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Autism and Art Therapy

Autism and Art Therapy – Helping to Improve Communication

There are many ways to treat autism and art therapy helps by improving creative skills building communication skills.

Anyone familiar with autism spectrum disorders is aware if the affect it has on verbal and social communication. Forming a thought and articulating a sentence can be very challenging as well as understanding body language and reading facial expressions. To people unaffected by this disorder body language is the most important factor in communicating person to person.

Autism and are therapy are discussed by Tanner Kent a Free Press Features Editor who relates his own personal experiences on MamkatoFreePress…

autism and art therapy

Art therapy can open doors for people with autism. Courtesy Stockxchng

My mother is a special education teacher who has worked specifically with autistic students for 30 years. I grew up visiting her classrooms and wondered about the boys and girls, often the same age as me, who rocked in their chairs, flapped their hands and rarely made eye contact.

Mom would try to explain. She had me read books by Donna Williams, the autistic author of the award-winning memoir “Nobody Nowhere” and essays by Temple Grandin, an autistic doctor of animal science who revolutionized the animal slaughtering industry through her insights into anxiety and fear.

But nothing illuminated the secret machinations of autism like Lisa’s drawings.

Lisa was a student in my mom’s classroom. Waif-like in appearance with some verbal communication skills, Lisa was strangely obsessed with brooms, pickles and boiler rooms (such obsessions or compulsions are common with some autistic individuals).

But she only drew pictures of the latter. And to call them pictures is quite accurate. Lisa’s boiler rooms were highly detailed; every pipe, every fitting, every boiler rendered with surprising realism.

And this from a young lady who had trouble legibly penning her own name.

That the same hand could produce works of staggering accuracy on one channel of the brain, then struggle with seemingly remedial tasks on another, was an insight into autism I’ll never forget.

In society a person who doesn’t talk or is obviously lacking in communication skills is thought to unskilled in most other areas as well. It’s natural for a person to think a person who is uncommunicative to be unfriendly, aloof or even arrogant, we may tend to steer away from them.

There is much work to be done in developing art thereapy and autism treatment, but to date there are many case studies to show how treating autism with art therapy can expand a persons imaginative powers and teach them to think symbolically. Records show improvement in the ability to recognize facial expressions and respond accordingly.