The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

18 May 2014

Art of The Innocents

(This article describes the talk on Teaching Art to Special Needs Individuals given by Barbra Dans Paguia, Founder, Chairman of Board and Program Coordinator of Bridges Foundation, Inc. on 5 April 2014.)

“The Art of the Innocents” lecture revolves around one’s experience while teaching art to adolescent students with special needs. The students are currently enrolled at Bridges Foundation, Incorporated. The art program was started in March 2011 in consultation with lecturer’s mother and mentor, Araceli Limcaco-Dans, an Art Educator and one of the country’s known visual artists.

Standing in front of arworks

During the implementation of the art program, the lecturer came upon significant realizations she wishes to share with parents, teachers, relatives and friends of students (or young adults) with special needs. Through art activities, art education as a key subject can be a very effective tool in tapping many educational, behavioral and emotional goals of individuals with special needs.

When implementing art, our goal is to focus on what the creative activity does for the person, and not on the product. Copying or tracing the picture of a fish may look good, but it is mechanical. Copying or tracing may help a bit in the fine motor development of the student, but it may also be harmful, as the process of copying deprives the person of many things: the joy of discovering, the joy of realizing that he can conceive his own interpretation, the pleasure of forming a picture in his mind, and the self-confidence that comes with creating something concrete on his own.

Hence, in the art activities in this lecture, as will be shown through Power point pictures and videos, the student is provided with tools such as paper, colors, clay and so forth. With the proper motivation or stimulus, he is able to form images in his mind, and by using his hands, his eyes, his feelings, he is able to synchronize his senses to show them on paper or clay. He undergoes what we call the creative process. This process allows him, nay, gives him the chance to imagine, to choose, to plan, to innovate, to express himself without words. In so doing… the process becomes joyful and emotionally satisfying. It promotes his self-confidence. It becomes therapeutic. He is able to concentrate longer. In his joy with the activity he is able to compare with others and exercise critical thinking, he learns to share more. For art becomes his pictorial language. And this is why we call this simple lecture, “The Art of the Innocents.”


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