Art therapy for children with Autism

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A Florida State University researcher is working with art therapists to find better ways to treat children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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Art therapy is ideal for addressing sensory processing disorder (SPD). A pervasive problem in autism which contributes to a great deal of difficult emotions and behaviors. Seemingly innocuous sensations, such as the texture of carpet, fluorescent lighting, crunchy foods, the hum of a refrigerator, may be irritating, or even excruciating, to people with autism.

Theresa Van Lith, assistant professor of art therapy in FSU’s Department of Art Education led a study that surveyed art therapists. Working with children with ASD to develop a clearer understanding of their techniques and approaches.

68 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by age 8 each year

As that population grows, more parents and educators are seeking out art therapists to address social development and sensory issues that generally accompany ASD.

Moreover, art therapy promotes mental and emotional growth through art making. Art therapy is aim of building life skills, addressing deficits and problem behaviors, and promoting healthy self-expression. Clients support more to explore and express themselves using art materials

However, suggest that art therapy can do a great deal. In some cases it has opened up a whole world of opportunity. For an individual with autism as significant artistic talent as survey results varied. The researchers were able to develop a set of guidelines for delivering art therapy to children who have ASD. The proposed guidelines will serve as a basis of successful practice for new art therapy professionals and for further studies.

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In art therapy, the goal is to channel non-functional or inappropriate stimming into socially acceptable, creative outlets. Art making can help turn a behavior that once caused social problems into a form of self-expression and enjoyment.

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