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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

Aligning our services with the National Art and Disabilities Strategy

In my research for the next blog article, I came across the National Art and Disability Strategy. I wondered if my services as providing art classes for kids with special needs align with it.

The strategy is extensive and has a lot of useful information about what can be implemented to help kids with disabilities actively engage in art. Here is what I learned:

The National Arts and Disability Strategy stands as a transformative force to foster inclusive education, unequivocally dedicated to dismantling barriers within arts education for children with special needs. In the context of inclusive arts education, particularly for children with special needs, the strategy's profound significance becomes evident. The arts serve not merely as a means of acquiring artistic skills but as a universal language facilitating self-expression, communication, and cognitive development. For children with disabilities, participation in arts education becomes a conduit for empowerment, self-discovery, and connections within the broader community.

The strategy's approach to adapting art programs is comprehensive, addressing the diverse needs of children with disabilities through a multifaceted lens. The introduction of sensory-friendly environments exemplifies this commitment, recognizing the unique challenges faced by children with sensory processing disorders. Soft lighting and tactile materials are deliberately utilized to create spaces conducive to artistic expression, fostering an environment that resonates with inclusivity.

Equally critical to the adaptation process is the provision of adaptive tools and materials within art lessons. These tools, ranging from larger brushes to easy-grip pencils and specialized equipment, play a pivotal role in empowering children with physical disabilities to actively participate in hands-on art activities.

The arts programs also embrace multimodal instruction within arts education. The strategy advises to using various instructional modes, including visual aids, auditory cues, and hands-on demonstrations, addresses diverse learning styles. This approach fosters a comprehensive and inclusive learning environment where each child, regardless of ability, can actively engage and understand the content.

Peer support systems further amplify the inclusive nature of art programs by fostering collaboration among students. The implementation of successful buddy systems within inclusive art programs exemplifies this principle, creating an environment where mutual support flourishes. This collaborative ethos not only enhances the artistic learning experience but also aligns with the broader social inclusion goals of the National Arts and Disability Strategy.

Recognizing the importance of an individualized approach, the strategy talks about the use of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). These IEPs are meticulously tailored to specific needs, ensuring that every child can actively participate in art programs. Whether through modified assignments, additional support from teaching assistants, or specialized equipment, the strategy's commitment to a personalized approach underscores its dedication to inclusivity at its core.

In running my art classes, I am committed to embodying the principles outlined in the National Arts and Disability Strategy. Inspired by its transformative approach, my classes prioritize inclusivity, recognizing the unique needs of each child. Sensory-friendly environments are thoughtfully crafted, with soft lighting and tactile materials fostering an atmosphere where artistic expression knows no bounds. I provide adaptive tools, from easy-grip pencils to specialized equipment, ensuring that children with physical disabilities actively engage in hands-on art activities.

Moreover, embracing multimodal instruction, my classes cater to diverse learning styles, integrating visual aids, auditory cues, and hands-on demonstrations. Peer support systems are not just encouraged but integral, creating an environment where mutual support flourishes, enhancing both artistic learning and social inclusion. Understanding the significance of individualized accommodations, I work closely with each student, implementing personalized strategies based on their unique needs, echoing the commitment of the National Arts and Disability Strategy.

If you're interested in enrolling in an art class in Wangaratta or Benalla, Victoria, and experiencing the transformative power of inclusive art education, feel free to contact me at Together, create without boundaries.

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