How to Use Art to Break Down Barriers When Teaching Autistic Children

Help via the arts!!
Arts for people with autism
Working with autistic children presents an array of challenges for both therapists and parents. However, certified art therapists can really help these individuals. Their methods are not techniques that just anyone can employ though, as art therapists know a great deal about development, health, psychology and art. These techniques are not just for anyone to try, but learning about what these professionals do can be extremely beneficial to those of us who have loved ones living with Autism. Here are some common methods.

House Tree Person
House Tree Person, otherwise known as HTP, is a method that many art therapists use to analyze the drawings of their clients. Essentially, children draw a house on one piece of paper, a tree on a second piece of paper and a person on another piece of paper. From the details or lack thereof used to create these drawings, art therapists can analyze their lives.

Collage Projects
Another popular method employed by art therapists is the construction of collages. Some therapists will provide a certain medium and specific themes that the youngsters must use. For example, an art therapist might ask children to use items found in nature – pine cones and leaves for example, to create a representation of their favorite playground or their backyard at home. Other therapists will provide a range of mediums and tools while asking young ones to create any picture that they wish.

Free Drawing
Here is a method in which, as the name implies, the autistic children have a lot of freedom when it comes to what they would like to draw. Basically, art therapists provide them with paper and tools for drawing, and then the children create a picture in a specified amount of time. Now, you might assume that the therapist analyzes only the actual images put on the paper. However, the therapist will also look at how color was used or how accurately the drawings represent reality. When it comes to art therapy, it’s not about a one-size-fits-all method that works for everyone.

Group Work
Building teamwork skills is an important part of art therapy, and it’s really crucial for autistic children. They tend to have problems when it comes to social development, so any opportunity to work with a group is really excellent. In group settings, they might all be contributing one piece to the drawing. Depending upon the functioning level of the children and their age, a leader might be helping them out with the process. At the end, the art therapist has accomplished his or her task by breaking down walls that the youngsters might have built up toward one another. They can see that teamwork actually has some really positive outcomes, and they need not always be fearful or anxious about working with others.

Megan Ryan writes about health, human development and more. A home nurse, her proudest piece is on the Top 10 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs.

Art Therapy for High-Functioning Autism: How to Get Started

Music Therapy
Coping with a condition such as autism is a challenge that many of us and many of our loved ones face. However, so many strategies  exist to make life easier for those of us in this camp. Many haven’t heard of it, but art therapy is one of them, and with this great new tool, you can very much help the special high-functioning autistic person in your life find an excellent therapist. Here’s what you need to know.
Check Educational Background
Art therapy is not a subject into which people merely leap. In fact, most have to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, but many go on to pursue their master’s as well. When meeting with art therapists, verify proof of their degree and ask what experiences they had in college or grad school. Many of them will have completed internships, so they have real life experience upon entering the workforce, and it’d be prudent to find out how relevant their assignment was to the situation of your friend or family member.
Working with Students
As most people know, paying for health and medical procedures is quite expensive. Not everyone can afford these extra therapists (and many have insurance plans that don’t cover this kind of treatment). However, there is a way to still enjoy these services. As mentioned above, many art therapy students are required to intern at local hospitals or other care facilities once or twice. If you cannot afford a traditional therapy program, ask your hospital or local college if interning students are allowed to offer therapy to your loved one for free or a reduced price. This does not mean that all training art therapists will be able to do so. It depends on your state, local educational institutions and more.
Parents who have high functioning autistic children might be inclined to hang around during the art therapy sessions. If the therapists request that they do, or both parties have a mutual agreement that such an arrangement is best, then they should. However, in quite a number of instances, people might tense up if a parent is nearby. A therapist might also notice that the patient is not eager to discuss certain issues with a parent present in the room. Therefore, it is often better to leave them alone – anything that you need to be aware of will be made known to you. Space is healthy – never forget this.
Don’t Diagnose
After you have observed a couple of the art therapy techniques, you might assume that you can use these methods at home. For example, you might see an art therapist explain how a drawing of a house has a particular significance in someone’s life. You go home and try to apply the same theory to another person or try to replicate this with your loved one. However, that analysis on the part of a therapist is comprised of many components. Only professionals can truly recognize these for they really are.So many treatment options exist for individuals living with autism. Art therapy is especially helpful though, because it allows patients to put together images and engage in crafts. In other words, this means they are having fun, expressing themselves and also (hopefully) healing. Those who have tried this method largely support its use, and it might be helpful to speak with some who have already tried this track.

Jennifer Banks writes about health, addiction and therapy. She works from and writes for