Have you ever thought about the power art has to help children with autism? As a natural way to express feelings and emotions, art has been shown to be a great way for autistic people to connect with their world around them, as well as providing a sense of calmness and clarity.
But as well as enabling children to express thoughts or feelings which might otherwise be difficult for them to do, art therapy can literally help give autistic children a voice. For many children with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) verbal and writing activities are incredibly stressful - but art opens a new world to them! Engaging in a sensory, creative process has been shown to help autistic children express themselves!
And the benefits of art therapy don’t stop there! Studies have shown that even after a child with ASD has finished an art session, there has been a visible improvement in expressions, eye contact and circumstantial instructions. They are also more likely to be encouraged to express more complex memories and thought processes through and after art work.
Of course, every child, and every form of ASD is different - so art therapy can be more popular or effective with soe than others! But regardless of how far a child really engages with any activity, art therapy is a useful tool in exploring a child’s mental state and understanding how far their social skills are developing! It can also help asses or recognise any underlying academic skills - as well as being a great opportunity for the children to learn new skill!
Art and creative therapy have clear benefits for its participants, as well as for their friends and families, and has now become a conventional form of therapy for a wide range of disabilities! However, more needs to be done to make art work more readily available to those who need it.
Art therapy needs to be made more widely available
Although most experts agree that art therapy can offer a huge amount to children with autism, it is not always easy for their parents or carers to get access to services run by professionals. More needs to be done to ensure cost or location do not act as a barrier for autistic children benefiting from art therapy.
Do want to more about what autism? Joe Harvey (diagnosed with ASD at 6 years old) will be speaking about his experience with autism at Naidex this March! Check out his page here.