Teaching Autistic Children through Art
We want the absolute best for our autistic children! We want to use all the latest ideas and therapies! But what we are finding is what works for one autistic child, doesn’t necessary work for another. And so it continues! There is currently a new angle, a new look, a new intelligent way to look at autism for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Teaching Autistic children through art seems to give them a voice which was silent before but now is a bridge to let them speak, basically inviting you into their world. This disorder would be due to their sensory needs such as visual and tactile, and possibly potential non verbal expression plus their need to draw to visualize and the need for hands-on- therapy.
And surprisingly, it comes to us from the autistic children themselves. We are listening like never before, as it seems the autistic community are teaching themselves through art. There have been many inspirational testimonials from autistic children ages 12 and up that are truly stunning. Through their creative art the autistic child is able to express their feelings, though non verbal and any expressions which they find difficult to express verbally. It seems this very safe way to express their feelings and it is actually working.
There is much literature available resounding this new finding and some of it is even written by autistic children themselves. So by teaching autistic children through art it demonstrates its effectiveness, thereby indicating that it may be a clinically-sound safe treatment option. There is much that can benefit an autistic child through this art therapy such as an increase of self awareness, developing problem solving strategies, giving them their own creative thinking knowing they are in a safe environment. There may be many changes of behaviors and development of social skills. So the benefits are many and they may not come all at once or maybe they come slowly but it’s certainly worth a “look see”.
Teaching autistic children through art can be taught by art therapists. But it seems the goals that parents want for their autistic children are the same as any therapist:
Opportunity for creative expression with different art techniques whether abstract or imagination. Therapists can design individual art techniques for certain needs.
Art therapy provides safe and enjoyable sensory integration through exploration of the art. It’s a nurturing relationship giving the art a way to create product and meaning with self accomplishment.
Communication awareness for those autistic children who have difficulty expressing themselves, giving them a safe forum for emotion and self –expression.
Art is a visual activity and with integration can be so much fun which helps in social skills and expressions, giving a strong form to peer support.
Leisure, Recreation go along with social skills and can be developed through observing and learning from others whether a therapist or group or family. It’s a strong form of support.
With the building of trust you can provide directives to encourage communication to the child which will reap great rewards.
Of course safety is an absolute when working with any art supplies. Depending on the age and comprehension of the child, the use of pencil, clay, paint, collage or even glue should be closely watched. With the building of trust you can reap great rewards and encourage communication which in the long run makes for a happier child. There may be many goals reached, so depending on the age of the child and what they are interested in see what rewards you can gather.