chapter  15
22 Pages

Art erapy: Connecting and Communicating

Amid the clatter of colored pencils being returned to containers and voices repeatedly asking for point sheets to be addressed, art therapy group leaders closed the day’s session with a ¨ nal review of the activities. From within this din emerged the mechanical voice of a usually silent group member, seemingly incongruous with the passionate statement that followed: “Art therapy can change your life. It’s about people doing things-getting better.” Despite lingering opinions to the contrary, exploring multisensory materials and making visible thoughts, feelings, or beloved special interests on paper, canvas, or in three dimensions is generally embraced by those with autism.  e act of engaging in one’s environment through creative means or through use of traditional art media requires an individual to be, even for a moment, in the social world, open to interaction with another, even if only to further access needed objects in the environment.  is process, witnessed and guided by an art therapist, o®ers rich opportunities for social-emotional growth.