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Tabitha Ross
March 17, 2015
English 4
Mrs. Crist
Art Therapy
Have you ever seen a student who seems to distance himself from the rest of the class?
That student might be autistic and the chaos of a classroom setting may be too much for him. An
Autistic person continually looks for sameness and order as part of their daily routine. Non
autistic children independently develop an imagination, while autistic children do not. Art
therapy is an effective way of helping autistic children develop imagery schema (imagination)
and express themselves.
In order to explain how art therapy helps autistic children, first one must understand what
art therapy is. Art therapy is the use of the arts (drawing, painting, pottery, and coloring),to
develop and create a way that is therapeutic to help communication and social skills (Nicole 2).
Even through art has been around for 40,000 years, art therapy was defined and developed into
a distinct discipline (The history of art therapy). By the middle of the 20th century hospital and
health facilities have been including art therapy to patients.
Today art therapy is commonly used to help autistic children. Art therapy not only helps
autistic children, but also non-autistic children, they are kinesthetically tied to their art
expressions and can physically and emotionally relate to the drawings as they create them
(Emery 2). Since autistic children have trouble with imagination and abstract thinking, therapist

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will use sensory regulation. Sensory regulation helps provide a less stressful technique. Art
therapy can increase motor skills as well as creating individualized visual tools (Emery 1).
Art therapy does not have to end when autistic children leave school. Education for
parents of autistic children is a major role. Parents cannot have high expectations for their
children. At home parents could have their children draw for an hour or two a day and praise
them for what they draw. However it must be stressed that patience, acceptance, and
understanding are important when supporting their childs drawing (Emery 5). If parents show
disappointment or frustration, it could prevent or delay the childs development.
Next time you see a student who distants themselves, do not leave them out of your
conversation. Include them in anything you can and just remember to be patient. Art therapy is a
unique technique to allow autistic children communicate and develop parts of their brain that
they have decreased access to.

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Work Cited
Emery, Melinda. Art Therapy.<i>Eric</i>. 10 Sept. 2004. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.
Martin, Nicole. Art Therapy and Autism.<i>Eric</i>. 15 Sept. 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 2015