Autism is a growing health issue among young children in the United States and around the world. This disorder is typically diagnosed in a child’s early years of development. The disorder in some children tends to be more severe than others. However, most children suffer from similar impairments when it comes to social interactions, activities and verbal development.
Children with autism have problems with cognitive thinking and processing information. Sometimes, they can become overwhelmed and anxious. That is why these children need the tools and resources to alleviate their anxiety and assist them in dealing with the outside world.
Art therapy is highly recommended as an intervention for autistic children. Activities that are more visual such as painting or encouraging children to learn photography work well. This provides the child with an opportunity to express his or her creativity. It also helps the child to reduce the stress and frustration that results from autism.
Since many children with autism tend to have problems with language development, finding an artistic outlet for them can help them express their feelings and thoughts.
Art therapy, which includes activities such as drawing or photography, is an advanced and imaginative way for autistic children to discover and take advantage of a new way to learn. Most of these children do not do well with auditory learning. Therefore, it is strongly advised that instructors also use visual materials to accomplish clear and concise instructions.
For example, the instructor can use photographs, pictures and drawings to communicate with the child as it relates to understanding the flow of classroom activities. The child can view photographs to learn different sequences: what was just done, what is being done and what will be done next. This facilitates the child’s sense of structure, continuity and confidence.
Autistic children should be provided with photographs of a favored object, which they can identify with. Many children prefer to draw pictures on paper because it requires less sensory processing. However, later, the instructor can introduce art lessons that teach children about photography or even how to sculpt clay.
If the child is uninterested in an activity, it may cause the child to exhibit inappropriate behavior. Therefore, since each child will have different personal taste, it will be a trial and error situation for both teacher and child. The instructor should continue to foster interaction until the child can express his or her preference.
An autistic child requires a very structured program with importance placed on the methodical demonstration of materials. The classroom size has to be smaller than a regular classroom program. This allows the instructor to provide individualized attention to each child.
Art therapy promotes and encourages social connection between the therapist and the autistic child. As the child begins to new ways to express themselves and views it as something positive, it will be easier for both instructor and student. The child will become more motivated to learn and the child will enjoy this particular process of learning.