Friday, April 22, 2011

See The Light, a TOS Crew Review

Teaching children on the autism spectrum can be challenging. Some of us have a relationship focus in the foreground with everything else as a background activity. I'm learning to use homeschool resources for those background activities, and I have found that art programs are well suited for experiencing the relationship pieces with the academic piece alongside.

See The Light Art Class, Volume 1: ART LESSONS is the first video-based art resource we've used. I was given two DVDs: a DVD of preview clips, which I viewed first, to get a feel for the lessons, and to review, Volume I, The Basics. The entire 9-disc course is priced at $99.99.

I immediately liked the way the Master Artist Pat Knepley paces her thoughts as she speaks. (The lessons are not closed captioned. Li'l Bit has been watching a few videos recently with the closed captioning on. Maybe it helps her comprehension.) The lessons are short (approximately 10 minutes long). I do not hide the fact that I am still learning to keep lessons short for my homeschooler, and Pat Knepley models for me "just enough" in terms of content and time. I encourage you to see for yourself. Request your FREE DVD here. There are free lessons here.

See The Light classes (club sessions) are more than just art classes. Knepley weaves scripture and relates art concepts to Biblical concepts as she talks to viewers through the lessons. (This is an issue for us; my daughter is scared of God.)

The materials Knepley recommends are common art supply items (you'll probably have the urge to run out to your craft/hobby store for new materials when you see the video), and are relatively inexpensive.

Special Needs Considerations: If your child learns better from a video format, you may really like these videos and I encourage you to view the freebies that are available to you. Take them for a test drive. If your child has attention and visual challenges, where they don't know exactly where to look, your child may not focus on the right part of the video picture in order to follow directions. If your child is working on visual attention, these videos may be an excellent experience for him or her.

Additionally, Knepley introduces concepts and vocab that are sometimes taught in isolation or out of context to children w/ special needs. I really, really like the experience of learning concepts IN context, and these videos are wonderful for introducing things like compare and contrast (example: dark line, light line, curved line, straight line). She introduces names and works of famous artists, too.

For parents who are working on early levels of joint attention with a child, you may choose to watch the video alone and teach your child without the video.

The relationship and social experiences can be quite varied in using these videos, from shifting gaze and attention to appraising your attempts to do what Knepley directs, and your child learns some concepts of art and drawing, too. There are opportunities to experience and practice perspective taking and experience sharing.

If you have not used art with your child with special needs, I encourage you to consider it. See The Light videos, the first one, anyway, is a good introduction that gives parents and students much more than simply art and how-to-draw lessons.

I was given a See The Light DVD for review purposes. I was not paid for this review, do not benefit if you purchase the product, and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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