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Special programs, special artists, special learners.

While the word special is in danger of losing meaning through the offenses of overuse and misuse, it does serve the purpose of separating the noteworthy and extraordinary from the typical and average. We like to think of the art we create and the way we teach as special, and indicative of our unique individuality and ability. We also use the term as a means of categorizing new programs and those children in our classes who are labeled as exceptional or special. The numbers of students entering our classrooms accompanied by folders describing them as learning disabled, or having attention deficit disorders, or hearing impaired, or any of the other exceptional categorizations, seems to be growing in recent years. Many art teachers view this shift in student population as more pejorative than positive, citing their lack of preparation for teaching special-needs children. There is much truth to this belief, although there is another side. At a conference that I attended recently, an art teacher was lamenting the fact that she was getting more students of this type than she had in the past. Another art teacher turned the lemon into lemonade by noting that if that trend continues, soon all children would be receiving art instruction, and the need for art teachers and programs would grow exponentially.

However you view changing student populations, I note that many of the articles that I receive from art teachers working with exceptional students begin with reference to a sense of trepidation on first encounter ... sort of a "How will I ever deal with these kids in my classroom?" By the second paragraph, however, the creative mind of the art teacher has shifted into high gear and patterns have been altered and new programs devised. A number of the articles in this issue share the solutions and rewards of teachers who have experienced success in the teaching strategies and curricular adaptations that they have developed and tried with their students. Hopefully, we can all learn from their efforts.

The word special has additional implications. Other articles in this issue address unique programs ranging from special summer programs for gifted students to workshops for gifted teachers. (And doesn't that describe all of us?) You'll also read of a special school, a special artist and a number of successful classroom activities inspired and implemented by that special category of homo sapiens known as art teachers.

I'm trying very hard to avoid any more usage of the s word, but I would like to thank a great number of individuals who have given time and thought to making SchoolArts as good a publication as possible. This accolade goes to all readers who sent in comments on our Express Yourself cards, members of our Editorial Advisory Board and Consulting Editors, the editorial and production staff at Davis Publications, the many art teachers (over 130) who authored articles, contributed Verso items and other information (Most of these names will be found in the authors' index on page 51.), and especially our subscribers who are most special to the continuing success and status of SchoolArts.

With summer fast approaching, planning is already underway for the 1993-94 issues of SchoolArts. The themes for each issue are not finalized, but they will include the areas of drawing, printmaking, sculpture and art history. We also hope to feature a theme issue on design, interdisciplinary activities, crafts and school/district festivals and events that promote the arts. As always, we accept articles on all themes that feature quality art education, and we encourage you to review your most unique and successful art lessons from the past year, and/or give thinking time to significant ideas and issues that are confronting our profession. Transfer those thoughts from scraps of paper to typewriter or word processor, mix in several good-quality slides or prints, and send to: Dr. Kent Anderson, 11298 Bridget Lane, Hales Corners, WI 53130. A copy or our writer's guidelines will be sent to you by return mail.

Have a restfully rewarding and very special summer.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Davis Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:teaching disabled children
Author:Anderson, Kent
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 1, 1993
Words:672
Previous Article:Japanese Art and Architecture.
Next Article:ArtWorks: a special place for special people.
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