The Potential Role of the Visual Arts in the Lives of Children with Reading Disabilities.
Wall, Eden Victoria.
- Abstract: This thesis explores the central and beneficial role that the visual arts can play in the lives of children with reading disabilities. Involvement in the arts, especially when introduced during childhood, can positively contribute to these children's lives in a variety of ways, ultimately contributing to the development of high self-esteem. First, participation in the arts can lead to he... read moreightened competence in other domains, which may be because the arts allow children to access material in novel ways more suited to their abilities (Wilhelm, 1995). Accessing knowledge in a more comfortable and effective way may help children with reading disabilities develop positive associations with learning, feeling that they as capable as their peers. Second, children with reading disabilities are able to use artistic and creative talents, which may be part of these children's inherent abilities, making it possible for these children to express themselves without being hindered by or reminded of their deficits (Wolff & Lundberg, 2002). Therefore, participation in the visual arts utilizes and underscores talents that may be natural and come easily to these children. As a result, involvement in visual arts can help enhance self-esteem among a population of children who are at particular risk of developing feelings of inferiority and inability (Harter, Whitesell & Junkin, 1998).For these very reasons, an introduction to the visual arts to children with reading disabilities is important during the early school-age period. At a time in which children with reading disabilities first are confronted with their learning differences, the visual arts can uncover and expose the talents that these same children often have, helping them to develop self-esteem that they will carry with them throughout the remainder of their lives. Of course, not every child with a reading disability will become a famous artist; however, this thesis argues that, no matter the scope of ability or talent that the child carries, the visual arts have the potential to change these children's lives for the better.read less