Learning More About Arts Integration For Special Needs Students

For the past four years, Urban Arts Partnership’s Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE) program has provided professional development for educators and teaching artists exploring the multiple benefits of arts-integrated curriculum for special needs-students. A recent article in EdWeek describes the program and its impact on classrooms across NYC.

EASE is designed to improve student achievement in the areas of communication, socialization, academic learning, and arts proficiency through integrated, arts-based approaches. The EASE methodology exposes teachers to skills and strategies across multiple-art disciplines – music, dance, visual arts, and theater. See an EASE classroom in action here.

EASE is intended to be integrated with academic curriculum, as an entry-point to student engagement. Though in special education classrooms student engagement and learning objectives also include social-emotional growth, such as eye-contact, turn taking, and self-regulation. Teaching artist, Nancy Volante, described such success in her EASE classroom: “The classroom was transformed. We were all engaged in the self-expression of three non-verbal students with autism who were clearly communicating and socializing through their gestures, movements, and facial expressions.”

Urban Arts Partnership is excited to share the EASE methodology with the wider special education community through the upcoming Summer Institute (Augut 7th-9th in NYC), a three-day training for educators and teaching artists. Register here!

The EASE methodology was developed through a five-year research grant funded by the US Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) program.


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