How to Encourage a Child with Learning Differences to Enjoy the Arts

Guest Article by Kristin Louis

There are many types of learning differences, including dyslexia, autism, and ADHD. Children diagnosed with any of these are just as capable as their neuro-typical peers of enjoying abstract concepts, such as arts. However, they may not always have the same opportunities. Today, we share a few tips on how to encourage children with learning differences to enjoy all the arts the world has to offer.

Figure 1 Photo by Allan Mas on

Take them to a museum.

There are fewer places in the United States more captivating than Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. This expansive campus features many tech-related exhibits, but there are also artistic expressions scattered throughout. Through January 16, 2023, for example, the museum features The Art of the Brick, an immersive Lego® building exhibit that showcases Vincent van Gogh, da Vinci, and more in tiny plastic pieces. In this case, art and science come together to strengthen lessons in each.

Figure 2 Credit: The Art of the Brick Caption: This is Nathan Sawaya’s replica of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  The replica consists of 3,493 LEGO® bricks.

Show them their strengths.

Children with learning differences are often taught to focus on their weaknesses. However, they may have hidden strengths that can help them thrive when immersed in the arts. According to ADDitude, people with ADHD are usually willing to take risks, which might be a great trait for a budding ballerina or gymnast needing physical exercise. A young person with autism may have the ability to hyperfocus on things like drawing or painting, which also double as great stress relievers.

Create a space.

Sometimes, children do not appear to have an interest in artistic endeavors because they simply don’t have a space made ready to do so. Consider turning one of your spare bedrooms or flex spaces into an art studio. You can do things like add built-in shelves and extra lighting to stay organized. Even if you don’t have the budget for permanent changes, Crafty Shacks notes that simple things like pegboard and hanging baskets will go a long way toward keeping your stuff neat and tidy. If you do opt to change the structure of your home to accommodate the arts, keep up with your expenses, which may help your home appraise higher should you sell later down the line.

Make it social.

Kids with special needs and learning differences may not want to engage in artistic endeavors because they’ll feel different than everyone else. Help them be more comfortable by networking with other local families who are impacted by the same learning differences. If you have enough interest, you may be able to contact one of your local art councils or venues for a special class just for your student group.

Fifure 3 Photo by Yan Krukov on

Turn it into an income.

If you find that you have a passion for teaching your own children the arts, consider doing so for others. It takes a special type of person to teach children with learning differences, and this is a valuable way to benefit your family, spend time with your children, and refine your skills. To begin, form an LLC in Illinois, which legitimizes you as a business while providing some tax benefits. This fairly simple process can be completed online through a formation service, which has state-specific resources and won’t cost as much as an attorney.

Encouraging a child with learning differences to engage in the arts takes a bit of work on our end as parents. However, it’s a challenge that will have far-reaching benefits for years to come, and there may be some financial perks if you modify your home with an added flex space or turn it into a career.

In The Garden City is the blog for you if you want to keep up with music, arts, libraries, museums, and works in and around the Chicago area.

Figure 4 Photo by Pixabay on

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Kristin Louis is a former advertising copyrighter and has two rambunctious boys, 10 and 7 years of age.  She created the blog to share her experiences about the trials and tribulations of parenting.


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