Art Therapy Guidelines Developed for Children With ASD

HealthDay News — Guidelines have been developed for the use of art therapy in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study published in The Arts in Psychotherapy.

Theresa Van Lith, PhD, from Florida State University in Tallahassee, and colleagues chose a convenience sample of participants from established and emerging art therapy practitioners in the United States. Via survey, the authors gathered perspectives from 14 art therapists; these were analyzed using consensual qualitative research guidelines.

The investigators identified the level of experience and scope of the art therapists, unique aspects of using art therapy for children with ASD, preferred choice of materials for children with ASD, primary aims of art therapy for children with ASD, and preferred theoretical approaches and their practical application as domains of importance. These findings were developed into practice guidelines for art therapy in children with ASD.

“This is a first step towards aiding the expansion of the current evidence-base to support provision of art therapy as a routine form of treatment for ASD,” the authors write. “As the field continues to develop, further investigation is needed as to the effectiveness of art therapy to address cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical needs for children who have ASD.”

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Lith TV, Stallings JW, Harris CE. Discovering good practice for art therapy with children who have autism spectrum disorder: The results of a small scale survey [published online July 2017]. The Arts in Psychotherapy. doi:10.1016/j.aip.2017.01.002