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art21The process of creating art is a wondrous thing.  It offers a place to roam freely in a way that is intuitive with no boundaries while offering  concrete processes and outcomes.   Art has the power to transform.  This is true of actual art work that is created as well as the transformation of the person creating it.  Art equals transformation.

An artist who is engaged and creating is experiencing:

  • Intense and focused concentration on the present moment.
  • A loss of self consciousness.
  • A sense of personal control.

Check out 4 ways art impacts behavior – for kids with special needs this experience can lead to:

Expanded Confidence

A little self esteem goes a long way.   That simple abstract design created by your child means a lot.  It is the starting point for more great things to come.  There is no right or wrong and this is the place a kid who is dealing with frustrations and stress every day gets to start to run free and explore without limitations.   Art is also the place where many undiscovered talents are discovered and can become showcased.   Kids can learn what success feels like and how it feels to have it showcased.  They learn to be proud and treat their work and themselves with respect when they see others treating their art work with respect.

Stronger Ability to Self-Regulate Feelings

Once kids are taught fundamental art skills they can learn to experiment and guide themselves through the creative process.  They figure out what works and what doesn’t work with art materials.  They  change things that don’t look right or decide they want  something to look a different way and adjust the art material or design.  They learn to stop, think, try something, and if that doesn’t work try something else.   This is how creating works.  It is part of the process and they learn to get less upset about the “frustration” of it.  This is also how life works.   This transfers to fewer emotional outbursts and reactions in other parts of life.

Increased Ability to Deal with New Situations

Art and the process of creating means trying things that are new and different. This means developing a tolerance for dealing with unknowns and the uncomfortable feeling of having to adapt and try new things.    If it doesn’t work they learn to adjust it or accept it.   They do this by developing and trusting their instincts.  It becomes familiar and they learn how to deal with it and not become upset about it.  This means less anxiety and easier transitions.

Increased Sense of Calm

When we get our feelings and frustrations “unloaded” somewhere that is constructive we are less likely to unload in a place that is not appropriate.  This is especially true for kids with special needs.  With art kids can “unload” their feelings and frustrations.  It can be whatever they need it to be.  It might be a place to literally express what they feel or the act of working with art materials that provides distraction.