Art therapy is a creative method or technique used for therapy. The British Association of Art Therapists defines art therapy as a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Children who have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities or diagnoses can use this therapy. For example, children with emotional, behavioral or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, brain-injury or neurological conditions and physical illness.
Art therapy may be provided for groups, or for individuals, depending on the needs. It is not a recreational activity or an art lesson, although the sessions can be enjoyable. Children do not need to have any previous experience in art.
For a child with special needs, art can be a mode of expression, it can foster relaxation, help improve focus and give a sense of accomplishment while working on a creative project. The arts are an increasingly popular way for children with special needs to overcome difficulties and take pride in a new skill.
Children are often more willing to follow instructions and put their supplies in their proper place when the incentive of being able to express themselves through art is available to them. Trust and close bonds are formed between the therapist, and the peers, through the use of guided artistic activities.
It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps children to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.
In children with Autism, art therapy can help improve ability to imagine and think symbolically and to recognize and respond to facial expressions. It will help in improving the fine motor skills of the child and somewhere also help in sensory integration.