Art and Disability: The Social and Political Struggles by Alice J. Wexler (auth.)

By Alice J. Wexler (auth.)

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Additional info for Art and Disability: The Social and Political Struggles Facing Education

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Without imagination many children miss important learning. A f light of imagination is usually more effective than words—that can sound meaningless or misleading—for finding solutions when no precedents are available. “Our culture places great emphasis on the development of verbal skills—in terms of both thinking and communicating—but we pay comparatively little attention to the appropriate integration of the verbal and the nonverbal” (Kivnick & Erikson, 1983, p. 610). The arts might be considered one of society’s few sanctioned ways of communicating thought and expression through nonverbal means.

But erasable material cannot be stored for future reference. Children need to erase and also have lasting images. Jessy had speech, but she had not yet fully acquired language. In Jessy’s case speech meant the uttering of sounds, often meaningless to others except her mother. Like all her landmark accomplishments, the acquisition of words also came and went. When recognition of words did last, it was often because the word was combined with body language and understood through bodily association.

220). Their crisscrossing turned symbols and signs into grammatical language. Although no hard empirical evidence exists for the “hand theory,” its beauty is in its poetry by bringing together imitation, hand, and voice, all essential for the transmission of human culture. If opera is culture, La Traviata is all about the skillful combination of imitation, voice, and dexterity (in the making as well as the playing of musical instruments). What those three brought into being was a system of symbols, so that the mind could represent within itself, and within social discourse and technology, anything from quantum mechanics to the Mona Lisa or an automobile.

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