Friday, July 27, 2012

Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts Part 24

photo of: Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts Part 24: Children with Special Needs Edition

Photobucket: Living Life Special Blog Carnival for Children with Special Needs

This post was written as a contribution to the Living Life Special Blog Carnival. The participating bloggers are sharing their experiences in parenting or teaching children with special needs.  Also included are posts on how to educate others about special needs.

WELCOME!! It's Fine Motor Friday! 
Fine Motor Leads to Fine Arts, the 24th Installment! 
Today I extend a special welcome to those of you participating and reading in the BLOG CARNIVAL focused on children with special needs. This is my first 'carnival' and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to participate and share from my vantage point. 

photo of: Debbie Clement meets her Fan Club Members: Children with Special Needs

A quick intro: I'm a 'music lady' that now travels to schools sharing my original children's songs as an Author-Illustrator, in that I've turned 3 of my songs into traditional picture book format. Prior to this recent 16 years of adventure under the banner "have guitar will travel" I worked at a private center for young children with special needs. I provided the art + music experiences there for all of the children. It was during those ten years at the Childhood League Center that I had the great good fortune to 'learn' from THE best therapists and teachers, children and parents. Many of my current school invitations originate due to this foundation chapter in my career.  

photo of: Children with Special Needs Meet Santa

One of my favorite sentiments is the African proverb "If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance." My professional career has been about helping children unable to talk, learn how to 'sing.' The same with helping those unable to walk, learning how to 'dance.' Everything that I know about children with special needs is that we must be able to meet them where they are. We must be ready to adapt each learning moment to suit their capabilities, to encourage and support moving forward.

For the last 23 weeks I've been exploring Fine Motor as it Leads to Fine Arts. I've shared numerous 'sign in' systems that I've observed during my travels, where children are encouraged to develop the skills necessary to write their names. These next photos are an amazing sign-in system used in a very special preschool to bridge the distance necessary to establish a framework for handwriting. 

Here is the 'bulletin board' that meets each student where they are today and encourages them to take one more step in the direction of literacy development. On the far left is the student named 'Ritwik' who can now write all 6 letters in their name using a wipe-off marker. Kirwan and Shrenik are able to take their marker and trace the letters of their name. Wyatt is able now to make a letter 'W' independently. 

photo of: Fine Motor Development System for Children with Special Needs

Now let's take a look at Kai upon arrival at school this morning. It's time to 'sign-in.' The necessary letters are laminated in order and designed with velcro fasteners. 

photo of: Fine Motor Development System for Children with Special Needs

Kai arrives and is expected first to trace the letters in order. Then to 'sign-in' Kai is expected to match the letters and 'write' out the name. Let the school day begin!!!!!! KUDOS to the hard-working teachers who have designed this system to adapt to the needs of each student.  

photo of: Fine Motor Development System for Children with Special Needs

photo of: Debbie Clement meets Fan and shares her Newest Picture Book
Sharing a special appreciation for fire trucks
I have any number of articles here that grow out of my travels. I think this next chart system (from the same setting as the handwriting images above) to help children with self assessment and personal calming is incredibly insightful. It is from an article filled with oodles of visual supports and cues that support children's development. Its really a must read for teachers and parents alike. It's filled with brilliant low tech insight from classrooms across the country.  

photo of: Self-Assessment for Calming Choices for Children with Special Needs

photo of: VISUAL Learning: Cues, Supports and Systems

If you only have time for one other article I would HIGHLY recommend reading about the lengths a pair of parents went to on behalf of their son and how my song "Lion Prowl" contributed to his first spoken word. Here's the link to this amazing and touching story. 

Life Lessons at the Conservatory
Yes. It is a Butterfly with Special Needs

-- Debbie --

***I am now an 'Amazon Affiliate. Whenever you click from my blog to go shopping there, you are supporting my retirement account and I've very grateful. I have done some 'window-shopping' for you to help get you started. 

Be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers who are contributing to the Living Life Special Blog Carnival.

Living Life Special: Teaching Children Compassion - Andie of Crayon Freckles recounts an encounter between her two children and a child with special needs.  Various activities are provided to help children develop compassion for others.

All Things Eyeron - Sylvia from Homeschooling Through Trials, Triumphs, and Tragedies shares a brief account of some experiences in the life of a younger sibling born into the family of a child with special needs.  

From Boredom to Hyper-Focusing - Leann from Montessori Tidbits shares how special needs includes children who are gifted, as they have their own special set of needs that must be addressed on a daily basis.

Beating the Loneliness of Special Needs - Kim from Tiaras & Bowties explores the loneliness that can accompany children, especially those with special needs as they journey into young adulthood.  Don't miss these quick tips to help your child beat those feelings of exclusion and rejection while boosting self-esteem

Is There a Child with Special Needs in the Classroom? - Former teacher and insightful author, Susan Case offers guidance on how to prepare students for a child with special needs in the classroom.  

One Thing You Should Know - Kim from The Little Stories writes about a mother of a child with autism shares the one that that all of us need to know - the one thing that will show her we understand her child is important and accepted.  

I Call You - Sandy from We Can Do All Things, talks about how having a child with special needs pushes a parent into action.  They quickly become not just a parent, but a therapist, medical researcher, teacher, advocate, and expert in their child's diagnosis.  They do things they never knew they could do, and be things they never knew they could do.  

Fine Motor Leads to Fine Art - Debbie Clement is a children's musician/song-writer, illustrator, author, and public speaker.  She also spent 10 years as a Resource teacher for young children with special needs.  Her article for the carnival examines Fine Motor Development and shares supportive observations for children with special needs on that topic.

Three Great Musical Projects For Kids Of All Abilities - World music performer, DARIA shares 3 easy crafts including rain sticks, oceans drums and really quiet rattles for musical fun that also promotes creativity and positive self-expression. Inclusive musical fun perfect for the whole family or neighborhood!


  1. I love your adapted handwriting technique! My daughter loves and responds to music. I will be checking out your other posts. I am also following you now!

    1. Sylvia, I'm so glad that you've found this idea!!! I was so impressed with how the students of varying needs each had their own 'method' designed specifically for them. Welcome aboard. Hope to offer you inspiration and encouragement.


  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your support and encouragement.



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