Art Therapy for Children with ADHD and Anxiety Disorders

The arts can be a great vehicle for children who have ADHD. Engaging in creative activities such as art, music and dance have been shown to help children with ADHD calm down because it utilizes the part of the brain that controls emotions. When the emotions are under control, the focusing can be much easier. Most of us have experienced this; when we are upset about a personal issue….isn’t hard to concentrate at work? So, therefore reaching the emotional brains through the arts can infact increase focus.

Some children with ADHD will need more more breaks, specific times to complete a task, reminders about impulses and behaviors, etc…. Overall, the benefits of art therapy are the ways in which it can access the right brain and allow the child to be in the creative process; even within a structured environment. In addition when working with several children in a small group, we can involve cooperative art making which enhances social skills and communication; all things that children with ADHD can use.

Things to keep in mind:

1) Allow for choice and try to find something that interests the child

2) Limit the amount of art materials that are offered- it can over stimualte the child

3) Create structure for the child such as time limitations, behaviors that are not to be tolerated and scheduled breaks

4) Use praise when child completes the task, prompt child to remain on task when distractions take over

5) Encourage expression about feelings; acknowledge when they are frustrated and support their process

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