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ERIC Number: EJ1060399
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0004-3125
Beyond Accommodations: Designing for Nonverbal/Nonauditory Learners in the Inclusive Art Room
Wexler, Alice; Luethi-Garrecht, Aleánna
Art Education, v68 n2 p15-21 Mar 2015
The ability to verbalize--and therefore think and learn abstractly--has conditioned people to see the world in logical patterns. People are trained to do so by the wiring of the neurologically typical (neurotypical) brain and the increasing complexity of the environment that shapes it. Public schools are also designed for students with neurotypical brains who are verbal, auditory learners. They are the learners who are rewarded with recognition and good grades (Kohn, 1999), and who teachers have in mind when they write their curricula. Children who are not neurotypically wired do not perceive the world in a unified way. Once in school, the inability to self-organize one's space and mind leads to frustration and failure, because information is usually presented for auditory learners in a sequential and logical spatial pattern (Wexler, 2009). Autists and children with other learning disabilities have difficulty in interpreting, analyzing, and understanding (Levine, 2002). Most students will not experience the frustration and confusion of their nonverbal/ nonauditory peers mainstreamed into the regular art room. In this article, the authors query what might be the optimal learning experience for diverse thinkers. What can be done to offset inequality in an art classroom meant to be inclusive but often remaining uninviting, inaccessible, and exclusive? How might attention to the design of the human-built environment and diverse modalities democratize an art room of students who have different ways of knowing? This article is organized around these questions in the following way. First, as background, the authors discuss common notions about autism that are often based on medical diagnoses. Second, they include the growing body of narratives written by autists. Third, they examine how the choices of art studio furniture and equipment are made, often without awareness of diverse physical and cognitive needs of students. In addition, the authors offer suggestions from autists that might assist such decision making.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A