Using “art” to engage our students and to teach new and very important skills

Art in the autism classroom has benefits both practically and emotionally.  The amount of skills gained during art lessons is endless.  From creativity, observation, taking-instruction to focus, discipline, perseverance and motor planning!  Art is important for the development of all children not just those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Teaching “creativity” means helping the child think “out-the-box”.  Teaching “observation” through art means that we are teaching our children to be aware of their surroundings.  To help them observe what colour or detail to use on a canvas.  To teach “self-expression” gives our children an opportunity to express their vision or dreams – to tell the world who they are! 

Art teaches “focus” a skill needed for studying and work.  During our art lessons the children learn to listen and apply techniques, while presenting their own “voice”.  Art teaches discipline, collaboration and perseverance and it helps build open-mindedness.  Art may help foster new ways of thinking for many children. 

Some young Autistic children may struggle with their fine motor skills, for which the simple act of guiding crayons over paper can render a huge improvement.  For older students Art can become a vocation!  A way to earn a living!  The value of art for those on the Autism Spectrum is endless.

Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.