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Art Therapy

Students with sensory, perceptual, cognitive, and physical disabilities are entitled to the creative learning opportunities that the visual and performing arts can provide. Music, art, and dance can be vehicles that accommodate other areas, such as phonological awareness for reading, playwriting project for writing, and theater role plays for public speaking. The arts can enhance learning in other ways, too:

  • Recalling facts: students restate facts from stories using visual arts activities
  • Understanding the main idea: students draw or sculpt the main idea of a story they have read or heard
  • Relating details to main idea: students explain the art work that depicts details of a story they have read or heard
  • Sequencing events: using art materials, students recreate sequential events through activities such as folding papers into obvious boxes and share with others how the story evolves
  • Characterization: A wonderful opportunity for students to express how they think characters look in stories
  • Inferential thinking: Drawings can be a means to an end in illustrating conclusions and other higher order thinking skills. Visual arts depictions of stories proved a springboard for written expression, dramatization, and creation of songs that illustrate the processing of information.

Source: http://ericec.org/faq/arts.html

"I recently attended a seminar by Melissa Kistner on Sibling Rivalry...her expertise is amazing. With her consent, I share her notes on therapeutic art activities".

Art Activities to Facilitate Expression of Feelings

  • Ask your child to draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. on one side they can draw about something that makes them feel happy, on the other half, something that makes them feel sad or mad. You can limit the scope of the this activity by asking them to draw about things that happened that week.
  • Ask your child to draw a picture of the family. Allow the child to explain all of the details with you after they finish.
  • Help the child divide the page into several boxes, either by folding the paper or by drawing lines. Have them draw something they are afraid of or worry about in each box.
  • Ask the child to "draw a picture of you and your brother doing something". Use the completed drawing as an opportunity to talk about their recent interactions with their sibling.
  • Ask the child to use paint to show you what colors they would use to describe "sad" or "mad" feelings
  • Precut pictures of faces and people from magazines. Ask the child to select pictures of certain feelings or how they are feeling on a specific day or after a specific event happened. You may also want to do this project to model how a collage might be done or to let them know how you are feeling.
  • Ask them to draw a picture of something they get mad at
  • When they feel angry have them rip up several sheets of newspaper or colored paper and throw them around. when they are calmed down, have them pick up the pieces and glue them down on a piece of construction paper top make a collage. this activity shows them a\that good can come out of anger if it is expressed in an appropriate way.
  • Have them decorate a shoe box or small wood box (from a craft store or craft section at WalMart). This box can be used to keep cards that you have written on about their positive traits. It could be used as a "worry box" to hold pieces of paper they write their worries on (or you write if they are unable). It may be used as a wish box to keep  hopeful wishes about their sibling and family in. Or they may just use it as a box to keep special memories or stuff in. The decorating of the box can be used as a self-esteem boost by making sure you compliment their creativity in decorating the box.
  • Have them draw a picture of an invention that would help them do something or make life easier for your family.

For more info or services contact:
Melissa Kistner, MA, LCPC
Riverview Counseling Services, Ltd.
P.O. Box 3055, St. Charles, IL 60174
Ph: 630.587.3777
E-mail: riverviewcounseling@yahoo.com

Additional Sources for Info:

Drawn Together

Methods of Art Therapy

The American Art Therapy Association


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