How You Can Help a Loved One With Learning Disabilities Engage in the Arts

Arts bring joy, broaden the mind, and even heal. According to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, art therapy aids emotional, cognitive, and social development for people with learning disabilities. It instills self-confidence and busts stress.  Assisting your loved ones in getting involved with the arts may well be the best gift you ever give them. And, fortunately, art is innate. You just need to make it accessible as opposed to teaching it. Independent Living Nova Scotia shares how you can ease your loved ones with learning disabilities into the arts. 

Provide exposure 

The arts are numerous and varied in scope and expression. Consider providing your loved one with a simple introduction to the most popular kinds. If possible, arrange an in-person visit to a local museum, art gallery, or other similar institution. It will spark their interest and get them inspired. If that’s not possible, you can find art-related videos and books online. Further, some museums and artsy places offer virtual tours that are almost as good as visiting in person.  

Help them hone in on art they love 

Once you’ve provided a thorough introduction to what’s out there, you should help them choose something they want to do right now. You will, of course, have to consider their personal strengths and weaknesses, and the type of learning disability they have. PsychCentral lists the common types for reference. Unless the learning disability is especially profound, complex arts and crafts like painting, photography, and theater are all accessible. Otherwise, music and drawing may be good options.   

Upgrade your home for an art space 

Your loved one deserves a quiet, secure place where they can engage in their chosen art in peace. You could fix up an under-utilized area of your home like a basement or spare room for this purpose. Hang up uplifting quotes, pictures, and paintings, and make them comfortable with supporting furniture. Also, keep in mind that any cosmetic and functional upgrades you make could up your home’s resale price, so it’s a worthwhile investment in other ways too. Keep a running list of the changes you’ve made, and keep all of your receipts together so you can use them during the appraisal process.

Educate with home lessons or classes 

When your loved one is good at their chosen art or craft, they are more likely to pursue it. That’s where education comes in. It’ll arm them with the foundation they need to be good and get better. Lessons can be formal or informal, with the latter being the affordable option. KinderArt offers some excellent art activities for adults with learning disabilities. You can always get help from an organization when stuck. 


Hand them a smartphone or smart gadget

Technology can be your loved one’s best friend when it comes to learning art. Art, music, and related apps are a dime a dozen and allow your loved one to explore and experiment to their heart’s content without spending a lot of money. Further, every smartphone these days ships with an almost professional-grade camera. It’s an excellent way to get them into photography, giving you the option to upgrade them to a better camera down the road if they truly take to it.    

Consider the buddy system

Humans are social creatures. Getting your loved one involved with art will be that much easier if they had someone similar to share that experience with and learn from. This could be a single buddy you could pair them up with a couple of times a week or multiple buddies at once so they can engage in artsy activities like music, dance, and creative writing. 

Remember to be personally involved in your loved one’s exploration of art. Your presence will help them remain enthusiastic and upbeat about it all, and knowing someone cares about their progress will motivate them to try that much harder.    

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Independent Living Nova Scotia supports persons with disabilities through programs and services that promote independent living. Contact us today for more information! 902-453-0004