Children with the following might enjoy the safe space that the more artistic fields provide:

  • Visual and hearing disabilities

  • Attention deficit disorders

  • Physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy

  • Autism spectrum disorders

  • Dyslexia

  • Sensory processing disorders

  • Anxiety and stress

The Various Art Fields and How They Help

The arts is a varied field and includes painting, crafts, pottery, music, dance, drama, and more. A youngster's disability might affect their self-confidence and how they see their ability to do something. This could lead them to a lack of emotional expression and communication.

Here are a few common activities considered beneficial to children:

  • Pottery. Working with clay helps to improve fine motor skills by exercising hands and arms, and it improves motor skills.

  • Crafting. Cutting, sticking, and arranging can help organize a child's mind and assist with pattern recognition and decision-making. Add dough and a variety of textures to your crafting.

  • Design. From fashion design to computer and building, design teaches a young one patience, critical thinking, and creativity.

  • Ballet and dance. These disciplines can help a child with self-control, patience, strength, and grace. Dance also teaches kids about coordination and how to follow instructions.

  • Drama. A child can express their emotions through acting and playing, where they can pretend to be someone else.

  • Painting. Those who are neurodivergent or have disabilities can express themselves through painting, particularly finger painting. It's suggested that youngsters paint with one color and a few easy-to-grip tools at first.

  • Music. Music is a fantastic therapeutic aid, especially for children on the autism spectrum. Music also helps with developing social skills.

Helping Children Get Involved in the Arts

A good first step is to determine a child's level of interest in a particular hobby before committing to one. Often, an educational psychologist can assess a child's needs if their disability comes with limitations.

The deciding factor is if a child visibly enjoys an activity, then it should be encouraged. If they don't express an interest in any of the arts, consider encouraging them toward something that you think they will enjoy. It's important to remember that children with disabilities learn through demonstration and repetition.

Creating an Art Sanctuary in the Home

Find a place in your home, such as a section of the basement if it's finished, that's a safe space for your child to indulge in arts and crafts. Let them explore their emotions through art and express their creativity. Consider building a play area where they can explore — it will also add value to your home.

Encouraging Expression Through Art

Children with learning disabilities can be more sensitive to their environment and may benefit from an outlet. Through art, they can learn how to calm and focus their mind, express themselves, and learn how to deal with the world around them.

Visit MoveAbility for advice about inclusive activities online and in Guelph, Canada, for children with disabilities.