Hello Everyone!

    I wanted to share with you some ways to make adaptive art tools at home.  Below I have listed some ideas that we use in my classroom and I have also shared a couple videos that I found helpful.  For those that are interested, you will also find links to websites that sell adaptive art supplies.


    Websites that sell adaptive art tools:

    School Specialty

    United Art & Education

    Discount School Supply

    4MD Medical

    adaptive art tools adaptive


    Helpful videos on adaptive art tools!

    The Art of Education - 3 Essential Tools

    Children's Museum of the Arts - Adaptive Art Tools



    Paintbrushes, Pencils, Markers, Pencils and other Writing/drawing Devices

    DIY art tools


    These small items can be hard for some individuals to hold. 

    One way I have modified these items is by cutting a small hole into a small hollow ball (like a tennis ball) and pushing the end of the brush into the hole, this gives the student a much bigger grip to work with. 

    You can also use a large crumpled wad of paper (like newspaper) formed into a ball around the end of the brush/pencil/marker and then wrap tape (brown packaging tape works best) around it until it is secure and covering all the paper. (see picture)

    Make handles using cut-out handles from milk/beverage jugs or cardboard and tape. (see picture)

    Slant boards, art easels, and clipboards are a great way to help students with stabilizing their work while they are working AND help keep them focused from other distractions.

    art easel slant clipboard

    I also use clips to secure work to the slant board and non-slip material such as dyson to keep work materials secure.

    no slip clip dyson


    I have also used to-go cups with lids for water when working with watercolor.  Simply cut a hole into the center of the lid and secure it the cup of water.




    Adaptive Techniques


    Hand-over-hand assistance involves placing ones hands over or under an individual’s hands to help them complete a movement. When using hand-over-hand assistance, the adult is controlling the movements of the child's hands.  This gives a child with limited physical mobility and/or cognitive ability the opportunity to participate and create art.

    Processing Delay - Many students have a processing delay after they have been asked a question or given a direction.  Silently counting to ten before asking the questions or giving the direction again, allows the student time to process what has been asked of them.

    Eye Gaze – Place choices in front of student and follow their eyes to which choice they are gazing at as they answer.  In the photos below you will see the one I use in the classroom (plexi-glass) and an example of a homemade board (clear paper protector), you can also use paper, cardboard, plastic, etc...

    mychoiceboard choice board

    Choice of one, two, or three – Give the student choices in the art making process.  Remember that art is a process not a product.  There are so many valuable lessons and achievements to be learned in the process of following directions and making individual choices.  You can assist in the choice making process by offering only one choice for students that are still learning how to make a choice.  Once a student knows how to make a choice you can add another choice (choice of 2).  As they progress with making a choice from a choice of two, they can move on to a choice of three and so on.

    Visual Timer – Break activity up into smaller chunks and use a visual timer to help students stay on task and process transitions into other activities/rewards.


    First/Then Motivator – Use a visual or verbal prompt of “First do this______ and then you can have this____”.


    Checklist are another great way to help students stay on task and learn the process of making art.


    These are just some of the adaptive ways you can work with your student during their art activities.  I can also send information via email.