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Creative Techniques and Learning Disabilities
By: Jane Saeman
Many strategies for dealing effectively with learning disabilities include multi-sensory approaches. The thinking behind this is
simple: the more ways you give a person to remember something, the more chances they have of actually doing so. One approach
that works-particularly for the artistically inclined-is the use of creative techniques to relay and interpret academic information.
These techniques may include the integration of visual art (such as painting, drawing, or photography), literary art (such as poems,
short stories, or plays), music, or drama. Not only are these approaches entertaining for students, they also make use of different
areas of the brain, which promotes valuable cross-region connections.
There are two excellent sources on the subject, which are profiled below.
1. The Power of the Arts: Creative Strategies for Teaching Exceptional Learners, written by Sally L. Smith
The author of this revolutionary book is one of the country's foremost experts on working with learning disabled students. She's the
founder and director of Washington D.C.'s Lab School, an institution she created specifically for students with learning differences.
Smith is also a professor of education at American University and the mother of a child with scholastic difficulties.
All of these qualifications make her well-suited to providing parents, teachers, and other learning disability specialists with
information on the best techniques for working with special needs students. This book consists of interviews with faculty members of
the Lab School, who have found that incorporating art into their curriculum has made their lessons come alive for their students.
One example illustrates how sculpture can be used to teach students about geometric principles