The Achieving Something Special project in Northern Ireland, provides a creative space for adults with learning disabilities to work in, showcasing their creative arts talents.
Lottery funding has created a sense of community for Something Special and it has become an important part of the lives of people who can often feel isolated and excluded from the arts, education and society.
Something Special was formed 5 years ago by Denise White after spending 15 years working as a learning disability teacher. She was frustrated with the lack of provision for people with a disability in Northern Ireland.
“We attracted 16 students from the off set which quickly grew to 30 and we now have 80 with a long waiting list” says Denise. “Students say if it wasn’t for Something Special they would just spend all day in bed. Parents and carers too can see a huge difference saying that Something Special is the best thing that ever happened.”
The project uses music as a way of consolidating learning, developing concentration, social interaction and participation group work. Something Special places a huge emphasis on breaking down barriers and showcasing the talents and abilities of their individual learners.
It provides an alternative approach to day opportunities for young adults with learning difficulties. The students are all aged 16 and above and they participate in a range of accredited courses while focusing on learning and developing new skills in music and creative arts.
Something Special provides courses accredited by ASDAN. The workshops are based around the talents and abilities of their students and these include Performing Arts; Creativity; Business Enterprise; Sound, Rhythm and Music; Literacy; and Numeracy.
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