Autism affects the ability to communicate, both verbally and socially. Children with autism find it difficult to process language and turn it into a conversation. The most common conventional therapy for autism is behavioural therapy. But in the recent years, therapists have come up with other forms of therapy that have proven useful in mitigating the symptoms of autism. One such form of alternative therapy is art therapy.
Although children affected by autism have difficulty with communication and language, they have a very good ability to think visually. They can express their feelings and ideas through images and pictures very well. For children with autism, the main objective of art therapy is not to teach art, but to help develop life skills, control problematic aspects of behaviour, teach how to connect with others and promote self-expression. According to an article in the-art-of-autism.com, ‘One of the most common goals in art therapy is to increase tolerance for unpleasant stimuli, while channeling self-stimulating behavior into more creative activity. Because art is naturally enjoyable for almost all children, autistic or not, they are more likely to tolerate textures and smells they might otherwise avoid when they are part of a fun art process’.
Some of the different forms of art therapy are dance or movement therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, and visual art therapy. But parents must remember that, to derive maximum benefit from art therapy, it is important to find out which form of art therapy suits their child the best.
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