Arts > ‘Exposure Asks’ young people at WAC Arts about learning difficulties

Posted on December 16, 2015


Exposure asks young people with learning difficulties at WAC Arts what matters to their generation

WAC Arts is a dynamic and diverse charity supporting young people, who are often facing exceptional challenges and hardship. Through impactful creative arts and media programmes they empower young people to change their world.

Scroll down and use the slider tool to find out what’s important to the young people at WAC Arts. You can also view relevant statistics and quotes they wanted to share. The images on the left show how the students felt while the images on the right provide more information on each issue.

Creating music

When you overcome musical challenges, especially those you never thought you could master, it can give you a great sense of pride.

Like your first experiment with playing a musical instrument, the smallest achievement can motivate you to learn more. As you continue to learn more notes and techniques, or even start to construct your own songs, that sense of accomplishment grows.

Music can also be a great aid to meditation and helps to prevent the mind from wandering. If music inspires you Roundhouse is a creative centre for young people keen to learn more about the world of music, media and radio.

Drawing and painting helps me relax

When you become totally immersed in a creative activity, you may find yourself in what’s known as ‘the zone’ or in a state of ‘flow’. This meditative-like state focuses your mind and can help to temporarily push aside all of your worries.

Creating art stimulates communication between various parts of your being, because of this it has been proven that it can improve your resistance to stress.

As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Painting embraces all the ten functions of the eye; that is to say, darkness, light, body and colour, shape and location, distance and closeness, motion and rest.”

Artbox London is great organisation for people with learning disabilities to create art, exhibit art and even sell their artwork.

More love no pills

When Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was nine years old, he was diagnosed with ADHD and put on stimulant medication. At age 13, Phelps took himself off the pills. Phelps’ teachers claimed that he would be unsuccessful without the stimulants, because he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything without them.

However, Phelps went on to win more medals than any competitor in the history of the Olympics. He channelled his extra energy into physical activity, and found a way to focus without medication. For many hyperactive children, healthy physical activity is a great way to release extra energy.

There are tons of physical activity options in London, including London Youth Games for over 30 different fun activities, not to forget good old fashioned jogging or even just walking.

We’re not all destined to become gold medal winners, so it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor. In most cases, they will only prescribe you with the medication you need.

Singing is my life

Singing is one of the most natural ways to express yourself. It can help improve a wide range of skills including self-confidence and communication as well as listening skills, language skills and even vocabulary.

When we’re young, we’re taught important lessons through catchy songs because we’re more likely to remember what we’ve learned through singing. As you grow up, music remains an important teacher of self-connection and self-development. No matter your age, singing can connect you to yourself and to others, whether it’s through learning in a group or performing to find out how to please your audience.

To find out ways to develop your skills in music or to find out where to start, check out the London Music Centre, where there are plenty of options for fun-packed music experiences.

Gaming: it’s about doing it the fastest

In 2010 Associate Professor Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson conducted a study in Texas that showed those who play violent video games long-term seem to be able to adopt mental skills to handle stress, become less depressed and less hostile during stressful tasks.

Many other studies have shown the same results, and also found that a majority of young people choose to play video games as a way to manage difficult feelings like anger and stress. Some of these tests focused less on the type of game, and instead on how the game has helped them.

Exposure’s autistic author Max Ferreira, explored why autistic people can become obsessed with video games.

Performing makes me feel on top of the world

Performing is a great way to grow in a safe environment. Whether it’s through acting, dancing, or singing, young people can develop their confidence and their voice through the excitement of entertaining others.

Performing takes lots of practice, which teaches us about hard work, dedication and patience. It also requires plenty of group work and communication exercises, which can be used on and off the stage. Developing confidence in front of others is important, not only as a performer but also as a student and especially later in life as a professional.

WAC Arts have a number of courses and projects available for young people keen to explore the media and performing arts.

I discover myself through drama

Through drama you can develop better communication skills and become more aware of language.

When participating in drama you are encouraged to express yourself not only verbally but also through facial expressions and body language. This is key to improving your confidence. Drama can allow you to explore and understand more about who you are, and how to communicate that to others.

Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company based in North London, they celebrate diversity and performance as a vehicle to tackle topical social issues.

Loud noises make my ears hurt

Studies have shown that 90% of people with autism will ignore or overreact to what other people see as ordinary sights, sounds, smells and other sensations.

It has been reported that hypersensitivity to noise is one of the most common challenges for people with autism spectrum conditions. Although there has not been a lot of a physical differences found between those with autism and those without, a few studies have shown that there are slight differences in the temporal lobe of the brain. This is the cortical area that helps with auditory processing.

Not many people know the reason, or information behind why those with autism are sensitive to noise. To learn more about why this happens take a look at The sensory world of autism or read more about noise sensitivity and what other people have done to stop the excessive noise.

I love dancing

Dance is an outlet for emotional expression, stress reduction and creativity for young people.

Dance can channel our energy positively and help us to bond with our peers. When dancing in a group you are moving in sync as a team, which allows dancers to trust each other. Gaining trust and a liking for someone, while participating in a common interest, strengthens a bond of friendship through movement.

Dance can sharpen our focus and can be a vehicle to explore our emotions. Holding in emotions and tension caused by stress, anxiety and depression is unhealthy, but dance can help. By dancing, we release the mind and become more aware of the mind/body connection and can express our emotions through our movements.

Local organisation Omnida offer a variety of dance classes, meaning there’s something for everyone.

These are our passions and our protests

If you are affected by any of the issues listed above or want to share a story of your own, we’d love your feedback! Comment below, visit our Facebook page or tweet us to let us know your thoughts.

Remember: Exposure is always looking for young writers so if you feel strongly about something email

This is a Jack Petchey Foundation funded project

Emilee Robinson
Emilee is a writer and photographer from Memphis, Tennessee. She is aspiring to be a journalist in the city, a novelist in the mountains, or both if she can make it happen. She’s in love with Frank Sinatra, thunderstorms, and her sassy cat Sebastian Harold. When she’s avoiding real life, she blogs about nonsense at

Morgan McCormack
Morgan McCormack is a writer from the United States who spends most of her time complaining about all the snow back home. When not complaining about the snow, Morgan can talk your ear off about her dogs, Phoebe and Rachel, her obsession over 90’s tv shows, random useless facts about the world, and a slightly strange obsession with monkeys and pugs. When not writing or reading you can find Morgan spending endless hours at the pool or exploring the world with friends.


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