Most of us associate art with stress reduction and individual interest. But, for children with intellectual challenges, art could be a method to learn social skills, communicate, develop speech, language, integration of senses, locomotor coordination and a way to respectable place in the society.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, a neurological condition is caused due to short circuiting with the interconnections between different parts of the brain, resulting in impairments in social interaction, communication and imagination. A child with Autism could be anywhere on the spectrum from mild symptoms to a savant. Due to lack of social skills they, however, remain excluded from the society. Art has been found as a way to help them learn, develop cognition and sensory integration, visual perception and get included in the society. Drama, music, painting, dancing, poetry, figure making etc. are ways which are being used to help children with autism develop social skills, identify and develop their hidden potentials and interests to find a livelihood option, besides a list of emotional and physical benefits. Research reveals that children with Autism are usually good with computers. Though new in the Indian context, some experts are using technology in innovative ways to help children learn without constant support of a caregiver. The panel proposes to discuss various forms of art being tried with children with intellectual challenges taking a broad view, and share experiences.