All together now: Tutti Pom Pom, a resource for arts organisations and independent artists who work with learning-disabled and neurodivergent young people.
Tutti Pom Pom is a project from Tutti Arts and Carclew. It aimed to look deeply at how each organisation could best support art programs for learning-disabled and neurodivergent young people. My role as project officer on this began with a lot of consultation and research into facilitation methods, what our organisations could learn from each other, and what other knowledge there is outside of our industry. This led to a series of workshops and training around a wide range of topics and the goal of finding a way to embed these learnings into our organisations and share them with the wider youth arts community.
Through this process, one of the challenges we highlighted is that practising youth art facilitators often lack support or training in how to teach and work with young people. We often have to figure it out ourselves over time, which can lead to inconsistent practices between facilitators. This can sometimes make it difficult for some young people, especially those with learning disabilities or who are neurodivergent, to engage in these programs. To help address this problem, we compiled our learnings from all the training and research that had taken place, as well as consulting with experts from the disability arts, performing arts, and youth arts sectors, as well as the education system.
This wide range of inputs has helped to create the resources that we are about to publish. They are designed to provide practical education and support for arts organisations and independent artists who work with learning-disabled and neurodivergent young people. By compiling the best practices and strategies that work for these young people, we can ensure that more young people can benefit from these arts programs. The resources are divided into chapters exploring:
- Why We Do What We Do
- Understanding Disability
- What is Neurodiversity
- The Role Of Play
- Positive Interactions With Children
- Workshop Structure
It’s taken a lot of time and energy from a lot of people to get this body of work to where it is, and I’m deeply grateful for everyone that has helped contribute to this body of work. Hopefully, this can be a tool for not only Tutti and Carclew but for the whole sector to utilise as a framework to continue to assess how we work. As a small industry, the youth art sector needs to come together when we can to share, learn and collaborate. Together we can make a future that can support all young people to have access to excellent artistic experiences!