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SEN - Art - The magic of art

What it's all about

I was just 11 when my younger brother Simon was diagnosed with autism and severe learning difficulties. Watching him struggle and the impact it had on our family drove me to become a special needs teacher, writes Sally Webb.

Later, when my own daughter was diagnosed with semantic pragmatic speech disorder and put on the autistic spectrum, I was inspired to set up Connect 2 Colour workshops for autistic children.

Piloted for the past year in schools, the programme helps autistic children to improve their fine motor and social skills. In the initial public workshops, observers were unable to distinguish between artwork produced by special educational needs (SEN) and non-SEN children.

There are 91 acrylic paint colours to choose from and a vast collection of resources not usually available in schools, such as small rocks, sequins and beads, with which to create the artwork.

Children squirt paint on the canvas and manipulate it with sticks. They can attach other features in any way they wish. The result is abstract but deeply personal. And they treasure it.

I was asked by a head to work with a pupil who had become withdrawn and non-communicative after losing a parent. The boy was locked in grief and unable to relate to others. But after using the technique in a therapeutic way, we made a breakthrough and I was able to guide him through the bereavement process.

What else?

Help pupils to understand autism with a resource pack from cathy1966. bit.lyautismribbon

Give pupils with SEN a colourful way to learn literacy and numeracy with 1castleschool's activities. bit.lycolourSEN.

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