"Extra" thoughts about Lillian Brooks' article.
In the most recent blog post, Lillian Brooks from learningdisabilities.info reminded us that, we should not think of the arts as, "extra curricular" activities because they benefit the development of learning skills. Her informative article reminded me, that not only do art,dance,music,sewing and pottery benefit learning in general, but more specifically, help to advance speech/ language and occupational therapy goals.
Research by speech language pathologists, neurologists,educators and psychologists on the intersection of music, art, dance and language learning is well documented. Research related to children with speech/language and reading challenges has found that music helps with phonics and reading. Occupational therapists advance fine motor skills often by using sewing activities and play-dough to help achieve the goals they have for clients of all ages. Rigorous research quantifies the gains made by students participating in art, music, dance, and other art activities, but ask any parent what's on their fridge, or which videos they beem over the most, and it's likely to be dance, music, or art. As Lillian Brooks alluded to in her article, these skills benefit people as they age. An artist friend of mine told me that she begins her process by thinking about the names of the colors, and how the color's names relate to the feelings she wishes to portray in her art. My colleague Dr. Flora Holderbaum an audiologist, regularly recommends that children with auditory processing challenges participate in dance classes.
The overriding findings from the research are that participation in tasks such as music, dance and art enhance a person's abilities to learn language, understand multi-step directions, process language faster, motor plan better, and aid people in social participation. Further, participation in these activites help clients to catch up to same aged peers. Lillian Brooks' article is a wonderful reminder to add art to your life and the lives of your loved ones.