University of Houston-Clear Lake expands offerings at Art School for Children

The art classes are split into kindergarten through fifth graders and sixth through 12th graders. (Courtesy of University of Houston-Clear Lake)
The art classes are split into kindergarten through fifth graders and sixth through 12th graders. (Courtesy of University of Houston-Clear Lake)

The art classes are split into kindergarten through fifth graders and sixth through 12th graders. (Courtesy of University of Houston-Clear Lake)

University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Art School for Children will expand its offerings to include classes for autistic children, starting with programming at the end of the month.

The first classes geared specifically towards children on the autism spectrum will be offered May 22 for grades K-12. Kindergarteners through fifth graders can enroll in a 10-11 a.m. class, and sixth through 12th graders can enroll in another from noon to 1:30 p.m.

UHCL wants to train its students in finding strategies to teach autistic children in an art classroom, the art school’s Director David Moya said in a May 10 news release.

Moya drew on the expertise of students and faculty in the university’s behavior analysis program to design the courses after numerous parents asked about art classes with accommodations, per the release. Associate Professor of Behavior Analysis Sarah Lechago, along with behavioral analysis graduate students Arabelle Martin, Jennifer Carrera and Alison Alvarez, conducted a training in April for the art teachers.

“Students with autism deserve the opportunity to participate in art classes, and any activity of their choosing, with teachers who can be attentive to their needs and who can help them flourish [and have] fun,” Martin said in the release. “Our goal is to create a world that is inclusive of all people, including people with autism.”



The teacher training was meant to help instructors understand there is no one method to teaching autistic students, and to encourage them to collaborate with others in the community who have experience working with different types of learners, Martin said in the release. The university hopes to offer more summer classes to this demographic, per the release.

Michele Chapman, who took the training and will have a hand in instructing one of the upcoming classes, said in the release she wants to be sure she can adapt for students in her future classes who will have varying needs.

“I will have students with needs for special attention, and I don’t want to feel helpless during that time for someone who needs me,” she said in the release. “I want the training and ability to adjust to help all the kids in my class.”

Registration for the May 22 classes is open now for $10 per child at www.uhcl.edu/childrens-art-school/.

By Colleen Ferguson

Reporter, Bay Area

A native central New Yorker, Colleen worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact Newspaper before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. She covers public education, higher education, business and development news in southeast Houston. Colleen graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she worked for the university's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange. Her degrees are in journalism and Spanish language and culture. When not chasing a story, Colleen can be found petting cats and dogs, listening to podcasts, swimming or watching true crime documentaries.