SEN - Art - The magic of art

28th September 2012 at 01:00

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I was asked by a head to work with a pupil who had become withdrawn and non-communicative after losing a parent.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.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now