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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

Learn how to adapt an art activity for kids with disabilities

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

We understand that children with disabilities can have unique needs when it comes to art. Finding the right resources to help them explore their creativity and interests may require some extra thought and effort. At Art by Samantha Badrock, we are dedicated to providing art resources that are tailored specifically to children with disabilities and we are going to show you how you can adapt the art lesson for kids with disabilities can thrive when participating in art.

In this blog post, we aim to provide parents, disability carers, and art teachers with helpful tips on how to adapt art for kids with disabilities.

Here are some ideas to get you started...

1. Get to know the child’s interests and abilities.

Understanding the child’s interests and abilities is the first step to adapting art for them. Do they prefer drawing, painting, or sculpting? Do they have the physical strength to use certain art materials? Asking the child and their carers about the child’s interests, strengths, and weaknesses will help you tailor future art activities to the child.

2. Use adapted art materials.

There are a variety of adapted art materials available that are designed specifically for children with disabilities. For example, adapted paintbrushes with larger handles are easier to grip, while adapted pencils with wider ends are easier to hold. Adapted art materials make it easier for children with disabilities to express themselves in art. You don't have to always seek these adapted materials from a shop either, you can easily build out a paintbrush grip with clay, pompoms or other sensory things.

3. Utilise technology.

Technology can be a great tool for adapting art for children with disabilities. Many apps and websites have been designed specifically for children with disabilities to help them engage with art activities. You can also use tablets and styluses to give children the ability to draw or paint without having to use a traditional art tool. This may help children with sensory preferences. Some children might not like the feeling of paint on their skin, or they might not like to get graphite on their hands when drawing.

4. Offer tactile tools.

Incorporating tactile elements into art activities can be beneficial for children with disabilities. Tactile tools, such as textured paper and clay, can be used to stimulate the senses and give children the opportunity to explore their creative side. I also like to provide fidget seats and add fidget things into pencil and paintbrush grips.

5. Utilise visual supports.

Visual supports, such as pictures and symbols, can be used to help children with disabilities understand art activities better. Visual supports can also help to reduce confusion and anxiety. Visual supports can also include modifying a picture template to have a reduced number of colour transitions, shades or colour palettes. Like the diamond painting we adapted here.

We hope that these tips will help you to adapt art activities for children with disabilities. At Art by Samantha Badrock, we are committed to helping all children engage with art, regardless of their abilities. Check out our website for more resources and information on adapted art.

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