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Making Art Special: A Curriculum for Special Education Art (Helen Goren Shafton)

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Kinsa, I found a link for the book you mentioned from Amazon:


I am not an artist but I have taken courses in an Academy of Art (out of personal interest) and have dabbled in all sorts of art pursuits with various media. It will be something I will be doing a lot more as I get older and as my responsibilites towards my boys lessen. That, and gardening ?.

Anyway, since you didn't get any replies from anyone using this book, I'll just give you some input, if that's ok. I think you could consider what you are looking to accomplish. I took a look at the preview pages of the book but could not get a good feel on how well they cover the elements of art. I did see some interesting projects in the previews though, and the images are in color. 

I have a ton of art resources; from curricula, to medium specific, to art form specific. I also have one that is specific for autism and I am linking it for you from Google Books because they have the most preview pages. I bought the latter about a year ago but have not started it with my youngest yet (it was purchased for him). Since I have the book I know it covers a lot of ground and puts good emphasis on the elements of art. If you are looking for a curriculum type resource here's the link for you to peruse it and see what you think:


I am linking you the book on Amazon as well though. There are some reviews I feel you should read. I would not want you to spend the money and then realize that it is not very useful to you!


It is more than three times the size of Making Art Special and it is priced accordingly, so keep that in mind. If you check the toc in the link you can see everything it covers. It is very comprehensive. 

If you are intersted in working on art projects however, you could find books that are more medium specific or art form specific. There are other art books that have projects but are not curricula. They could be used as fun intros to art.

I am about to start a sewing kit and a weaving kit with my youngest. That is another angle you could consider. 

Hope something here helps ?!

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I haven’t used that particular book but we have had success with Home Art Studio dvds.  We just finished grade K with my 10 yr old.  I like that it’s a dvd and I just have to get the supplies and work along with him.  He has learned to watch and pause when needed.   

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http://infiniteability.yolasite.com/helen.php Here's the author's website. I found recently in Lakeshore Learning a book someone teaching a one week art summer camp had used with my ds. At the time, the book was SO far beyond him but not at all inappropriate for the other 4-8 yos in the class. Even with young kids, the expectation was very abstract and not how he was ready to interact and give. I think to the extent Shafton is counteracting that, it could be really good. The amazon sample doesn't show much, so that's why I was trying the author site. 

The other thing I'm doing now is just picking up art projects that are aimed a lot lower. I found a book at Lakeshore that was aimed at gr 1-2 and I think he might be able to do that. It is very concrete, sort of like the monochromatic pages project on Shafton's site. I thought her point about the joy in the process was good. 

When the expectations are too abstract or overwhelming, my ds wigs out. When people say oh anything goes and the task is too high, he just cranks out stuff that seems pretty random, without intention. That's why I backed off, because I felt like we hadn't found a way to do what art teachers seem to want, which was to apply concepts thoughtfully.

Does your library have the Shafton book?

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Just to clarify that we haven't started our book because after I bought the book I also bought him a curriculum that incorporates a lot of art. We will be continuing with the curriculum this year, but now that he is becoming more independent with projects, I will start him on the art book as well. We use other art books too. The art book I linked will span over several years, based on the challenge of the projects. It starts mildly with finger painting though.

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Here's a YouTube video with the author talking about the book. She mentions that she offers alternative, more inexpensive, solutions through her website for those that do not want to spend the money on the book. To clarify, I am suggesting It because you have mentioned that your son has autistic traits and you have looked at materials geared towards kids on the spectrum. I hope I am not offending in any way. It is not my intention!


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