Jan Hello, and thank you for joining us today for the series Express Yourself: Accessing the Visual Arts-Part 2 . My name is Jan Rogers and I am the Program Director of the AT Center at OCALI. OCALI is the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence. We serve families, educators and professionals working with students with low incidence disabilities and autism. Our mission is to build state- and system-wide capacity to improve outcomes through leadership, training and professional development, technical assistance, collaboration and technology.
Mary Jo And I am Mary Jo Wendling, the Director of the Toy and Technology Library at Nisonger UCEDD and an occupational therapist at Dublin City Schools. The Toy and Technology Library is a lending library for families of children with disabilities housed at the Nisonger Center on the campus of the Ohio State University. Our mission is to enhance development and play skills of children with special needs, and to provide support and resources regarding computer technology, interactive play and adapted toys. This service is available free to families of children with special needs.
Mary Jo In part 1 of this series we learned about the various areas of the visual arts that can be adapted for students with disabilities. They include the tool, medium, surface and process. We identified and described ways to adapt the various components of the visual arts and we also discussed why it is important to increase access to the visual arts for students with disabilities. If you missed that webinar you can see an archived version of the webinar at OCALI on Demand found on the OCALI main homepage at www.ocali.org
Mary Jo As we mentioned in part 1 of this webinar series we believe that active art participation is possible for all students regardless of disability type or severity.
Mary Jo In part 2 of this series we will look more specifically at the modifications, adaptions and assistive technologies that may support students with certain types of specific challenges such as physical access, cognitive, communication, sensory, autism, and low vision/blindness.
Jan Some students need sensory supports because they possess one of the following characteristics: They may be 1.) sensitive to sensory experiences, 2. seek to fulfill a sensory need for more intense input, or 3.) have difficulty regulating their response to sensory input. The slide demonstrates the potential range of sensory functioning of individuals with examples of intervention supports that may address their specific sensory needs. For student’s with a low threshold or tolerance for sensory input they may be resistive to touching and interacting with the medium directly. CLICK The first column in the chart shows potential intervention strategies for these individuals. Sometimes barriers such as gloves and long handled utensils are needed so they can tolerate and are willing to access the medium. Sometimes limiting the variety and intensity of the sensory characteristics can also be helpful. This may include using just one or two colors, limiting materials that have strong odors, or allowing for simple design options. Social stories or narratives may also be helpful in priming students for art experiences. Providing a written story that outlines what to expect prior to participation can sometime help to reduce anxiety and fears. Remember for individuals who have sensory sensitivities what seems to be relatively benign sensory input to you and I can elicit extreme anxiety and fear in those individuals. It is always best to encourage their active participation in art activities by providing appropriate supports. The next few slides show some examples of supports for those with low sensory thresholds.
Jan This is a Buddah Board by Enabling devices. This allows a child to create art using water and any brush that may work best for the child. Because the medium is water it is ideal for those students who are not tolerate of the odors created by paints and other medium.
Jan Often times those student with significant sensory sensitivities have difficulty engaging in the materials. The preschooler in the slide was very concerned about painting with a sponge. He was concerned he would get paint on his hands. He was so concerned that he cried and resisted participating in the activity. One of the solutions we tried was to clip a clothespin to the sponge to move his hand further from the paint. Once we made this adaption he was able to complete the project without assistance. You can also see he has some defined boundaries to his workspace with the use of a tray. He was also concerned about other students being in his space so by defining the space he felt confident that he would not be bothered. Often times other students who invade others space are those students who are the sensory seekers. They may not know where their workspace ends and others begin so the use of visual boundaries can be useful for those individuals also.
Jan The second column of the chart shows intervention strategies for individuals with a high sensory threshold. These individuals will often seek out multiple means of gaining as much sensory input as possible. They typically will not hesitate to engage with art materials, but may have difficulty with appropriate engagement that is also safe and purposeful to an end product. These students may explore materials with all senses including taste and smell. These behaviors may be hazardous in regards to some art materials. They may also be unaware of their boundaries and the boundaries of others as mentioned earlier. Finally they may find it difficult to focus on creating a product because they are so engaged in the exploration of the medium. They may need supports to help them work through the steps and sequence for task completion.
Jan Here is an example of a book that might be shared with a student who has sensory seeking behaviors such as exploring art medium orally. This book could help to remind the student that they are not supposed to eat the playdoh. It goes on to give the student examples of what they instead might do with the playdoh.
Mary Jo When supporting students with cognitive and/or communication challenges, there are a wide range of strategies you may want to implement. Visual supports are a successful strategy for many different types of students, including those with cognitive challenges. Often times, we can find ways to simplify the steps of an art project, without losing the overall concept or experience. Likewise, limiting the number of choices available within a project provides autonomy without being overwhelming for a student. As with all other aspects of a student’s school day, we will want to be sure and use the communication supports essential for the student’s participation and independence. Typically, your intervention specialist and speech pathologist are perfect supports to assist with this. These next few slides will provide some examples.
Mary Jo This mural was a large multi-step project completed over time. The art teacher structured tasks within each step that could be completed by this student. This is a great example of a group project where all students are actively involved. For example, even though the student with Down Syndrome could not safely handle the glue gun he was able to place caps in the correct position. This approach allowed the other students to see him as a capable and equal participant.
Mary Jo Here is the completed art project that was hung in the school hallway
Mary Jo Many times students with cognitive delays may need predictable and familiar materials so they can develop competencies and more freely explore the design aspects of projects. One art teacher keeps a supply of various art media or tools that are familiar to the students. This is an example of magnetic color cubes that might be used to create a design. These may also work well for students with tactile challenges, as well as a student with cognitive delays who may need repeated practice with the media.
Mary Jo Some students with cognitive challenges may also have difficulty remembering the steps of an activity or remembering what they have already completed of the task. They may benefit from visual supports as we mentioned earlier. While these can be in the form of picture supports and step-by-step instructions, visual supports may also be found in typical art tools. For example, this slide shows a typical art medium that provides a visual cue when applied. This type of glue stick is frequently found in art classes but did you ever consider that because it goes on purple it can help a student who needs a visual support to remember and identify where the glue has been applied. This can be a great cognitive memory support.
Mary Jo For those students who need communication supports you may want to customize a communication board to make choices regarding art and to prepare for the steps of a project. Just as in other topic specific communication boards, it can be as simple or as complex as necessary for the student based upon their understanding of vocabulary and needs within the environment and task.
Jan Students with autism may need many of the same supports needed by those with communication, cognitive, and sensory challenges already discussed. Additionally they may need supports to address differences in the social, behavioral, emotional and motor areas. The slide shows some of the general intervention strategies for students with ASD that may be used to support art participation. These supports may include the use of social narratives/stories to prepare students for the activities and expected behaviors during art. They may also need visual supports to help transition between activities needed to complete art projects. For example, some individuals may become so hyper-focused on completing steps with unrealistic precision that it may be necessary to help them move on to the next step when satisfactory or reasonable attempts have been made. Visual supports may help during these times, as well as for helping an individual to initiate participation in a project. Visual supports can help to demonstrate the starting points for a project and the steps needed for project completion. All of the sensory and communication recommendations mentioned in the previous slides can also be useful as these areas are often times challenging for individuals with ASD. An area of strength for individuals with ASD is often times visual skills. When motor skills can be supported through technology or other means visual strengths can often times be a real asset and sometimes an exceptionality for the creation of amazing art products. The special education teacher, OT, or SLP may be able to assist in selecting supports that may be beneficial to your student with ASD.
Jan This is an example of a social narrative that was written for a student who was having difficulty managing their behavior in art class. The narrative provides a blue print of acceptable behaviors for the student and helps to reassure the student about the general schedule of events that will occur during art. If you would like more information about the different types of social narratives and guidelines for constructing these you can visit the OCALI Autism Internet Module titled Social Narratives. This module provides information about social narratives, social stories ™, cartooning, comic strip conversations and more.
Jan This is an example of a social narrative that is provided in a video format. This social narrative addresses helping a student to understand the outcome of their work verses their expected outcome. This social narrative may also include a special interested for the student, which in this case may be animals. Sometimes tapping into the student’s special interest within the social narrative can make whatever message needs to be delivered to the student more meaningful. This is from the website AspergersSocialStories.com. Let’s take a look at the video.
Jan The play dough play book is an example of a variety of visual supports that have been assembled into a small book to demonstrate how play dough might be used by a student who can not initiate interacting with the medium independently.
Jan These visual supports show the student which tools are needed to compete the project and that they will need to sit in their chair while engaged in the activity. You might also notice in the picture that materials are provided with clear boundaries that might imply that this student either does not recognize their own boundaries or prefers to have clear boundaries for other students who may not recognize their boundaries.
Jan This slide shows more examples of physical barriers that may help to establish boundaries or provide order and sequence to activities.
Jan We talked a little bit about using special interests earlier to increase student engagement and interest in activities when we discussed the video social narrative. This is another example of capitalizing on a special interest. The art tools are animals that may make the act of using the tool more appealing to some students by capturing their special interest in animals
Jan To finish this section on art support for students with autism we wanted to share with you information about the Google Sketch Up Tool. The video will explain Project Spectrum that uses Google Sketch Up with individuals with autism. PLAY VIDEO HERE. There are currently two versions of Sketch-Up one is free and the other requires a purchase of a license however for k-12 many state edtech programs have opted into the state-wide licensing. K-12 educators can check the Google Sketch-Up site to see if their state is participating in the state-wide licensing at the web address provided on the slide.
Mary Jo We are now moving on to art supports for students who have physical challenges. There are many ways to adapt materials for the students who have physical challenges. Handles on standard art tools can be enlarged, they can be provided with alternate access tools or methods, surfaces and tools can be stabilized and media can be altered. For those with more complex motor challenges it will likely be necessary to look at their seating and positioning to be sure it allows the most use of their arms or other body parts for engagement in the art activities. For some limitation can be so severe that the use of a communication device may be needed so they can communicate and direct another to produce at least a portion of their desired artistic outcome. Occupational and physical therapists can provide help in determining the best modifications and solutions to assist those with physical limitations in access the arts.
Mary Jo This is an example of an adapted chair for a student who needed more support in sitting than was provided by the typical art room stools. There is also an easel that helped this student to see and reach the artwork more effectively.
Mary Jo These stamps provide an embedded handle and allow a student to create a specific shape of their choice.
Mary Jo The stamps in this picture were custom made with wooden handles and plexiglass. Various shapes made from different materials or cookie cutters are then velcroed or glued onto the plexiglass to complete the stamp.
Mary Jo Here we see a number of different types of art tools that might be considered for applying paint rather than just the standard paintbrush. Some have different types of handles and others have different types of applicators. Some can even provide a bit of physical support because they are roll on applicators.
Mary Jo Again here are a number of different types of tools to apply paint. There are eye droppers, stamps with different types of handles, sponge applicators, and long handled specially adapted tools.
Mary Jo Here is a selection of adapted scissors. Most of the scissors pictured are squeeze scissor that require only the pressure of closing the hand to activate. The individual just needs to be able to relax the hand for the scissors to self-open.
Mary Jo Utensil holders can assist individuals who have difficult manipulating tools within their hands to assume a functional grasp of the tool. With the utensil positioned upright it is often times easier for the individual to grasp and begin using the tool. Holders are also useful for individuals who have coordination challenges and tend to knock tools onto the floor accidentally or out of reach. Tool holders can often be stabilized or permanently attached to a surface to make a secure location for tools to be stored.
Jan Sometime individuals with more severe challenges may need switch activated art tools. As you might notice some of the pictured items are not what you might consider art tools. You may notice the Mr. Potato Head vibrator and Big Bird car. But in looking closer you should see that both have been adapted in two different ways. First they have been adapted with either Velcro or moldable plastics that allow the toy to hold a writing or drawing utensil, And second, each of the toys has also been adapted for switch access. Both adaptions are fairly simple if you have a battery-operated toy that moves in some way once turned on with a single on/off switch.
Jan Here are some commercially available products that are switch accessible and allow students with significant physical challenges to participate in a variety of different types of art projects with a switch.
Jan In addition to adapted tools for direct interaction with art medium there are also software programs with accessibility features such as switch and other types of alternate access that can be utilized to create digital works of art. Clicker 6 is one of the products that has these features. Within the Clicker 6 program are built-in paint and drawing tools to allow students to create their own artwork.
Jan Intellitools Classroom Suite also has paint and drawing tools embedded within the program that allow switch users to create art independently. The slide shows an example of a coloring activity that could be completed with a switch
Jan The following two slides are pieces of artwork created by students at a local elementary school. This first slide shows a piece that was created by attaching a canvas to a spinner with a small piece of Velcro then dipping the student’s hand in paint and letting the student drag the hand across the canvas while it spins.
Jan The artwork in this slide was created using an adapted bristle brush and foam brush with a switch activated toy.
Jan This next series of slides is from the website Accessing the Artist Within. This is a project of the Anne Carlsen Center in North Dakota and is directed by Mark Coppin, Assistive Technology Director. This is a project that highlights the use of assistive technologies to provide access to the arts for children with disabilities. They have a nice online gallery that showcases some of the work with descriptions that indicate how the pieces were created. There are many creative ideas to be found in the descriptions. The online gallery can be found at www.accessingtheartistwithin.com. Let’s take a look at some of the pieces from the gallery.
Mary Jo Now we are going to look at adaptions for those with visual limitations and blindness. The use of enlarged and magnified work surfaces can be of assistance for those with low vision. Additionally considering the contrast between media and surfaces may be useful. Providing tactile or hands on experiences directly with the media such as clay or paint and providing auditory cues with shakers that dispense the media can be useful for those with low vision or blindness. Tactile labeling of tools, surface borders, media, using textures, Braille, puffy paints, glue and yarn can also be helpful.
A vision specialist should be consulted to assist in identifying appropriate modifications and adaptions that would be utilized across the curriculum including with art activities.
Mary Jo This slide shows some tools that provide a higher contrast between the surface and medium, provide a larger stroke, or different types of tactile feedback.
Mary Jo The following website provides many different resources that may be useful when planning art activities for individuals with visual impairments. This a really great resource that you might want to spend some time looking at.
Mary Jo We are now going to view a movie that provides an overview of the many varied possibilities for adapting art experiences for those who are blind.
Mary Jo Finally, Project Access: National Data Base of Accessible Cultural Institutions provides a searchable database of accessible and inclusive public spaces and programs for people with disabilities and their families. Art, science, history and children’s museums, zoos, botanical gardens, national parks and historic sites, sports arenas, theaters, and other cultural centers are featured.
Jan This concludes the webinar. Thank you for attending the webinar series Express Yourself: Accessing the Visual Arts Parts 1 & 2. These webinars along with the resource lists of websites will be archived at OCALI on Demand found on the OCALI homepage. For additional information about assistive technology please visit the OCALI AT Center website.