child painting

Many types of therapy can help children with autism have an ideal quality of life. One of the best forms of assistance is art therapy. This article will talk about how art therapy helps children with autism, an expression for kids with autism, and how to get started.

How Does Art Therapy Help Autism?

Art therapy is an incredible choice for children with autism. Art allows kids to communicate visually, expressing themselves through unique mediums without opening their mouths to speak.


Here are a few additional ways art therapy helps children with autism:


  •     Communicate and express themselves without speaking
  •     Speaking through creative expression
  •     Better abstract thinking and improved communication
  •     A way to create stronger relationships, encouraging children with autism to open up to other perspectives
  •     Improved sensory integration and coping skills
  •     Better development along with visual and spatial skills
  •     Increased emotional and sensory control, positively impacting behavior


It’s an incredible way to give kids another way to shine.


Art therapy can help children with autism express themselves in ways they otherwise could not access. But how? Let’s discuss the ways art therapy benefits these kids.

How Art Therapy is Helping Children with Autism Express Themselves?

Art therapy permits children with autism to create a method to express feelings and show their impressions of the world. They can use creativity to select colors, then utilize materials to bring their vision to life. They utilize these colors and materials to form what they are feeling.


In time, children with autism will get more and more used to using art to express their feelings. It might become a pathway for caretakers, parents, and teachers to speak with their children in ways language does not allow. Art therapy can help kids with autism to take control of their lives, and you can understand their view of the world.


If you are interested in art therapy for your child with autism, it can be overwhelming to pick a place to get started. There are several routes for starting art therapy with your child.


How to Get Started With Art Therapy Activities for Children With Autism

Art therapy can start early in a child’s life as early as two years old. It’s better to begin earlier rather than later, as art can be a valuable communication tool as a child with autism grows up. Art provides a solution for this child’s thinking style that can ease their mind in a confusing world.


It’s best to speak with other parents or caretakers of children with autism for advice on a starting point. Your ABA therapist can also come in handy, providing valuable insight on what they think will best suit your child. They may offer a few different recommendations to determine the ideal fit.


We have a few recommendations for ways to get started on the creative journey with your child. Let’s discuss each of the strategies to determine the best starting point.

Ice Cube Drawings

Ice cube drawings are a unique form of art that includes sensory experience with the creation of gorgeous pieces. Children with autism can experiment with different mediums and make something that will communicate how they feel to others.


All you need for ice cube drawing are:


  •     Ice cubes
  •     Food coloring
  •     Ice cube trays
  •     Paper
  •     Gloves


The food coloring should be frozen in the tray.


Put the paper out on a table and place the ice cubes in a bowl. Have your child put on the gloves, then sit them down at a table.


The children can then grab the ice cubes and move them around on the paper to create beautiful designs. If your child doesn’t do well with cold and hot sensations, you might want to try something that operates at a more stable temperature.

Sand Art

Sand art is another excellent form of art therapy. Children get to play in the sand, creating sculptures and designs. Sand art can occur with traditional and or kinetic versions that stack and stay in unique shapes.


Here’s what you will need for sand art:


  • A sandbox or container
  • Sand/Kinetic sand
  • Toys and sculpting tools
  • Items to clean up after a session in the sand


It’s an easy art form to set up.


Sand art is one of the best ways to introduce children with autism to art. One study showed that a 10-week sand play program permitted verbal expression, social interactions, and spontaneous play along children with autism. Kids can have fun, create art, and work on their social skills.


Of course, it’s critical to note that sand has a particular texture. Some children with autism might have a tricky time handling this material, so take note of their interactions in the sand.

Playdough Sculptures

Playdough sculptures are another excellent tool for autism. The dough can help improve motor skills, foster creativity, and grow hand-eye coordination. Plus, the structures they create are fun to look at together and enjoy.


Here’s what you need to make playdough sculptures:


  •     Playdough in several colors
  •     Wooden tools that can’t cause harm
  •     A flat, clean surface


It doesn’t take much to get the job done.


Playdough is affordable, feels good, and is simple to shape into exciting creatures. Children with autism will be excited about what they can do with this material.


We have some tips for art therapy to ensure it goes as well as possible. Let’s talk about some quality practices.

Best Practices for Art Therapy

Art therapy with a child with autism is a little different than traditional techniques. There are several practices and tips you should keep in mind to help each session to go as well as possible. The more art therapy sessions you practice, the clearer these will become in your life.


Here are a few of our best suggestions for art therapy:


  •     Use the same routine when conducting an art therapy session, keeping a sense of structure in place
  •     Use curiosity and intrigue to teach a child a new skill
  •     Explain instructions in a consistent way for a better understanding
  •     Keep track of transitions when completing activities
  •     Do not be overly directive or too lax when giving instruction
  •     Avoid art materials that are too stimulating or too open with their options
  •     Keep away from being restrictive or forceful with communication techniques


These will help everything go right in your art therapy session.


If art is something new in your child’s life, it will take some work to establish a routine. Stay consistent and work with what they enjoy to create a comfortable space. In no time, you will have art therapy and a new interest in your child’s life.

Final Thoughts

Art therapy is one of the best things a child with autism could incorporate into their life. Art allows kids to express themselves through various mediums and colors. They can improve their motor skills, work on hand-eye coordination, and display emotions through colors and shapes. There is a world of opportunity with art therapy for autism.


We hope this information was helpful! If you are in charge of caring for a child with autism, it can be tricky to find something your kid loves. For a solution that will change their life, try art therapy. It will equip them to communicate and provide an exciting activity.



If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 624-6475. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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