Arts for Learning Teaches Creative Movement to Youth with Autism
Arts for Learning Virginia (A4L) has a long history of serving the children and families of Virginia, providing arts-integrated literacy programs that help pre-K to 12th grade students build academic and social-emotional skills. We are the leading provider of quality arts-in-education programming in the state, motivated by a firm belief that the creativity and critical thinking gained by exposure to the arts are essential aspects to a child’s development.
We prioritize underserved populations, which includes students with intellectual and physical disabilities. As part of our commitment to serving these students, we are delighted to enter into a new three-year partnership with Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater (FACT). In September 2021, we launched “Arts Adventures,” a twelve-week creative movement and dance residency for youth with autism. The program is designed to provide adaptive arts education in a safe and supportive after-school environment to middle and high school students with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Lessons are completely free to the fifteen participants, with priority registration given to historically marginalized populations and to students whose families cannot afford extracurricular arts education.
The program is led by A4L teaching artist Angela Taylor, a certified yoga instructor. During each session, students explore themes related to communication, teamwork, and self-worth through a variety of dance and body movements in a peer-to-peer environment. The residency will culminate in a “perform and inform” event for students to share with family and friends.
The second year of Arts Adventures will focus on music and the third will focus on visual arts. The A4L teaching artists who lead the classes are all professional artists, skilled in their art forms, who have a teaching style well-suited to working with neuro-diverse students.
In addition to students with intellectual and physical disabilities, we prioritize our services underserved students, such as those enrolled in Title 1 schools and military-connected students who may require additional resources while their parents are deployed otherwise serving our country. Our artists—professional musicians, dancers, storytellers, and more—use their art forms as teaching tools, helping to reach learners who struggle with traditional methods of teaching.
Your generous donation to Young Audiences of Virginia, Arts for Learning, will allow us to continue to provide meaningful arts education at no cost to students in Virginia. As we work to fulfill our mission to inspire and engage students in and through the arts, we are grateful for our supporters who understand that art is central to a well-rounded education and who help ensure that our programming is accessible to all, regardless of social, physical, economic, or cultural barriers.