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Inspiration [Question]

Autism in Art

Started on Sep 25, 2012 by lhARTz
Last post on Feb 08, 2013

I have 2 level-3 autistic 5th graders. One student is decent with art, understands color mixing, can draw well (like a 1st grader would). The other student is more musically inclined and can't focus on anything art related at all. I'm at a loss with what to do with these boys that is actually worthwile. Advice?

3 Keeps, 0 Likes, 7 Comments

  • She_paints 09/25/2012 at 07:14pm
    Students surprise me all the time. Do the students have an aide? Does the student like to paint? It isn't about the mixing or having a recognizable image. Diagram the parts of a brush. The details seem to delight my students. I do have a basket of various Sandpapers for smoothing hardwood scraps. Fine black markers (Flair by Papermate) provide contour lines. Sometimes a simple repeated phrase stated by me "a controlled, smooth line" steadies the ship. It does take time to determine their interests and what they can focus on. I look forward to other replies.

  • jfrisco 09/27/2012 at 04:25am
    If the boy likes music, music is art. Perhaps speak with his parents about providing a set of personal headphones and take a Kandinsky approach to his learning. He could provide his interpretation of visual art through various media in which you make available to him. It may fascinate him to "show" what he is hearing. You may have to model this experience at first. You can link the elements of art to this unit - ie. types of line... is this part of the composition expressing a solid, thick, vertical line or a curvy, lightweight, diagonal line? Does this composition make you think of warm colors or cool colors. What shapes would best illustrate this song? Geometric or organic? "Show me what this song LOOKS like". Just an idea. :)

  • lhARTz 09/27/2012 at 09:02am
    I LOVE your suggestions so far, but it's hard to explain these two students. They both come with an aide. They only listen to simple direct instructions. Such as "Draw a circle." Even something as simple as that takes multiple prompts, repeted instruction for them to actually do it.

    The music lover sings out loud all day, repeting songs he's heard on TV the night before at home. He doesn't speak at all unless repeating a song or a prompt from his aide. I like the music/line drawing thing though. I might have to try that.

    The other student is a bit higher developmentally. He is good at copying what he sees, especially cartoons. He will speak a little without prompts, but still needs many simple single step instructions. He HATES music, always covers his ears, occasionally starts screaming when he thinks it's too loud or he doesn't like the sounds.

    They come with their regular class and do variations of the regular 5th grade art lessons with their aide's help. Then, I have 25 minutes/week where I see only these two boys at the same time. How do I create something meaningful for each of them in that time frame when they themselves are worlds apart developmentally and personally?

  • remembertheshadows 09/27/2012 at 09:34am
    HOW? Lots of experiements on your part.

    Try repeating the topic with as few of words as possible.
    "Slow, controlled line." Example: Outline my hand on the white board drawn within the 'vertical format' of a rectangle, I slooooowwwwwwly worked the line over the fingers in a curved line. One "slow curved line" after another. Gradually filling in the 'positive space'.

    ANd another??? I have the students hug their elbows. When they have the urge to emit a song, sound or verbal message they are to squeeze their elbows. Stretch your arms out in front of yourself. Then fold your(I almost wrote ur) across your stomach. (Have them do it with you as you do it again.) 80% of the time it works so I can finish the instuctions.......Builds confidence by reinforcing their control. Anxious to read more.

  • remembertheshadows 09/27/2012 at 09:52am
    All students, K-8, have looked through THE ARTIST's TOOLKIT.

    ESE Students as well. Their aid can monitor the mouse while you review glue and quilling techniques with the other student. Curling paper using a quilling tool(hefty metal, safe and 3" long) is a lot of fun and QUIET.

  • jfrisco 09/29/2012 at 07:37am
    Have you tried weaving? It is a great manipulative. I will continue to think of ways you could use the smaller amount of time with them more effectively...

  • fakemidnight 02/08/2013 at 06:49am
    I find that with students with special needs abstract art provides the greatest success. Or explore materials, we shouldn't force a perfect product from these students. Give them an opportunity to make choices and mistakes. Use one lesson plan and taylor the project to each students ability. Of course I'm lucky and see all my students with special needs in a 6:1:1 class.