The Benefits of Community-Based Art Projects for Special Needs Students

Fredrick Royster
6 min readJan 16, 2024

(A mini research paper for Issues in Art Education at Illinois State University)

Photo by Jaunt and Joy on Unsplash

All children, regardless of race, ethnicity, income level, or disability, deserve an equal and equitable education in the visual arts.

In many public schools in the United States, special education classes are typically self-contained, one-room classes that are often excluded from enrichment opportunities offered to the rest of the students in the school, such as arts programs. (Fuss, 2015, iii)

The lack of integration of special education students into art classes can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • A lack of resources, such as trained teachers and specialized equipment.
  • Discrimination against students with disabilities can lead to them being excluded from art classes.
  • The fear of disruptive behavior in the classroom due to a lack of social skills. (Rebekah Fuss, 2015)

Neurodivergent and special needs students often feel ashamed and like outsiders when they feel different from their classmates.

“The majority of students with disabilities, who have received their education in closed special environments, are labeled as “special” from other normal…



Fredrick Royster

Lapsed Web Designer*UI/UX Professional* Electronic Dance Music Aficionado * Chicagoland (except that stint in Croatia!)