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Tactile Art Experience Workshop held for differently abled children in Jaipur
In a 'Tactile Art Experience Workshop' held on August 11 at Jaipur's Jawahar Kala Kendra, 100 differently abled children of local special schools participated.

During the workshop, organised by DAG Modern, children with special needs were exposed to the brail tactile painting; sign interpreters and large font size recognition techniques.

The pedagogy of visually challenged learners informs that both the visually impaired and sighted children right at an early stage need to be exposed to art and craft work that involves sensory experiences and simple fine motor skills. For children with special needs even if they are sighted or having multiple disabilities, early art and craft work based on tactile-dominant aspect becomes all the more important, said Simantini Kishore of Gurugram who had the experience of intervening with a differently abled girl on one-to-one basis for some time.

Also, there is a need to transfer the learning from workshops to the classroom since it has been often seen that special educators that accompany children with special needs to any workshop deem it to be a special job and become dependent on the outside experts for such workshops which are often short duration affairs and do not lead to a practice in the classroom to affect the brain or cognitive development. The special educators must convert the 'exposure' to 'education therapy' for practice to affect the behaviour of differently abled children.

I feel, even messing up with tactile art material can be good idea to develop the tactile competence of differently abled children and all learning must proceed from unstructured experience to structured experience as education therapy, I feel. In one school, I had seen the tactile experience painting done by the teachers and workshop expert during a school-based workshop only for display to impress the visitors. There is need to train special educators during pre-service training itself to convert tactile painting experiences into education therapy and expressive art therapy.

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